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Just sleeping...

Well, I’m sleeping alone.

I just had knee replacement surgery and the first night home, it took quite a while to get me tucked in. Two pillows under my legs so they were higher than my heart, middle of the night medication close at hand, sufficient blankets - I was snug as a bug in a rug. Although she’s been incredibly good-humored throughout this whole adventure, I may have heard a slight sigh as my wife left the room to go sleep on the couch.

Solid move.

The next morning, the bed looked like a World War One battlefield, complete with trenches and shell holes. I have no idea what I did during the night, but it certainly looked like a frenzy had occurred.

I’m choosing to blame the drugs.

You can only faintly imagine how seldom I’ve said that in my life.

I was on seven different medications and my wife was in charge of the timing and dosage. She believes in reading directions and that’s probably a good thing. The other night, before she went out to shut the door on the chicken coop, she set aside my bedtime drugs before she left.

“Cool,” I said. “If you get eaten by a rabid badger, I’ll be good until morning.”

There’s a chance I wouldn’t have needed to say that out loud.

The second night was about the same as the first. I don’t know if I slept, but I certainly wasn’t awake. When I regained consciousness the next morning, it took about five minutes to unwind me from the tangled sheets and smashed pillows.

And those were the good nights. Apparently, if you spend 8 to 12 hours napping in a drug-addled haze during the day, it can be difficult to get a solid night’s sleep.

Out of curiosity, and because I had nothing better to do, I started tracking my sleep patterns. The first time I slept for an hour, then was awake for about half an hour, then I slept for ten minutes and was awake for about an hour. My tracking gets a little fuzzy after that, because sometimes the clock went backwards and other times, I was playing poker with Bugs Bunny and a unicorn.

That was weird, because I don’t even like poker. There’s a chance I might have been dreaming.

After that little episode, I decided to research possible side-effects.

It was disheartening. I hit double digits with the first two bottles, and by the time I’d catalogued all seven, I was surprised I was still able to focus both eyes. By the time I looked at all the possible interactions between the drugs, I was thinking I probably should have paid attention in high school chemistry.

I’m not complaining. We live in a world of miracles. As I write this, I’m exactly two weeks out from my knee replacement. In big news, I’m wearing pants for the first time – the swelling has gone down to point that I squeezed into a pair of jeans today. I can walk without a cane and it actually hurts less going up and down stairs than it did before the surgery. Think about that – a computer-aided magic knife whittled away bad bone and tissue, it was replaced with titanium and plastic, and now works better than the original. Wow. When you think of the depth and breadth of knowledge needed to bring this about, from the skill and training of the surgeon, to the incredible dedication and competence of the nurses, physical therapists and all the other staff, the efforts over decades of researchers developing tools, techniques and drugs, it’s all beyond amazing and I’m very grateful.

My only problem? I think the unicorn cheats.

Copyright 2020 Brent Olson

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