This past week has been rough. It all started with seed starting… then I found myself plagued by serious exhaustion which gave way to low blood pressure with finger and toe tingling, then irritability, leg and back pain, and finally progressed to all out visual hallucinations.
I have two students and a friend who are currently battling mono, all of which I’ve had contact with in the past few weeks… you can imagine where my frustrated imagination was going. Three to four weeks of little or no activity, no lifting heavy objects, no exertion whatsoever. Ugh! I was near tears every time I thought about it. I can’t stand being sick.
Of course, then again, I don’t ever tend to take a hint. Last Thursday I spent every moment of my day sleeping on the couch, except for the hour that I dragged myself out and put new plastic on my greenhouse (taking breaks to keep from passing out – that should’ve been a hint, right? My body going “What are you doing young lady?! Get back to bed this instant!” and somehow managing to do so in my mother’s voice.)
I refused to accept that I was ill, which I know (if I’d really had mono) was a really stupid approach. I complained and whined and moaned about the possibility, but when push came to shove I refused to go to the doctor’s to get tested simply because then I’d KNOW I couldn’t do things, rather than just suspecting it.
Anyway, when I started seeing things (scary faces in the background while talking to students’ parents, giant bugs on the wall… it was… fun) something sort of clicked. Aren’t visual hallucinations a sign of sleep deprivation? In fact, aren’t pretty much all of my symptoms?
I lay on the couch thinking about how I would wake up feeling completely exhausted, like I’d never actually slept. More than that, I was starting to dream while still awake…
Then it dawned on me. From my bed, from right where my head hits the pillow, I can catch a glimpse of the edge of my seed starting shelves. I’d been leaving the lights on overnight just until things start to germinate, and I noticed, but thought that I’d been ignoring, that I could see the lights when I went to bed.
Did you know that fluorescent lights can disrupt sleep patterns? That little thought tickled the back of my brain, dredged up from some crazy college science lecture on REM patterns and narcolepsy.
Well, I was ready to try anything except go to the doctor and actually get tested. I shut off my lights and went to bed, trying not to get my hopes up.
The next morning?
No tingly fingers or irritability, no back pain… just a simple headache and the feeling that I could still use a couple extra hours of sleep.
I’m fascinated by this, and I completely intend to read up on it some more (never again to have lights on at night)… but first?
I could use a nap.