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Sleeping like a baby — fussy, fidgety

Terry downed her night meds, fussed with the blankets and swapped out pillows.

I rolled onto my other side, an effort that involved more oofing, groaning and wriggling than used to happen during an entire backyard football game.

Soon, we’d be sleeping like babies — which is to say, wriggling, waking multiple times, fussing for our (water) bottles and occasionally sneaking out of bed to play with our toys.

It’s not what I had hoped for in a second childhood.

“When did going to bed begin taking this much effort?” Terry said.

“What?” I raised my good ear off the pillow. “You know I can’t hear on this side.”

She sighed. “Go to sleep.”

“I’m trying.” I spasmed like a fish on a dock. “I can’t find the sweet spot where my shoulder doesn’t hurt. Errg. Ugh. Ouch, low back, low back! Hrmph! Ahh. I think that’s got it.”

“Sweetheart.”

“What?”

“You forgot your mask.”

“Nuts.” I clawed and grunted my way back onto my other side and reached for the CPAP machine. I sound like Darth Vader wearing it, but the air flow silences the snoring and keeps me safe — from getting pummelled by a restless Terry and her sacred pillow.

Several minutes of adjusting, fidgeting and twitching later, Terry and I finally settled under the correct weight and equal distribution of covers, then promptly … snapped wide awake.

“How come,” I said, “we can’t keep our eyes open in the living room, but the moment our heads hit the pillows, all I can think about are all the unfinished chores?”

She snapped her book closed. “Did you remember to let the cat in?”

Years ago, sleep was no work at all. I’d flop onto the bed and within 30 seconds, it was deep-sleep city for the next 10 hours. But now… My parents thought bedtime was tough when I was 3. Six decades later, it’s a full-blown, exhausting ordeal.

I must have drifted off while contemplating this weird turn of adulting events, because next thing I remember, Terry shook my shoulder.

“You’re leaking,” she hissed.

I patted the bed. “Izz dry,” I mumbled. “Stop hissing.”

“Not that. Your mask. That’s what’s hissing.”

I fumbled with the head gear, sealing it around my nose. The hissing stopped.

“Thank you,” she said. “You can go back to sleep now.”

Three seconds later, I ripped the mask from my face and heaved aside the covers. Terry shot up. “What’s wrong?”

“You woke me.” I lurched to my feet. “Now I have to go the bathroom.”

A couple minutes later, I nestled back into my divot in the mattress. Terry scrolled through her cellphone and read aloud the latest political nonsense. I’m a little fuzzy on the details. Through the slumber fog, it sounded to me like: “‘The upwingers want to ban all chocolate rabbits from town squares unless fully boosted with marshmallow creme, while the downleggers insist pink elephants must be allowed to fly to ranch dressings.’ Can you believe the lunacy?”

“Loonszzzz atta borderrr,” I grumbled.

Moments later, I lumbered and wheezed my way around to face Terry. “Why not peanut butter?”

She shook her head and shut down her phone. “If you’re not going to listen, just go back to sleep.”

Sweet relief finally came when the alarm chirped. The best sleep of the night is the 10 minutes between snooze buttons. Four snoozes later, I felt fully restored.

“How’d you sleep?” Terry asked.

“Like a baby,” I said, and reached for my bottle.

Share adventures in napping with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at www.burtonwcole.com

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