Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Mr. Sandman, Bring Me A Dream
In March, 2007, I wrote a post titled A Three Toothbrush Night. In that post, I explained how my nights, and the amount of sleep I get, are measured by the number of battery powered toothbrushes Ashley has. As I explained in that March post, Ashley uses the toothbrushes for sensory input - input that helps her relax. Unfortunately many nights she has a hard time relaxing, even with the toothbrushes.
Since I adopted Ashley eleven and a half years ago, I haven't slept through an entire night. Many times that was due to worrying about her health and well-being or dealing with seizures, tube feedings, or other significant medical problems. But, even during nights when I am not awake with worry, I am awake because Ashley just doesn't sleep well. I've never known for sure if those poor sleep habits are due to her deafblindness or perhaps small, almost undetectable seizures, or something I just haven't figured out yet, but I do know that the lack of sleep is really taking its toll on me.
I have a very high-stress job - I am a single parent caring for four children, three of whom have disabilities - and I have fairly significant health problems myself. All those things mean that I REALLY need my sleep. I just don't know how to get it.
I've tried, with doctor supervision, giving Ashley Melatonin. It didn't help. She is currently on Clonidine, which helps her get to sleep but not stay asleep. Benedryl helps some, but like the Clonidine, does not last through the night, and can have other negative effects such as causing ear infections. She doesn't take naps, and I try to keep her busy and active during the day so she will be tired at night. And she is tired and goes to sleep easily at bedtime - but will only stay asleep for four or five hours.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Have you had similar problems and solved them? I'm desperately in need of a date with the sandman...