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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The dangling leg

Tracey usually tucks the baby in at night; a more pleasant ritual for the baby than for her, but it does serve more than a ritual purpose. 

   I of course am the baby. She helps me turn on to the side I want to sleep. She then packs the blanket a little down my back, and we hope to have a good night’s sleep. 

   I usually sleep as if I have a total shut-down, and often not a muscle seems to have moved till morning. I can't say the same for Tracey, though, but it's not something I can control. There's not much of anything I can control these days.

   Some nights like last night I have something I want to try to finish, and Tracey is tired earlier than I [I can't imagine why!], so I put myself to bed after she goes. It usually works out OK but never so good for me as the tucking-in routine. Getting a near-paralysed foot into the right position to sleep is no easy matter. If it's wrong, the ankle aches all night.

   I woke at about 3.30 am with my right leg hanging over the right side of the bed. That's never happened before. I was diagonally across the bed but managed to get myself on my back, but couldn't get my leg back into the bed. 

   I could have called for Tracey but figured this was something I should be able to solve for myself.

   The best solution was to get the left foot under the right leg and to drag it back in, but I had to be very careful not to slide right off the bed attempting that. We might have been in for another ambulance visit if I did so. Another complication was that the bedclothes – a doona and a light blanket – were slewed across and over the side with the leg. This complicated matters.

   I managed to hook the right ankle with the left foot. With much groaning [in effort, not in pain, but enough to be afraid of waking Tracey, who has lock-on fix on noises from this room]. I dragged the leg back bit-by-bit like a creature going back to its den with its half-dead prey.

   I took a few deep recovery breaths and then raised the bed using its electric hydraulics so I was high enough to turn on the lamp, and straightened myself in the bed. I had yet to unscramble the blankets sufficiently to cover myself. Bear in mind that I have to be able to find a corner of the cover I can grip with the left hand – not a bottom edge! – and bring up the covers in enough order to put them back into place, and that a semi-paralysed right side doesn't allow me to raise my body to do that without quite a bit of effort and a fair dash of luck.

   I was more-or-less successful. I had blankets over me. I decided against trying to get out of the left side to relieve my bladder [it wasn’t urgent]. I didn't know what strength I had left and having succeeded in not-falling out of the right side of the bed I was determined not to do it out of the left.

   I slept fitfully for some time, and then bowed to the inevitable and got up, being super-careful to balance enough to be able to grip the frame left-handed, then stand evenly on both feet before the right-side tremors became too violent to stop me grasping the right hand on to its grip and locking it on. Success. Narrowly.

   That meant I could negotiate my way the one metre to the chair. Be grateful I don't ply you with the steps [mostly backward] that I take to get there. But I did it. I was awake till after the doctor visited at ten o’clock, and Tracey settled me to bed.

   Before that, she told me that I had been making weird noises and movements at 2.30 AM, and she had stayed by the open door for ages in the darkness. When I had settled, she went back to bed. I suspect I had had some sort of seizure, leaving that leg out of the right side of the bed until I found it there. She wouldn't have seen it on the Baby Monitor from its position. I felt happy that I hadn’t called for help with the dangling leg that couple of hours later when she was deep asleep. Happier, I might add, than she was.

   When I woke this afternoon, there was rain beating softly on the roof, and it was 2.15 pm. Every limb, every muscle, every finger and toe was exactly as it was when I closed my eyes. It was warm and blissfully peaceful. I could have stayed that way forever.


  1. You are an angel Den - not to wake Tracey. Thank you [again] for writing in this way about this kind of thing - it is so far beyond what is usual.

    Legs with minds of their own. I too have one but Ros always gets woken I'm afraid.

    1. Your situation is somewhat different, Dave – which I won’t go into, but makes quick adjustments to minor things by Ros more sensible, although waking is always disruptive for her. But if I don't have to drag Tracey in from another room I’ll avoid it. After all there's always an element of self-interest in having my darling come in fresher in the morning than from what’s a more major disturbance.

      She would rather me wake her. But there's an element of pig-headedness in my actions in cases like this which is nothing to be proud of – a determination to DO IT MYSELF which ironically can produce more trouble in the long run than pressing that blasted alarm. Desire for independence putting life at risk. It's not clever.

  2. Sometimes I found not being disturbed more disturbing than the actuality; I can empathise with Tracey standing by the door. Anyway Denis, thinking better a leg than a participle. kvd

    1. True. One of those or in front of the lamp a dangling phrase can really obscure the light.

  3. I'm finding with the onset of dysphasia and head seizures that my concentration has fallen to near zero. At the moment at least I’ll suspend one of my most enjoyable occupations - of responding to comments - in the hope of finding a time when I’ll get some back. Please be assured that I've read every one and thank you deeply for them.


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