Sunday, September 2, 2007

To Sleep - Perchance to Dream?

Saturday night I got to bed just after 9 pm, which meant, as usual for me, that I would be ready to get up and start the day 6 hours later: about 3 am. Sure enough, just about 3 am, I woke up, got out of bed, and got dressed. I was not in the least sleepy, had no desire to sleep any longer, and wanted to see what was new outside or on the internet. To most of you, this must seem very odd, but that's just how sleep is for me. When my head hits the pillow, I am usually out very quickly. I hardly ever have any memory of lying in bed trying to get to sleep. It feels to me as if I almost immediately go into a dream, and when I wake it often seems to be directly from a dream. Most people have 4 stages of sleep, and dream only in stage 4. But I seem to either skip right to stage 4, or else dream in all stages. This has one annoying side-effect: sometimes I have a hard time telling dreams from reality. I've even asked others how they know what's a dream and what's real. Is the dream in black and white? Or is there a flashing subtitle saying "Not Real! Don't Try This at Home!" How do you do it?

I think for most people, their dreams are so wacky that afterwards it is very clear that it was a dream, not reality. But lately I've been having dreams that are very similar to real life. For example: many old friends have called me once they heard about my health issues. Then I have had dreams in which other old friends called, or in some cases came by the house. So afterward as I think back on these visits or phone calls, it is really not so easy to figure out who really called and who didn't...

I've concluded that I need to start collecting tangible evidence of where I have been or who I have talked to. For example, in the next blog post I'll describe a conversation with several people on Sunday morning. I know this conversation really took place, and was not just some dream, because they gave me a sticker that says "Live in Peace" that now graces my Powerbook. If it were a dream, then where did the sticker come from? So I'm going to try to get a business card, or something tangible, each time I meet with someone. This will then serve as proof to me later that the meeting really happened...

Hopefully, all of these problems of distinguishing dream from reality are a temporary side effect of the recovery from the surgery, or the radiation or chemotherapy, and will not be a permanent problem...

Maybe I just need to get out more, so that I have MORE INTERESTING, less-realistic dreams! Unfortunately, not much chance of that for a while...

2 comments:

Verma G said...

Have your dreams always been this vivid or is this something new since you surgery? Also, have you always fallen asleep so quickly? I know you didn't as a baby but that was a long time ago.

Your sister, Ellen, was here yesterday and we discussed your sleep/dream comments. She said she always has and awake period before she falls asleep. I do too.

We were impressed by your outgoingness in the cafe. We thought this was something new in your personality, or maybe we just haven't kept up.

I hope your treatments this week go well.

Love, Mom

eteng said...

I hardly ever remember my dreams, but my memory is getting alarmingly poorer as I get older. I, as well as many others who have similar difficulty, compensate by jotting down notes and events in a small handy notebook. I'd suggest that you do the same, jotting down date, hour, as well as the person's name that you interacted with either in person, over the telephone, or through email. Don't forget to include the subject of discussion, as well as the agreement or action plan reached. I also record things I have done by myself.