Anyone suffering insomnia, I'm sure can relate to waking up at all times of the night, not quite certain if to leave the warmth of their bed, or remain tossing and turning relentlessly, in the hope of finally falling asleep. For fear of disturbing my dear husband who doesn't have insomnia, but endures in silence, resigned to my nightly disturbances, I reluctantly crawl out of bed. As I creep out of the bedroom in the midst of the night, almost tripping in the dark over several items I've knocked onto the floor from my nightstand, opening our bedroom door which at a certain point makes a distinct creak announcing my departure; past the dog who begrudgingly opens one eye glancing at me as if to say "Oh it's you - can't you sleep again?" and quickly closes her eye unperturbed, returning to her rhythmic snoring. Completing this assault course, I finally make it accident free to the kitchen. Fortunately our house is well planned, and since living here, I'm glad to report I've not fallen once which for any Parkinson's patient is quite an achievement!
So here I sit, ensconced alone in the kitchen with my trusty laptop, pad of paper and pen that are constantly by my side, for like any writer, I never know when a great idea will suddenly pop into my head. I've been in a café with friends, when a conversation suddenly sparks off an thought, and out comes a pocket sized pad of paper I carry in my handbag at all times. Caught out on one occasion, I resorted to writing on a paper napkin. I'm sure the café had not intended to be used as an alternative for office supplies to any customer who happened to frequent their establishment, but sometimes one has to be resourceful. I once was resorted to writing an article on a paper place mat at a restaurant, and distracted by the waitress taking our order, and enjoying a tasty bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, promptly forgot about my writing. The waitress cleared the table once we'd asked for the bill, and it was only when we arrived home, that I remembered the article I had hurriedly drafted which was now no doubt knee deep in rubbish.
My handbag filled with many pieces of paper, scribbled writings of thoughts that come to me at the oddest of times, I once mistakenly gave the pharmacy my shopping list instead of a doctor's prescription. The pharmacist looked puzzled as she perused my Parkinson micrographic writing, working out very quickly they held nothing in stock that was written on my list. Was it any surprise they had no milk, tuna, pasta or Cadbury's Bournville? (that I hide in a cupboard, should I have a sudden urge for chocolate). I'll come clean and admit to being a chocoholic, my preference being dark bitter chocolate. I'm very particular and wont binge on just any chocolate - one has to maintain standards after all. The pharmacist politely handed my shopping list back to me with a wry smile. A little flustered, I rummaged in the depths of my handbag, which is small but surprisingly holds an awful lot, not dissimilar to Mary Poppin's bottomless magic carpet bag that carried everything bar the kitchen sink. After emptying half the contents onto the counter I retrieved the crumpled prescription for the all important Dopamine we Parkinson's patients are missing. By this time there was a growing line of agitated people waiting behind me, but it takes far more than this to embarrass me these days.
Some people swear by drinking hot milk to soothe one to sleep, others say chamomile tea, which no matter how I persist, tastes unpalatable, like a concoction of weeds I pulled up from our raised flower beds in the garden. It's way too early, or maybe too late, for a cocktail, yet it must be "happy hour" somewhere in the world right now, although I seriously doubt an alcoholic based drink would induce sleep. However it would make staying awake so much more fun; add a few tasty canapés and you've got yourself a party. If only there was someone else here to raise a glass with! Otherwise drinking alone just becomes very sad and bordering on distasteful.
If you suffer from Parkinson's and find yourself like me wide awake when your household is fast asleep, peacefully lost in pleasant dreams, what do you do in the middle of the night? It is almost 04:00 and having written this article, I shall endeavour to go back to bed, to sleep perchance to dream.