Friday, December 7, 2007

Sleepless Nights of Multiple Sclerosis

I think that sometimes what goes "bump in the night" is Multiple Sclerosis. My wife has had bouts of insomnia off and on over the course of this disease. When we first were married, she would take sleeping pills during those sleepless nights or maybe take an extremely small amount of valium to settle her down. After Dr. Swank retired, she was committed to getting off of any sleeping pills or valium because we knew that few doctors would take the same approach as he did. So, she struggled with calming herself during stressful situations, and settling in at night to fight for sleep. Those were some very hard times in our lives because it was so much easier to just take a pill and everything melt away. I will never forget some of those nights when she would have nightmares where she would act out in her sleep. One night she thought she had fire ants all over her body and was slapping them to kill them. She woke herself up when she slapped herself in the face, and of course she looked at me shocked and trying to figure out what just happened. She vividly remembered the fire ants and she was still looking on her skin to see if there were bites or more ants. Those were some crazy nights, but insomnia is definately a symptom of MS. Her bouts of insomnia seem to be further apart than they used to be, but when they do hit, it makes our lives very interesting for those days or weeks. It's a chain reaction because she doesn't sleep well, which makes her more fatigued, which causes more insomnia, which causes her body to start having problems which almost always leads to some kind of exacerbation. When she has problems now, we will try Bowen, stress vitamins, chiropractic, or whatever else is working at the time. If we let it go too long, she will have to literally sleep for days to catch back up, which I know just frustrates her more. Last night is a great example of what happens at this point in her disease. We have recently been blessed with miniature dachsund puppies and they cry and make noise almost all night. The laundry room we keep them in is right next to our bedroom, so we can hear every little sound. My wife hasn't slept well since they were born a couple of nights ago, and I can see it catching up with her. The dark circles around her eyes are getting worse, and her patience is going, and the only thing that will help is sleep. So, she will try to sleep during the day which will lead her to having more issues sleeping at night and the cycle will just repeat itself until she sleeps for an extended period of time. It is not out of the norm for her to sleep a 24 hr period to catch up after the cycle starts. So, I will keep my eye on her the next few days and will probably have to make her rest so she can catch up. We already have a full weekend planned and if we don't watch it, she will be exhausted and her body will begin to shut down. If you or a loved one has Multiple Sclerosis, take the time to rest. Dr. Swank always recommended a minimum of 1 hour a day of rest where you laid down without distractions and closed your eyes and just let your body heal. Oh, if you want to see the adorable puppies, stop by my myspace account and check out the pics -


David C. said...

I was diagnosed 5 years ago but it didn't kick in until about 6 months ago. I sleep about the way she are a very patient and loving husband. My wife and I have had to go to sleeping in separate bedrooms so she can sleep and I'm off on disability so napping is just a way of life now.
How are you and yourwife doing now?

Cory said...

Hi David. Sorry to hear about your struggles. My wife is doing well, and we are continuing to do the things we know that work for her. She still has issues, but we are able to stop them and she lives a very active life. This week she has been working on garage sale stuff and has been working hard everyday going up and down the stairs to the basement and is doing great.