Thursday, May 15, 2008

Olivia Newton John notwithstanding

This morning I find myself in front of the computer at zero dark thirty. And why? Because I cannot sleep. Why's that? Because my back has woken me up, yet again, after approximately six hours of sleep. For the zillionth time.

About 10 weeks ago, James and I rescued two new cats. Oh the pictures! Oh the cuteness! But for the first two weeks: Oh the stress! New Kids had to be sequestered from the Old Kids, since New Kids had never even seen a veterinarian on tv before. So we bundled them into our bedroom, our only choice for an actual closed door.

For about three days, the boy, Toby, hid under the bed, while his sister Heather bothered us every time we stepped into the room. "Hi! Pet me! Pet me! Hi!" On Day Three, Toby came out, looked around, and said, "Okay fine. I'm in." And immediately became the most boisterous-bordering-on-obnoxious cat you've ever seen. His nickname is Galoot, because he is just that: teenaged long-legged awkward which-way-did-he-go demeanor. Nothing fazes him, and he's happiest when he's playing. Or being petted. Or being manhandled. Or fighting with his sister. Or just breathing. Y'know, whatever.

Keep in mind that this obnoxious boy had a 8x10 room to play in. Our bedroom. Where the bed is. Where we....sleep?

Yeah, as if. Each night we'd try, but after the hundredth run across the bed and jump on the legs and beat up Heather right next to our heads, I'd bail out to the couch, and James would head for the air mattress in the living room. This went on for a couple of weeks, until we got them fixed, spayed, vetted, immunized, microchipped, and slowly introduced to the other kitties. The day we got to use our own bed again, I thought I was going to cry. We still had some rock 'em sock 'em action, but the ricochets decreased hugely, now that they weren't confined to such a small space.

About a week later, I started attending all day meetings for a project at work. Switching to a new payroll system, boring boring but good for the company, TCB. No problem. Except sitting in a chair and thinking for six hours a day didn't exactly help my back out. And two weeks ago I sat in a broken movie theater seat and watched Iron Man, which was worth it, but gave me shooting pains in my leg for the next couple of days. Um, Sarah? Yes. This is your body. Get some help down here, dammit!

Okay fine. I found a chiropractor, and I've been working with her for a week now, and things are definitely getting better. I'm going once a week for the next month, and she wants me to see a massage therapist every week as well. Damn. Didn't know I was that broken.

Well, I guess I really did, because for the last month, I have not been able to sleep more than 6 hours at one time without dull aching pain waking me up at 3 in the morning, forcing me out of bed. It's made for some really entertaining days at work. I can't complain about timing, because at this point most of our meetings for the Very Important Project are done, and I don't need to sit for hours at a stretch very often. I have insurance that covers this very well, and we're financially at the point where we'll survive just fine even if I need to pay for it. The synchronistic action works great for me.

What doesn't work is the new reality of my life: I'm not as smart all the time. I used to be able to count on my intelligence as a fact of my life, and of course, I had my dumb days; everyone does. But I was quick and I was smart and I could play the quiz show games faster than anyone else at work. Someone asks a question over the cubicles? I have the answer, and faster than anyone else. I called it a sickness, knowing all the details, but I was proud and happy to be the mind freak.

This change, this lack of sleep, has forced me to slow down. I no longer assume I'm able to do something quickly. I have to plan my day a little more carefully. To some extent, I've started depending on caffeine to get me functional at times, which is bad, but humbling. I don't like coffee, and I've always had a secret disdain for those who depend on it too much. My parents drink maybe 12 cups a day to keep them going, and I never thought that was good or healthy. But here I am, downing a Red Bull every other day just to outlast the day. Which brings me to work hours. Time was I could work 10 hours a day to get things done, and come back for more on the weekend. Now? Not so much. I've been working less than 40 hours a week at times, and I have to stifle my overachieving spirit and convince myself that no one will hate me just because I'm unable to work myself to the bone.

Again, timing-wise, I can't complain. Right now nothing's on fire, and I'm getting things done. But not being able to overachieve anymore is hitting me where it hurts, and forcing me to develop some compassion for those who aren't built like me. Quite honestly, my ego could do with the curtailing in that regard, so I'm glad this learning curve was pitched to me.

The other lesson I've been handed lately is all body stuff, coupled with the overachiever in me. But I think that waits for another post. No, really. This one's too long already.

(BTW: Toby is the kitty in my userpic. The galoot!)