Sleep, or lack thereof

The rain continued to fall in parts of Colorado’s front range. As a native Coloradan, albeit one who has now spent 20 some years in the south, where rain and floods are common occurrences, it was a little strange to continue to encounter road closure after road closure as we attempted to make our way to Greeley for my great-nephew’s high school football game.

After over an hour of winding through back roads only to be blocked yet again by a solitary man in a utility truck, Amber gave up and headed home. It was illustrative of the path of our weekend, the path of my life in general these past few months. Driving to no where while encountering obstacles at every turn.

Both my nurse practitioner daughter and environmental safety husband work. The children, Riley and Lexi, two and four, have a compromised resistance to childhood illnesses, complimented with some life-threatening allergies. It is a rare night that both sleep through the night. My first night, Lexi came down with stomach flu. I fortunately travel with ear plugs and slept through the dreadful onslaught to the tiny girl’s tummy and the subsequent destruction of bed clothes and sheets. But Amber was up multiple times to aid, clean and console her child.

I remember back in Florida, I used to teach a class to prospective parents with one of my favorite OB-GYNs. I discussed planning and preparing for a new baby along with all the financial aspects (insurance, hospital stays, what to buy). One thing I always suggested was buying several crib sheets because into every child’s life comes a night like Lexi had.

Last night Riley came down with the stomach bug. I pray I do not get hit. I had forgotten the dulled eyes and lack of life look that comes from days, weeks and months of sleep deprivation. I know my daughter, Ally and friend Cayla experience it too. Amber is fortunate in so many ways, but sleep just doesn’t seem to be on the agenda for the next few years.

I am a little ridiculous about my own obsession to sleep, perhaps peppered by having done shift work at the hospital years ago coupled with three children spread out over 12 years. Lauren had some serious health problems as a child and sleep was always a luxury. For whatever reason, I am compelled each night to calculate my available sleep time. Not long after I get home from my day at work, visit with my mom and barn chores, I am preparing for bed. I realized at Amber’s I have not watched a prime time TV show at least since moving my mother here.

I will happily sleep in my own bed tonight, surrounded by my favorite dogs, ear plugs in place, hoping for eight-hours of sleep.

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I did, of course, come down with old fashioned stomach flu. What a miserable time. Perhaps tonight I will sleep. Glad to be home with all my animals.

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