Posted on Mar 28, 2010 in Blog |
On school day mornings, if I had snoozed too long, Mom would gently open my door, come to the side of my twin size bed and gently rub my shoulder.
“Time to rise and shine,” her lilting voice offered. She walked to the corner windows and raised the shades without letting them slap at the top.
“Up and at ‘em, Atom Ant!” she would tease, drawing open the cheery lime green and yellow patchwork curtains she had sewn.
She didn’t burst into the room and demand me awake, but rather coached me into accepting the day’s beginning.
On weekends, I slept as long as my body required; mom was a believer that children needed and benefited from the deep slumber. I never heard a booming voice, never felt the covers pulled away, never wrestled roughly from my sleep.
In college, it was hard to get out of bed after a night of excessive drinking. My head throbbed in rhythm with my heartbeat. A parched throat and a full bladder forced me from the sheets but the churning walls and pounding noise punished me with each step.
In my late 20s, difficulty getting out of bed meant feeling sleepy, rolling over and snuggling my nose deeper into the pillow, hoping to block out the light, and silence the dogs’ snoring. My thoughts were dreamy-like, slowly sauntering towards wakefulness. Getting out of bed was still a choice; an option.
Motherhood – exhaustion was a constant state; choice not available. The baby’s cries and a visceral response force the muscles to contract and move, raising me from warm cocoon and on the job in seconds.
By middle age, my wake up time wasn’t as rigid, but rising and turning slowed. Pain drilled through my heels in their first steps. My back didn’t quite straighten to 180 degrees. But moving forward remained instinctual.
I am still middle-aged, but Lyme disease has attacked and infiltrated to my core. My brain awakens before my eyes open. Pain registers before wakefulness. I am usually on my back. The stiffened neck muscles force me to turn slowly to the right, squinting my eyes at the alarm clock trying to connect time and place. I blink over and over hoping the blurriness will abate enough for me to decipher the numbers.
My arms and legs feel bound to my body, cemented into one heavy, immovable block. Fear shoots through my brainwaves ready to create panic at any opportunity. For a few months, that’s where my head went.
Now, I talk myself through this rest of the process.
Energy directs to my right arm, prying it loose from my stomach. I straighten and bend at the elbow, then rotate my shoulder in a small circle loosening with each completion. I repeat the process on my left.
I wiggle my toes together. I point my toes and arch my feet, my ankles soon circling and separating from each other. By now, my shoulders can move up and down as well in circles.
I reach down from my right shoulder, my palm flattening under the same side knee. Pulling with as much strength as I can, knowing that it is not much, I bring my knee to 45 degrees.
My left arm crosses my chest, reaching for the nightstand. My left shoulder reluctantly peels away from the sheet; my fingers find the walnut edge and take hold.
Deep breath in. As hard as I pushed in labor with my son, I pull myself and roll to my side. My right knee is bent at 90 degrees now and can reach the side of the bed. Once it gets to that place and I am on my side, my left hand releases the wood, reaches down and pulls my left knee beside the other.
I lift my head, force my right arm under my side and push; my feet fall to the ground, landing, but not planted.
Constantly rotating, moving, keeping as much in motion, trying to roust the tendons, the muscles, stretching the ligaments and merging the energy to a single direction.
I lean forward, pushing up with both hands, hopefully, and usually, with enough energy to finish in a standing position. I steady my hands against the wall as I lift my hip to take the first step, equalizing my weight and position against the floor.
My hands trace the wall as I step to the bathroom, keeping me from looking like “richochet rabbit,” as Jeffrey lovingly calls me. And I’m done.
I’ve just completed my first major task of the day.