Mid Night Musings

Sleep eluded me last night, so I puttered around the house for a spell.

First, I leaned onto the bedroom window sill and looked out. For a brief moment, I imagined “is that the northern lights?” Just as quickly I laughed at the absurdity of it. I knew I was gazing south.

Once again there is snow on the ground that causes the lights to reflect off the clouds. A soft pinkish glow in the heavens usually indicates snow clouds. It’s the bright echo from the huge security lights at the penitentiary; a place that doesn’t let you forget its existence there on the hill.

Even if you can’t sleep, the mind is still sleepy. Or, it just plays those little tricks on you, like when you wake up in the morning and think those sagging jowls and eye wrinkles will be gone. Age doesn’t let you forget its face, either.

We buried another relative this month. The event prompted my youngest daughter Amanda to say that our world was a “lifetime of funerals.” The much too recent memory of weary parents burying a daughter chilled me, and the accompanying sigh painted a foggy breath mark on the window.

I found my robe and wandered into the family room where I noticed that the aquarium needs water. The return flow splashing from the filter was what drew my attention.

We recently purchased some Thai Glass Cats in hopes that the two remaining African Glass Cats would come out of hiding. They have. But, they don’t seem to mingle. We’ll have to keep checking at the pet shop to see when more of their subspecies arrive. The owner informed us that “cold weather” is a deterrent to shipping tropical fish.

Our foster cat (elGee) has taken to sitting on the edge of my recliner to stalk and swat fruitlessly at the more colorful mollies and tetras in the fish tank. She also stretches into my lap and exposes her belly so that I can stroke her and tell her she is a nuisance and darn expensive.

Two weeks ago the veterinarian told us that elGee would most likely die.

I arrived home from the sad weekend trip to the news that elGee was terribly ill. She wasn’t eating, drinking, walking around, or responding much to WR’s attempts to comfort her.

I had her in the cat carrier at their door when the veterinarian clinic opened the next morning. By the end of the day the young woman vet ruled out leukemia and aids. She then talked frankly with me about the likelihood of elGee having bone cancer. There is no cure. Panleukopenia (aka cat distemper) was the other possibility – although she was previously immunized at that very clinic.

They pumped her full of antibiotics and subcutaneous fluids and sent her home with me the following day. The instructions were “All you can do is watch her now.”

So, I sat there in the shadows last night watching her. My insomnia was to her benefit. She moves as if to say, “Just scratch me a little here, and let me rub my nose and ears against your fingers” and acts like her old self. Damn that cat – she makes WR and I laugh.

WR and I have talked in depth …and are starting a small business. I don’t know if I can learn all the things that will be required of me. I find myself looking at the backs of my hands. In the shadows and without my glasses, the age spots aren’t so noticeable. Can the other obvious deficiencies be overcome so easily?

A bit of guilt surfaced as my mother came to mind. I thought her housekeeping skills were getting lax in her later years. Now I know she just couldn’t see the splatters. My glasses open my eyes to all the things I miss when I clean up and the small print on anything else that I mishandled because I couldn’t read the directions.

Maybe I don’t mind wandering around in the dark of night, after all? Daylight and corrective lenses bring their own demons.

Slumber arrived eventually. Although I was roused several times with discomfort or from nightmares. I recall with detail, rolling over and saying to myself, “I’m going to remember that dream in the morning.” I don’t. It’s an enigma: remembering that I made a mental note - losing the note.

Losing notes is a scary thing right now. This fall my husband’s sister was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 59. We expected it as we knew something was amiss for the past six years.

I find myself being her part time caretaker after I resigned my job. These two months have enlightened me to her need for more supervision. We want her to have some level of autonomy – as long as possible. Unfortunately, her independence draws directly from mine and WR’s. Yes – another sack of worries clogging the brain sifter after midnight.

Fortunately, last night was the exception. I’m thankful that some recent nights have unwrapped into some of the best mornings I’ve experienced in months.

One step back, two steps forward. I’m good.


LadyStyx said…
Wow. That's alot to have on one's mind at minight.

I never can remember my dreams either (with the exception of 2 that seem to repeat now and again). I tried the "leave a notepad by the bed" route...but by the time I wake enough to click that pen, sit up and start to write...the dream's gone.

Alzheimer's runs in my mom's side of the family and tends to show up pretty early in life. Mom's mom is in a home now with it. It's better to talk to her in the morning as that's when she's most lucid (?). As the sun sets, her memory fades. MOm's already been showing signs of forgetting things...alot. She's only going to be 59 this year. The signs have been showing for at least 5 years or more. I half expect that in the next decade or so I'll be showing signs myself (I'll be 40 this August).
I agree, that was a lot to think about for one night. It's amazing what the dark does to our minds. Like you said, it's fortunate it's not like that every night!
Sabrina said…
Soooo many things to think about. . .hope you have a very restful night tonight. Oh, and I should ask you about our tempermental tetras sometime, as you seem to be the resident fish expert of my bloggy circle (ours HATE us and killed our guppies, I'm convinced). Hugs!!!!
No time to read...we are on the road and just now have WiFi and wanted to say hey..."Hey."
Amanda said…
This is why I can't sleep... because every thought, curiosity, fear, idea is rolling around in my head all night long until my brain literally just SHUTS OFF.

I'm glad that you're having good mornings, though. No better way to start the day than feeling refreshed and having no obligations.... even if my cat makes you rub her down.

And please keep praying that we don't have to attend any more funerals anytime soon. Dan needs all the prayers he can get right now.

A Spot of T said…
It sounds like a lot going on which would make it impossible to shut off at the end of the night. Here's to more steps forward then back I say.
bermudabluez said…
Oh Pamela...I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's sister. As I believe you know, I lost my Mom to Alzheimer's. It is a terribly cruel disease....not only to those who suffer from it, but the family as well. I hope and pray she will not suffer and will have happy days. Hope you are able to get some sleep. That is alot to have on your plate.
Peter said…
No wonder you are not sleeping well Pamela, there is so much buzzing through your mind.
Don't ever think you would need an invitation to Dinner, you would always be welcome, might even be able to liven the menu up a little, it was Bangers and mash (read sausages and mashed potato) with a lamb chop just coz it was Australia Day.
nikki said…
Next time you're up at that hour, give me a call. I can't sleep at all these days. Hope rest finds you soon.
Must be a "catching" thing. I got about 2 hours of sleep last night also. Couldn't get the back and legs to settle down..., the brain, well nothing there to settle down. I agree with others who have posted, you seem to have a lot on your mind. Take care..
Kaycie said…
You have so much to think about. No wonder you didn't sleep well.

That said, I think this was a lovely blog. I especially enjoyed the way you describe your thought processes and indulging the cat. I could almost see you sitting there in the night, thinking and rubbing on that kitty.
heather said…
This is a hard time in your life, and for that, I am truly sorry.
I know the struggles of starting a new business, as you know. It's scary. There are no guarantees.
I also couldn't sleep last night. I composed a poem. I'm trying to remember it this morning, but parts elude me.
David said…
hello - here from Written, inc to salute your care taking. Something I believe in and am engaged in as well. Its a beautiful snowy day on Sugarloaf Mountain, should you wish to stop by later.
Lil Mouse said…
alzheimers is a terrible disease
ChrisB said…
With all this churning over in your mind, I don't know how you manage to remain so cheerful and upbeat when you visit our blogs.
I haven't experienced caring for a close relative with *Alzheimers* but I know how frustrating it must be for all of you, especially your SIL if she is still aware.
My mother cannot remember anything unless she has it written down and even then she muddles up her medication. Last night she settled down far too early, set her alarm to wake up 11pm to take tablets and then couldn't manage to reset it. Luckily I hadn't gone to bed and could rescue her. (I'm hoping this was a one off!)

I also understand about about *lax housekeeping* I have to go behind my mother all the time and it's because she can't see.

I'm sending you lots of ((hugs)), I hope elGee is comfortable and I wish you success in your new business venture.
Karmyn R said…
I think ElGee got sick from that bird she caught. Sometimes, doctors look for the obscure instead of what is right in front of them.

Wish you were here to rock babies when you can't sleep.
laurie said…
sometimes i'm glad not to be able to sleep. you can get a lot of thinking done at night.... a lot of processing.

i'm sorry about the cat, and i'm sorry about your sister-in-law. those of us who survive bear witness to a lot of death.

your post wasn't sad, though, or self-pitying. it was thoughtful, and beautifully put.
Desert Songbird said…
In the starkness of the wee hours, when one cannot sleep, is when one's brain is most engaged. Sometimes those thoughts be very dark.

Bummer, isn't it?
lisaschaos said…
I love how you let your mind flow, mine jumps around like this too late at night when I cannot sleep. I hope your new business thrives! :) How's the cat doing? Hoping better.
Junebug said…
You are always so eloquent. If I can't sleep, I don't usually get up, I just lay there thinking that I am still resting my body and my eyes anyway?
that's a lot to contemplate in one night.

Tillybud said…
When I can't sleep I usually write down everything I'm thinking about. I don't know why but it seems that until I've done it I just can't rest. Wishing you some peaceful nights ahead.
DesLily said…
although things do NOT get better in the daytime, it always seems even worse at night..and not being able to turn off the mind to depressing thoughts is nothing new, especially as we grow older.. sometimes I want to choke whoever thought of the term "the golden years"..
An amazing post, Pamela, absolutely amazing!
Kila said…
That post rivals my long ones ;)

Love and (((hugs))) and prayers for you.
Moi said…
Beautifully written. I can feel the melancholy through the words.
ArneA said…
One step back, two steps forward. I’m good.
the ending opens for better days to come.
congrats with potd
Sometimes our minds work overtime and were just not going to sleep. I’ve always found that if I can’t sleep, somethings on my mind. A demon maybe. Great post, I’ll be coming back.

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