To sleep, perchance.

Photo: Lachlan MacDonald
Photo: Lachlan MacDonald

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman … And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wet-nosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.

Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep.

Dylan Thomas could have written the opening of Under Milkwood for me, prowling around the house at two, three, four o’clock in the morning, while the gentlefolk—and stock, and pets—of Quaama village slumber on. Or maybe not the cats. I hear them prowling too, and yowling their territorial warnings.

It’s been like this for about eighteen months now. I wake up at about 1:00 am and enjoy the most awake, alert hours of my day before finally starting to yawn again at 4:30 or 5:00.

Is this MS? I know it’s common to suffer fatigue with MS, and sleep disturbances. But sleep disturbances, as far as I can see, are usually a secondary symptom—a result of physical discomfort or nocturia, needing to get up to pee. Yes, I get that too. But it doesn’t take four hours.

And MS fatigue doesn’t appear to be as regular as mine. There comes a time, about 9.30am, when my brain ties itself in knots, my eyes cross and refuse to focus. And every fibre in my body says, Close your eyes. Lay your head down. Go to sleep.

It happens at about 3.30pm too. I only get a minute’s warning. It borders on narcolepsy.

There’s another thing. When this started I went to my doctor. It sounds like adrenal fatigue, she said, and ordered a cortisol test. I had to spit into test-tubes four times over a 24-hour period and send the tubes to a path lab in South Australia.

The results came back. My doc looked glum. “Stage Three Adrenal Exhaustion,” she said. There is, it seems, no Stage Four. Adrenal exhaustion is caused by chronically high stress levels. Yep.

Does MS cause adrenal exhaustion? Does adrenal exhaustion cause MS?

We’re trying various remedies. So far no results. But at least I’m getting those few productive hours early in the morning.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets, the processional salt slow musical wind in Cobargo Street and Bega Street, it is the grass growing on Little Mumbulla, dewfall, starfall, the sleep of birds in Bermagui State Forest …

2 thoughts on “To sleep, perchance.”

  1. MS = Moonlight Serenades (by the Quaama Feline Choir)
    MS = Many Sleepless (nights)
    MS = Multiple Symptoms (often no known cause)
    MS = Micro Sleeps
    MS = Magnified Sensitivities
    MS = Magical Silence, (in the middle of the night)
    MS = My Secret (life )

    1. Thank you Liz, I will enjoy my Moonlight Serenades tonight … and the Magical Silence. I might leave the rest though 🙂

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