soundscapes

10 08 2008

A couple of years ago I was at a mall (and that might have been the last time…I HATE MALLS). I was irresistibly drawn into Brookstone against my will by that huge invisible magnet they have set in the back room somewhere. Do I need these gadgets? …no, but they are fun to look at for sure. And I stumbled on one that has truly enriched my life…a soundscape sleep deelie scientifically studied to send you to lala land listening to ocean waves, a thunderstorm or crickets on a summer eve (one I particularly like to play during January in Michigan). There are the zen chi ones that will new age my brain to places that LSD only thought it could go…I’m not so much into those ’cause I still like drugs better. All in all, I really do like the little gray speaker box that sits on my nightstand.

The Dr.? – Not so much. (here I’m not talking about Billy’s dr. but the PhD kind I live with). He gets his jollys by listening to NPR all night. I do LOVE NPR, I eat, sleep and breathe NPR – (don’t you dare ask me if I’m a supporter for public radio…only my best friend knows for sure). Like alot of NPR affiliates, MichigianRadio is tapped into the BBC all night long. Given that the Dr. deals mostly in an international world, it makes sense that he osmosiscize (yes, I made up a word) important events…but lately – with so much brain chatter I’ve been dealing with…I can’t sleep.

I’m serious a lunatic anyway. Lunatic in the way that for the last many number of years I find myself unable to sleep more than a couple of hours a night during the full moon phase. Maybe because I was born under the sign of Cancer – I’m sure that’s it. But I’ll wander around the house and if it’s the right season – be able to find the blue light cast on the couch and happily lay there and bask in it. Insomniac heaven.

Now there is a new sound in my growing repertoire. The two toned whir, hiss and pop of an oxygen maker the size of a dehumidifier. We added it to our cache a couple of days ago along with other tubes and tanks. I keep wanting to chat the with geniuses that invent this stuff to be used by geriatric patients. It is so NOT patient friendly. 50 feet of clear plastic tubing that you drag around on the floor to give you full access to your house. Right. Billy looks like he’s trying to step over the Grand Canyon giving clearance. And she’ll probably end up tripping on it and messing up her back again. It’s only really taken us a day or so to get used the “leash” and he’s feeling less restrained. We’ve even taken the portable tank outside for sun time.

But in all of this I realize that I had some expectations – thought it would be a good thing to bring Billy’s blood oxygen level up from 73 (normal would be 95-99) and let him at least breathe easier but unbenounced to us we’ve been plopped down and strapped in on Toady’s Wild Ride. He did rest better last night after doubling the amount that was being pumped into his nose…but “better” is a very broad term at this point. It occurred to me this morning that when a car engine is broken, more gas won’t help.

The “committee” has convened and reached a unanimous decision…we’re calling in the troops. A hospice nurse will come out today and we’ll begin that assessment process to find ways for him to be more and more peaceful. He deserves that…especially after a near miss the other night that was terrifying and very disturbing. Enough to whack me in the face with reality and know there is a better more humane way to finish out this journey.

After being up about 20 hours with no sleep – when it was time to settle in last night…I laid here listening to my new soundscape…the whir, hiss, pop…it reminded me of sleeping to the sounds of an IV pump in a hospital room almost 5 years to the day. A different situation, a different city, a different person that I dearly love…in pain and struggling to make sense out of confusion. I thought about putting ear plugs in…then miraculously I fell off the edge of the world without them. Must be the rhythm of that blasted machine. Six hours is what I got. Enough to face what today brings.

My ears will be attentive. I will hear new sounds. I will adjust. I will be grateful for the near silent rise and fall of my chest because other sounds have taught me that it isn’t always so. Billy said it best himself at the doctor’s office on Friday, “I ain’t the man I used to was.” I hear you.

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