Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


The upside of downtime

Last night, I woke up three times. One time I figured, well, let’s see what’s going on in the news. (Nothing good, I can assure you.) The second time I did some work:  checked the financials; cleared some emails; reviewed the latest stats on a poll I’ve been following. The third time, I may have woken up simply to check the time: 5:50 a.m. Oh:  progress.

I wish I could say this isn’t typical. It’s been going on for decades.

My son, meanwhile, a strapping 19-year-old, assures me that once he’s asleep, he stays asleep. To his credit, he sounded more factual than boastful. I told him, “Check back in with me when you’re in your 50s.” Then I destroyed him in a game of 500 Rummy. I think the last time I slept a full night through was while Jimmy Carter was in office. (Through no credit to him.)

I cleared my schedule for today so I could go get a medical procedure. It was simply a test, although they kept calling it, shudderingly, “surgery.” They asked if I’d ever had surgery before, and I said no. Not even a colonoscopy? Oh, sure, I said, I’ve had one of those. Well, evidently, that’s “surgery” as well. The things you learn. I had always associated surgery with getting cut open. Now I think surgery is whatever they decide to call it when they can charge more.

This “surgery,” in which they’d take nice bright photos of a generous portion of my insides — without, as noted, slicing me up with a knife — required knocking me out. I don’t know how long they were videoing my interior, but to me the procedure worked like this:  one moment speaking to the doctor and the nurse, and the nurse saying that, okay, the anesthesia was starting intravenously, and the next instant my awakening to the proclamation that it was all over. I stumbled my way over to the restroom — no, thank you, I don’t need a wheelchair, for chrissake! — and then after that, stumbling my way out the door of the surgery center. (And, no, dammit, I don’t need a wheelchair for this either!)

Then I took my son, who nicely drove me to this procedure and waited around while people violated my personal core, out to lunch. Well, his lunch, my breakfast, my having been on orders not to eat or drink since the previous night.

After that — a great big breakfast for me, with eggs scrambled in diced ham, an invasion-sized pancake, a huge cup of water and  two cups of glorious coffee, I went home. And crashed. Because to some degree I was still anesthetized.

I woke up hours and hours later. Feeling completely refreshed!

Oh: This must be what it feels like to feel rested.

So now I’m wondering how I might go about getting more non-surgical surgery. Clearly what is needed in my case is anesthesia.  I’ve had a sleep disorder for decades, and have tried absolutely everything — but no one told me about the wonders of anesthesia! Mind you, I don’t want any maladies that actually require surgery (duh) and I’d rather avoid the trouble of going to that surgery center all the time, and I can do without the very pretty pink photos of my insides, attractive thought they may be. But if you know someone who can come over even just twice a month and anesthetize me, please let me know.

4 Responses to “The upside of downtime”

  1. Richard Roesberg Says:

    I’m currently being woken up at night by one of our dogs, who is having various health problems. Normally, I would consider taking Xanex to help me get back to sleep, but I need to remain alert enough to let the dog out when she needs it, so I won’t have to clean up big messes in the morning. If we can resolve the dog’s sleep issues, that should solve my middle-of-the-night problems, too.

  2. mark chaet Says:

    To sleep, perchance to not have to get up to pee. I’ve had sleep apnea for a whole bunch of years. Being retired helps. I go to sleep (often in my easy chair) whenever I want, I get up in the morning whenever I wake up and feel like arising. In between I may get up once, twice, 3 times, to urinate (no, I’m not, you are). This morning I got up at 4:50. Now it’s 8 hours later and I feel fine. I’ll likely take a nap (I take LOTS of naps), &/or go to sleep really early. 8pm is not unheard of. I would oh so like to be fully awake and energetic beyond lunchtime on any given day. I actually asked my doctor for amphetamines – big surprise, she said no. I drink a lot of coffee.

  3. Joe Stafford Says:

    I will be blessedly brief…

    It was probably Propofol that was used in knocking you out. It’s an amazing drug. Like none other.


    Mr. Jackson’s only mistake, blamed in his absence on the administering physician, is that he did not install what would have amounted to an ICU with monitoring and life support equipment per the modern requirements. Then he could have come and gone (so to speak) in an ongoing and unlimited fashion without risk. Ad lib.

  4. Dan Says:

    Have you ever tried Narcolepsy?

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