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Thoughts in the Middle of the Night

In the middle of last night, I started thinking about life.

Trust me, I would rather have been sleeping.

I woke up at about 4 to use the rest room and couldn’t get back to sleep. That had been a recurring theme for me a few months back. Between the steroids and the coughing, somewhere in the middle of every night I would wake up spend an hour staring at the ceiling. That hasn’t been an issue recently. Because I’ve been feeling better starting this new treatment, and because I’ve been nipping a little prescription cough syrup before bed, the past four weeks I’ve been sleeping through the night without a problem.

The cough syrup has two benefits: One- it makes me cough less. Two- it makes me pass out. But I’m nearing the end of this bottle, and really don’t feel like developing another soul crushing addiction, so I’m beginning wean myself off. So last night was my first time in a month without it, ergo I woke up at 4 to use the rest room and couldn’t get back to sleep.

I closed my eyes and tried to get comfortable. A few minutes passed. I turned over on my side. My rib has been sore for the past couple of days. I probably just tweaked a muscle or something, but it’s impossible to have what I have and not dissect every little ache and pain. What if this wasn’t just a tweak? What if it’s something else? I’ve been feeling better, isn’t it just a matter of time before I start feeling bad again?

My mind started racing.

There’s a line in the play I’m working on. The character is talking about his mom and he says, “As a little boy it was never shyness or thoughtfulness. Happiness scared me because it was usually followed by… You know.”

Boy can I relate to that. While it undeniably feels great to feel better, it’s impossible not to wonder how long it’s going to last.

I reached over to grab my phone, but stopped myself. What an opiate of the mind that tiny computer is. The second I wanted to stop thinking, that’s the place I went.

For a few minutes I let my mind do its thing. I didn’t try to stop it. I didn’t latch on to it. I thought of it as cleaning out my fridge. Sometimes you’ve got to take things out, throw them away, and not judge what state they are in.

Eventually my thoughts settled down, and I brought my focus back to the bedroom. Jaimie felt particularly warm and soft beside me. I heard Andy rearrange himself under the bed and let out a deep sigh.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Life is not an Old Country Buffet. You can’t just shove down the first plate knowing that there are unlimited plates to follow. That moment, in the middle of last night, was perfect. Jaimie and I were warm in bed together. Andy was in his space surrounded half eaten socks. And if I focus on what I might or might not get, I completely miss what I already have.

Next thing I knew it was three hours later. I had fallen asleep and not even noticed.

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