Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's all about that Sleep, 'bout that Sleep...oh, and the sex, apparently

I'm having a bit of trouble sleeping at the moment. Actually I've always had trouble sleeping, which I'll expand on, but the current trouble is to do with the sciatic post-op ache which seems to happen as soon as I lie down. It's like a slow burn rather than anything more dramatic, but it has woken me up and is a bugger to ignore once awake.

So it was with some enthusiasm that I agreed to review Arianna Huffington's latest book on sleep, (for which I received a free copy).

As I said, I've always had sleep problems. As a child I remember still being asleep when my parents had gone to bed. The loneliest feeling in the world to me, for some reason. Silly really as they were in the bedroom right next to mine and I could even hear my dad snoring. As an adult I find that I'm such a light sleeper, someone walking past my house and talking too loudly can wake me up. If the Ball & Chain gets up to go to the loo it wakes me up. The obvious answer I know, would be to wear ear-plugs, but like many mothers, I bear the "safety" burden in this house as that same Ball & Chain can sleep through anything, and two of my three kids have literally slept through an earthquake. Useless, all of them. There has to be someone in the house who can save the rest of the family from whatever danger is lurking.

Ironically, I've also always been a big sleep proponent. According to my kids when they were growing up (and the 12 year old now) their bed times were at least three hours before everyone else's in the entire grade at school. (A quick survey of a few mothers told me otherwise, btw). Minor ailments or a bit of childish sadness was always best cured by a warm bath and an early bedtime in my house. And Arianna agrees with me. I've always liked and respected her. If you think you don't know her, you probably do. She is the founder of the Huffington Post, and although well known in the USA, actually started off her illustrious career after graduating university in England, where she was known as Arianna Stasinopoulos.

It was after collapsing from exhaustion (and breaking her cheekbone) that Arianna finally realized the need to slow down and make lifestyle changes. She began researching sleep and discovered that, according to a recent Gallop poll, 40% of all American adults are perpetually sleep-deprived and get less than the recommended seven hours per night. Seven hours? I need eight at least, to feel good in the morning. What about you?

"The Sleep Revolution'; Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time"..." is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal look at sleep.... Every week, new research reveals how vital sleep is to our health, happiness, job performance and relationships." The book is full of facts about how little we sleep and the harm it can do; from dangerous driving (where we might as well be drunk) to politicians boasting about surviving on four hours per night (she's looking at you Trump) - lack of sleep has its consequences.

The book is full of information about how adequate sleep can benefit everything from cognitive ability, to athletic performance to libido. Yes! Get this ladies -

"In a 2015 study, researchers measured the duration of women's sleep and compared it to their level of sexual desire the next day. They found that every additional hour of sleep brought with it a 14 % rise in the likelihood of having some kind of sexual activity with her partner."

You're welcome.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Baggy Trousers - And why they don't work for me

So I'm post surgery and doing OK. Unfortunately I still have some sciatic pain which is disappointing but my doc says it's perfectly normal until everything settles down. Nowhere near what it was, thank goodness. 

Of a far more pressing nature though, is what to wear? Before my surgery I could hardly move and certainly couldn't lean forward to heave tight jeans on. Or really any trousers that didn't have a huge elastic waistband. I lived in the same pair of black wide stretchy trousers for longer than I care to admit. I have never been one for loose fitting, baggy clothing no matter how much I like it on other people. Somehow, it always just looks huge and wrong on me. What looks like this on some, 

looks like this on me

No offence/offense Lena, but not a good look. 

Now, although I have the flexibility to pull my leg up and put a sock on, I am not allowed to bend for another month and - I have an incision on my back right where most of my waistbands go. I did think about going out and buying some of those jeans that barely come over your nether regions, but heavens, the world doesn't deserve that! So guess what? I'm still having to wear stretch-waist trousers while my incision is tender. 

I have been looking online to see what's in fashion; the good news is that there are rather a lot of harem-looking trousers coming up this summer. They are certain to have stretch waists aren't they? The bad news is that a) I wouldn't know what to wear with them, and b) would end up looking ridiculous. 

I would love to be able to pull something like this off, but even when I was 20 I couldn't. 

So instead I'm going to leave you with something you might not thank me for, but I don't care - it's stuck in my head so it can be stuck in yours. 

You're welcome!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Almost back to the Land of the Living

Phew! Glad that's over (see previous post for a catch up). According to the doc, the surgery was successful and the herniation sitting on my sciatic nerve was "large". I kept telling everyone the pain was getting worse by the day, and it looks like it had indeed grown since the MRI 6 weeks before.

They put me out completely, which I thought was a bit excessive for a one hour surgery. I mean I've had two C-sections where they cut you wide open and don't feel the need to knock you out. My mother had an entire hip replacement done under a "twilight" drug, where she could hear "banging" (argh) but didn't really care what was going on. However, there was reason for their excess as I found out after the surgery.

Woke up with very blurry vision and a feeling of not being able to swallow. The vision thing occurs because they put a vaseline like goop on your eyes. Apparently when under a general anesthesia your protective responses (blinking) stop and therefore your corneas can dry out. They also tape your eyes shut, to keep the goop in and presumably protect the eyes from any infection. I can't imagine many "awake" patients being happy with that no matter how much of a relaxing medical cocktail they'd had. They didn't tell me about it until I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror and saw my two black eyes. Four days later, I still look a bit like Uncle Fester!

The sore throat was because they'd stuck a tube down there; another good reason to knock me out completely.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a bad reaction to the pain meds (containing far too much codeine for me) and for the first 24 hours, threw up every time I moved. Since I'd had to fast from Sunday, this wasn't so much throwing up as dry heaving over a bucket (not allowed to bend over the loo) and wishing I could just lie on a cold tile floor and die. Since they had pumped at least two bags of re-hydrating stuff through me post op, I had to get up to pee on a two hourly basis through the night, which also meant taking said bucket with me. The Ball & Chain could be heard shuffling around outside the bathroom such is his aversion to all things vomit-y.

Fortunately after 24 hours I decided I'd had enough of feeling so bad, and called the doc who agreed that I could stop taking the codeine and just try regular over-the-counter pain meds. I can't say they're great but at least I can walk around without the bucket.

It's now my fourth day at home and I can see the proverbial light. The incision site pain is lessening, as long as I remember not to sit too far back on a chair; and it's temporary! I changed my own dressing this morning, which was a bit of a challenge and involved two mirrors as I'm not allowed to twist. All looks good and un-infected.

And - and - and - the sciatic pain is gone! 

Now all I need is a great big bowel movement and I'll be good to go! 

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