9 October 2013

Bedtime Ballet

Ready for Bed!
For ten weeks I had to sleep on my back. Then one night I figured out that if I placed all my pillows strategically around my body, and moved in one solid motion (like an old-fashioned Ken doll with his legs stuck out straight), I could sleep on my side.


Then my arm swelled up like a fleshy pork sausage due to lymphedema. I was told that one of the most effective things I could do to prevent the swelling was to sleep with my arm elevated.  So besides propping up my body,  I built another stack of pillows so I could rest my arm. This worked wonderfully as long as I stayed still all night. But – as luck would have it - the required elevation coincided with my new ability to roll over. And I like sleeping on my side, so as soon as I fell asleep, I’d roll atop the sausage. This didn’t fare well for the arm, and I would wake up with a giant muppet hand. 

So I tried weighing myself down with some heavy pillows and resting the arm on top of that. It’s wildly uncomfortable, but so is lymphedema. And that position is just way to tempting for our tiny cat, who finds the highest point in the house, and sits on it. And currently the highest point would be me.

So here’s what I do. Recently I’ve been able to stretch my arms over my head - something that I’ve always taken for granted, and an ability which makes it much easier to put on clothes. And now nighttime has become a bit of a dance. I have to build a downy fence around my body so that I don’t twist too quickly. (My 200 stitches are still healing, so I pay for quick movements). Above me are some more pillows where I plop my Muppet hand. So when I turn, I keep my arm & hand immobile and just move my body. Ta-da!

After executing a perfect rollover I wake for a brief moment of triumph.  Since I watch Dancing the Stars, I can’t help picturing myself performing a flawless and elegant  ‘inside turn’ complete with satin ball gown and wild applause. In reality it’s just 145 pounds of sweaty flesh clumsily rolling to the side, and dislodging one angry cat and a man.

But it works - so I’m giving myself a perfect score My dance may not be Swan Lake, but I'm not really a ballerina, and our pillows aren't even real down. 

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