Ever since Don Shepherd died, twelve years ago, sleep has been a problem. Like, a major problem. As in, I don’t sleep well at all. In the beginning, I barely slept at all. I would be lucky to get 2 or 3 hours those first few months after he died. Then, very slowly, it started to get a tiny bit better, but not much. Soon, I started to become used to only getting an average of maybe 4 or 5 hours of really poor, interrupted, not great sleep. I have tried everything over the years to help combat this. All the sleep meds on earth, all the warm milk, the tea, the oatmeal baths, the having a nightly routine, the turning off your phone, the not drinking water or eating anything after 6pm (seriously? Who does that? ) – Ive tried it all. Some things would work for a night or two, some things didnt work at all, and some things made it worse. (I had side effects from every single medication I have ever tried, even over the counter ones. If I take an over the counter thing such as Tylenol PM, I have to cut it in half and only take half a pill. Otherwise, Im groggy for like 12 hours afterwards, and this does not work when you are up at 5am to drive a student van filled with kids.)
Anyway, sleeping sucks. Not sleeping sucks. Stressing about sleeping and not sleeping sucks. All of my trauma and greif happened while I was asleep, and I was jarred awake by a ringing phone at 6am a dozen years ago to have my life turned upside down and changed forever by the words I will never forget from the hospital down the street: “We have your husband. We have been trying to reach you. You need to get here right away.” Little did I know that as I slept soundly just a couple hours before, he had already been found collapsed on the floor at his volunteer job, rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and pronounced dead. And I would never sleep soundly ever again.
Last night, I tried out a new sleep med that a friend had recommended. It is all-natural – basically some melatonin with some other natural herbs and things. My friend swears by it, but I had remembered that melatonin gave me headaches and weird dreams last time I took it. But, I decided to give it a second try, and took one last night. Nick and I have been watching the old cop series from the 1990’s “NYPD Blue” on Amazon Prime, and so detectives and crime cases and general debauchery were all floating around in my head last night when I went to bed. I had a dream that Don Shepherd didnt die, but he was missing, and Precinct 51/NYPD Blue had to go and find him. In my dream, Andy Sipowitz was put on the case, and Metavoy said of Don while reading his profile: “46 years old, married, paramedic, works volunteer for an animal rescue which is where he went missing. Air Force vet. This guy is a regular boy scout.” They all got to work trying to solve the case, and I was called in for questioning. They kept asking me if anyone would want to hurt Don, or if anyone hated Don. I kept saying: “Nobody hates Don! He is literally the nicest person on earth!” I woke up from that dream before I found out what happened.
After getting up to pee, I fell back asleep and had another dream where Don was still alive, but I found all of his things in dumpsters outside our apartment. He didnt know how they got there, and he was confused, and the police were at our house trying to figure it out. In that dream, Don was holding our cat Sammy, who died last Mothers Day in real life. It was nice seeing Don and Sammy again in my dreams, as bizarre as they were. Im choosing to believe it means they are together now, wherever they both are.
The last dream I had that I remember from last night involved Don once again being alive and well, but he was playing tennis somewhere and nobody could find the court. He kept calling me and telling me where the court was, and I couldnt find it. I just kept saying “where are you???” on the phone to him, and he calmly said: “playing tennis. Come and watch. I have a killer serve!” I woke up stressed because I couldnt get to him.
The lesson here is this: do not watch old cop shows and then take new sleep meds, unless you want to wake up stressed out and confused on a Sunday. Hey, at least Im not groggy.