I know they always day “Oh it’s the little things in life that count,” or that when bad things happen, they give you perspective on life. Yeah of course these are cliches. But then someone will happen to you and it’ll knock your socks off how important that little thing was. Like waking up dry and not drowning in your own sweat.
A few months ago, I woke up completely drenched. (And before you say it, NO, I am not going through menopause.) I don’t recall that I thought much of it. I probably just said, Oh boy that was weird, and changed my pajamas and my sheets and called it a day.
When it happened a second time, it was a little weirder. And then a third, and a fourth, and then it was a whole week. And what else would a hypochondriac with Internet access do besides Google night sweats? The search results do not predict much fun in your life. I’ll leave it to you to check, if you’re bored and curious. I reeled when I read them. Yes, I know I’m dramatic, and no, I’m not trying to act like no one has it worse than I do. Still, it’s a scary thing when this happens to you and doesn’t go away.
It’s gone on for over three months. At the time it began, I was undergoing more stress at work than I ever had before at my job. I thought maybe it was just the stress. But it went on, and on, and on. By about the beginning of January, it began to wind down a little bit. So I thought Yes, I’m beating it!
But then I wake up one morning after about five dry nights completely soaked. You never realize how lucky you are to wake up dry than when this happens to you. When they say “the little things,” they mean it. Who knew how little? The disappointment when you wake up like this is insane. Because you think, whatever problem I thought was gone is still here. Whatever is happening in my body after I fall asleep is still happening. And whatever abnormal mechanism that is operating in my body is still abnormal. I am definitely a hypochondriac, there’s no doubt about that. But no one can deny, even the most impatient, arrogant, dismissive doctor, a pile of soaking wet pajamas on the floor.
And when I say soaked, I mean imagine taking your clothes out of the washing machine and putting them on right away. I mean like waking up with sweat trickling into your ears. I mean like feeling all over yourself and your bed because you can’t tell if you peed yourself or not. So you get up and change into one of the clean sets of pajamas that you laid out before you went to bed, and get back into your disgusting, cold, wet bed, because you have no time or energy to change the sheets again, and try and find one little dry patch and then shiver yourself to sleep. And after all this, when you get up in the morning, you put on a robe and hope no one notices that you’re in a completely different pair of pajamas than the ones you went to bed in and the ones you put on at two o’clock in the morning.
Most nights, I’m afraid to go to sleep.
I have tried everything to find a pattern but as soon as I think I’ve hit upon something, I get the night sweats and then I have to keep looking. Going to bed too late–no. Spicy foods–no. Supplements–no. Sugar–no. Stress–who knows. Black tea–no. Coffee–no. Exercise (not that I ever do it)–no. I even set my Fitbit to buzz my wrist every forty-five minutes to see if I could catch it in the act. (It seems to happen around one to two hours after I fall asleep.) I’ve looked at the data on the Fitbit app and can’t discern anything unusual. I take my temperature during the day, too, but there’s still no pattern. I could have a low temp all day and I have the sweats. Or I could be close to a fever, and have none. I’ve had blood tests, chest X-rays, thyroid and neck lymph node ultrasounds performed. I’m still waiting for test results. They even checked me for TB (no). That’s pretty much where I’m at right now.
I hope that when I go to bed tonight, I will wake up with the same moisture level as when I went to sleep. Who would ever guess that waking up warm and dry should be enough to guarantee that you never get up on the wrong side of the bed? Who ever said to themselves, “Boy I’m grateful that me and my bed are nice and dry!” You hear the menopause people complain about their hot flashes and sweating and you’re glad it’s not you (because that only happens to old women and you will never be old), but at least they have an identifiable reason for it. Otherwise, who knew we should be grateful to not have night sweats? Who knows the things we have right this minute that we should be grateful for that we can’t even name because they are so tiny and yet so necessary for our peace of mind?
But hey look at the bright side–at least I’m keeping the laundry industry booming.