Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fear, Agony, and Facebook

Two kids in the Miles household - very different makes and models. A boy and a girl. An extrovert and an introvert. A TV addict and a lover of all things costume. (No, wait - there are three of us in the house that fit that costume affinity.) My point - they are different in almost every way, except...

Night terrors. Age 3 and one half onset of shrieking and howling in the night. And hers just began this week when, naturally, my lovely cousin finally agreed to come for a visit. After multiple nights of yowling, Lovely Cousin is now sleeping in empty house next door vacated by grandma who is now a nursing home resident and no I do not want to talk about my grief over that. What was I saying?

Oh yeah. Night terrors. Every night this week has been interrupted by a full body scream about bugs. It would be funny if she weren't sobbing, trembling, and shutting her little fists into balls. We bring her into our bed where she lies ramrod straight and deathly still but awake fearing that if she moves the bugs will get her. It makes me cry. It makes my lovely cousin cry. My husband is not crying. He says that his tear ducts have been welded shut by a lack of sleep. In hopefully unrelated news - she is composing amazing punk lyrics in her waking hours.

In our sleep-deprived ramblings my cousin and I have been discussing the nature of fear. Baby girl's terror aroused in my cousin her own deep fears: "She's going to get a raging fever and start vomiting and then we will all be sick by Friday." And also touched on mine: "What if this isn't a stage? What if her brain is wired in such a way that she is always fearful? How will my husband bear it because I WILL LEARN to sleep through it..."

I lead a rebuilding after divorce group. The night we talked about fear we were all stumped. In so many ways we have learned to reduce fear to anxiety in our lives. When faced with real fear we are caught off guard. This is one of the issues I teach in community grief workshops- fear is sublimated in our lives in so many ways that we are often ill-equipped to experience it when it inevitably comes. If I ever sleep again I will talk to my little punkin some more about fear.

I am a one woman economic effort to keep physical therapists gainfully employed in 2008. I am now in hand therapy. Hand therapy looks tres Zen. We sit at little desks in a circle facing each other. Each patient removes whatever brace they have and we begin these small movements. I am slowly crumpling a towel. The patient on my right is gently rolling a ball six inches forward and back. The patient on my left is removing marbles from a giant blob of Silly Putty. It is so quiet and would be relaxing if...


Do not fall. Do not dislocate fingers. Do not sprain your wrist. Do not break your fingers. Do not immobilize a non-broken finger when you have rheumatoid arthritis thus causing it to swell up like a big toe and barely move and no I do not want to talk about the myriad bad words that run through my mind when I try to chop vegetables. Hmmm. Lost my train of thought again.

Ah, yes, agony. There is a reason why so many of the torture scenes in spy movies involve fingers.


I just found the chat feature on facebook. Goodbye, cruel world - I will never surface again. In 40 minutes I traded parenting laughs with a congregant, invited a friend to church on Sunday, made a date to visit a graveyard in honor of a lost friend, and planned a Sunday service at the Charlottesville church.

I would write more but I need to go back on Facebook to find a cure for night terrors and a remedy for hand pain. While chatting on Facebook I may also talk a wee bit about the fact that sleep deprivation makes everything larger than life including the attractiveness of Hugh Laurie's stubble and the smell of curry lingering in my kitchen and the fear of going to sleep from which I now am suffering because I am tired of being jolted from my dreams of singing ska duets with Billy Ray Hatley on the White House lawn wearing footie pajamas with a feathered headdress awake into the eardrum piercing wails of my sobbing precious tot and no I do not want to talk about my grief that I have never sung a duet with Billy in waking life.

I wonder if he's on Facebook...


ms. kitty said...

Oh, honey, you are in the thick of it, indeed. I'm so sorry to hear of your little one's fears and how they are making everything harder. You're in my heart.

Christy S. said...

I see a big thread here about our frequent human inability to see beyond the moment. It is so easy to fall into the trap of "this is how life will be from now on" when pain (finger OR sleep deficit) is involved. Those physical needs can really do a number on our psyches. It really makes me want to get into the brains of people who have survived accidents and illnesses and get some of that perspective for use in the now.

Oooh, and you are so right about the stubble.