Floating on four inches of memory foam, wrapped in a cushy warm blanket, I dream of good and wondrous things. An intruder, usually in the form of a smallish person, rarely in the form of my alarm, jolts me out of bliss and transports me to the world as it is.
I resist waking up.
Like most people, I'd simply like to get more sleep. Like many people, I don't look forward to leaving my warm, comfy bed. Like some people, I don't want to leave the land of dreams.
For the many few of us, waking up means something more. It means becoming acutely aware of the pain. It means leaving a body that works in the land of dreams to return to a body that doesn't in the world that is. It means facing the reality, once again, that I am limited to what my body decides it's capable of that day.
When I sleep, I dream of hiking and biking and running after my kids. I dream of writing and painting and digging in the dirt.
When I'm awake, I dream of hiking and biking and running after my kids. I dream of writing and painting and digging in the dirt.
Many people who are diagnosed with a life-changing chronic illness resist waking up to the reality of what their life is going to be like. They live their lives for a while in that state between asleep and awake when you're not quite sure if it was just a bad dream and hope everything will be fine when you open your eyes.
Waking up with a chronic illness is difficult. Waking up to chronic illness is more difficult. But as with life, we have no choice other than to wake up. I suppose we can hit the snooze bar a few times, living in denial and pushing ourselves beyond our limits, but eventually we need to deal with life as it is.
On my journey with chronic illness I've learned that dreams aren't dead in the world as it is. The dreams I had for my life before getting seriously ill haven't vanished - they've changed. I may not be hiking through local hills any time soon, but I can find other ways to enjoy nature with my family. I may not be able to write with paper and pen for very long without it becoming illegible, but I haven't found a way yet to type illegibly, unless I'm really not paying attention. More importantly - I AM writing - writing for myself and hopefully inspiring a person or two along the way. I may not be able to run after my children, but let's just say that a wheelchair can be a really fun mode of transportation. Lacking the ability to do lots of down to earth type things, I've found more time to dream - and new dreams to which to aspire.
May your sleep be sweet and your dreams inspirational.