It’s amazing how little quality sleep a stroke patient can get in intensive care. We were so happy when Jamie was moved out of the ultra critical stage and into acute rehab, one of the many benefits of which I thought would be a good night’s rest.
Apparently after having suffered a stroke, many patients experience extreme fatigue. This is due to the mind and body requiring all the energy necessary to reconnect tissue. Jamie has a difficult time keeping his eyes open for long stretches, often dozing off throughout the day. However, what had looked like sleep to me was apparently still not very good sleep; I was surprised when he complained to the staff that he needed even more and requested a sleeping pill. Thursday evening, the doctor approved a dose, gave him the pills, and off to sleep he went and I went home.
When I came by Friday morning, Jamie complained again that he was still very tired. Again, I was surprised. “Didn’t the sleeping pill help you last night?” “NO. It wasn’t strong enough.” We went though the day of various therapies, Jamie dozed off in short bursts again, napped after dinner, and then woke up again around 7:00, complaining to me about not being able to sleep. We called in the night shift RN, to whom Jamie demanded give him the strongest dose possible so that he could have one very long stretch of sleep rather than short bursts. The RN patiently explained that if she gives him the dose at 8:00, he will most likely wake up in 5-6 hours. “Well then give me another”. haha…
Truth be told, since December 26th, I have not had much sleep myself. I have had a somewhat similar feeling of not-really-sleeping. Not only is it terrible to go home and
not have Jamie there, but also I find myself thinking, thinking, thinking during the the more conscious moments trying to work out all of the various logistics between Jamie’s old apartment, which we still have for now, how to prep our apartment for home health care, what I need to do, and so many, many, many other questions, anxieties, worries, concerns, feelings of panic, pain, and “why Jamie?” thoughts.
Finally, the Nurse decided to give Jamie a large dose of the sleeping pill around 10:00. The staff brought in a bed for me to sleep on next to his, and we drifted off together. Overnight he woke up a few times, but I was there to let him know that everything is ok, and that he needs to get back to sleep. He followed my command, and we both fell asleep peacefully with each waking.
This morning we both woke around the same time, about 8:00. Wow, what a difference a good night’s rest can make. Jamie had some breakfast while I had some coffee. As we powered up for a full day of therapy, we turned on AMC. “Two Mules for Sister Sara” – an excellent movie to watch over breakfast after having a full nights rest.
We are ready to face another day.