Wednesday, January 11, 2012

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream ?

Well I woke up this morning...........

(Sing the rest of the various songs that start with those words if you like but I'm just stating a fact.)

I woke up this morning.

Always a good thing to do if you want to get the day off to a good start and I try to do it as often as possible. NOT waking up prays on my mind a lot.

For as long as I can remember, which admittedly isn't long these days, I've had a fear of going to sleep and not waking up. Dying in my sleep in other words. I don't mess about with being in a coma or even worse, being alive but totally paralysed so no one knows I'm alive.

No, I just worry about dying. Always have. For as long as I can remember, remember !

This may be the reason for the 'night terrors' I experience from time to time. Thankfully rarely.
I'll wake up suddenly and jump out of bed to somehow prove I'm not really dead (yet) and then stand at the side of my bed feeling rather foolish and wondering what other people do at 3am.

I'm embarrassed enough when this happens in my own bedroom but when I'm elsewhere, the relief of discovering I'm not dead is compounded by the guilt of waking up the rest of the house with my shouting.

Oh I forgot that bit. I invariably shout out something as I exit the bed. Usually something vaguely related to not being ready to be dead....yet. I call it Thanatophobia Tourettis.

And before you try and Google that, I've just mixed Tourettes with the fear of death phobia.

So I lie in bed of a night, as we say in Yorkshire, and while most of me wants to fall asleep, part of me doesn' it may lead to death.

Now most people, if given the choice, would be more than happy to "slip the surly bonds of earth" by dying in their sleep when their time is up. Ironically I'd be one of them.

So why the hell do I fear dying in my sleep ??!! Irrational ? Just a tad.

I partly blame tv. I've tearfully watched all those bedside deaths where friends and relatives come out of the woodwork to say what a great chap you are and how you'll be sorely missed. If I died in my sleep, I'd be robbed of those touching scenes !

It's no wonder I stay up so late every night.....well after midnight on most occasions. Logic tells me I could just as easily peg it in my chair whilst watching Two & A Half Men and if so, no autopsy would be needed. But I think statistics show that bed is the place to be if you wanna permanently avoid those 2.5 reruns.

"Died peacefully in his sleep" seems to be the popular way to go and I really need to embrace this concept and stop worrying about it. And my spleen.

My spleen ? Yes, indeedily.

I think a lot about my spleen too.

Again it's tv to blame. I've seen too many shows and movies when, after an accident, the victim recovers only to be told "we had to remove your spleen." It's a particularly popular result when a child is involved. "Jenny is fine, Mrs Papadopoulos, but we had to remove her spleen." This is usually followed by a flood of tears from the aforementioned Mrs Papadopoulos who is relieved that her precious Jenny is alive but slightly concerned that she may never again play the violin because of her missing spleen.

Greek tv can be so dramatic !

So what's a spleen then and why do we seem to cope pretty much ok without it ? And more relevant, why does it seem so easy to damage it in an accident ?

Everything from spilling coffee on yourself to surviving a plane crash seems to carry the risk of having your spleen removed. I think there is a Far East market for spleen soup or something. Maybe ground up spleen is an aphrodisiac. Certainly surgeons seem to whip them out without so much as a by your leave. Maybe it's useful as a teaching aid !

"You need to hone your surgical skills, Patterson. Here, take this patient in cubical 10. Ingrowing toenail. Off you go and whip out his spleen."

Never your appendix though. Oh no, that useless organ is damage proof. It'll survive any accident totally unharmed. You could lay it out on the kitchen table and whack it repeatedly with a meat tenderiser and that damn organ would carry on doing......well whatever it does.

" Jenny is fine, Mrs Papadopoulos, but we had to remove her appendix. "

" You did WHAT ? OMG my poor little girl. Why didn't you just let her die ? "

Of course the spleen performs a valuable role within the body. It's just that with all the current medical knowledge at our disposal, no one quite knows what that role is. Something about red blood cells and the immune system but clearly nothing vital. We can live without it and this is just as well, given its propensity for keeling over at the slightest mention of 'accidental damage.'

Ok and you wonder why I don't sleep easily every night ! Jeez it's a wonder I can sleep at all. Forget the problems with the Eurozone and who will win Celebrity Big Brother, I have much bigger worries on my mind every night.

Will I wake up in the morning and if I do, will I still have a viable spleen ?

Great. Now I have an image of someone discovering my cold, dead body in the morning with a dirty great gash in my left side.........and an Asian looking guy in scrubs high tailing it down the street with my spleen in a Ziplock bag.

I don't think Lunesta is going to cut it tonight.


Jennyta said...

Eeh by gum, lad, tha's a weird 'un and no mistake.
Have you ever thought of writing the scripts for some of those TV shows you watch? ;)
Maybe you're just watching too much TV...

Jay at The Depp Effect said...


Er ... I mean. Oh, my goodness, you poor thing!

Seriously, yes, I do get the fear-of-dying-in-your-sleep thing, though I must admit I'm more afraid of half-dying and waking up paralysed with a brain bleed in progress or something and lying on the floor all night only to hear the doctor finally pronounce 'nothing we can do. If ONLY you'd found her in time'.

But the spleen thing? Why worry. It's only a spleen!! ;)

rhymeswithplague said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhymeswithplague said...

How you do go on.

The doctor is in.

Obviously, one of your irrational fears increases in direct proportion to your distance from (or proximity to) Cuba. Wasn't it Desi Arnaz who was always saying, "Lucy, you got some 'spleenin' to do!"?

And the other one is simply fear of being found without having applied fresh rouge to your butt cheeks.

Daphne said...

Well the paragraph beginning "Again it's TV to blame" is the funniest thing I've read since - - well, the last time you wrote a very VERY funny thing.
Night terrors are vile things: I have had one or two and I've always remembered them. I don't envy you yours.

Katherine said...

This is one of the funniest, oddest blog posts I've ever read. And I've read a few. I used to have night terrors, and I never found out what they were about. I'd just wake up and everyone would be around my bed looking worried. Apparently I used to be very noisy. There's obviously a lot of it about.

Silverback said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes it was a bit rambling there but hey, I mentioned rambling in the 'reason d'etre' for this blog so've just had a load of it.

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