Monday, January 11, 2010

What a Day This Has Been

It started in the early morning hours beginning between one and two when I found myself waking up out of my bed, standing in the hallway between my bedroom and my office, shaking from fright, muttering, "No, no." I've been experiencing what might be considered night terrors for a month or so now. I hesitate to speak with assurance when I use the term "night terrors" because that seems to be a diagnosis rather than a description, and no doctor has spoken with authority about what it is I'm going through. I have no idea what it can be that's terrorizing me this way because I cannot remember any dream I might be having that propels me out from under the comforter laid across my chest.

I really needed my sleep last night, too. I had an early morning checkup with my doctor - nothing big, no concern - just my regular six-month visit. But I wanted to be alert and sunny, not drained and hollow-eyed. I managed to catch a couple of light naps downstairs in the chilly living room before it was time to get ready to get to my 9:15 appointment.

The visit went well. I like my doctor, young Doctor Wise. We have pleasant chats, during which he manages to find out what sort of thing might be ailing me, like that crick in my right knee or that dry cough I've been having since we shuttered the apartment from the cold and turned the central heat up to 85. My blood pressure had him dancing in the examination room this morning, it was that good. (And don't laugh about him dancing; he's young enough to still be able to get away with that - and he's not half-bad.) Once he was done, he turned me over to his lab assistant, Katrina (yes, Katrina. He realized today he'd never told me her name. I guess he figured I might freak out - like so many others must have done before me ...). Katrina draws my blood. Dr. Wise takes blood after every visit. He uses it to check up on everything he can't get out of me verbally, hidden illnesses or diseases neither he nor I can detect with the naked eye or the upset tummy.

And, bless his heart, he even has his lab scan for STDs. Now he and I both know these tests won't come up positive, because you really can't get those pesky bugs from toilet seats, and at my age with my appearance that's the closest I'll get to anybody else's junk, but, nevertheless, it always makes me feel like a beau boulevardier - and he knows it.

I like him, my young Doctor Wise.

Once done with him, it was off to run errands. This was when, running around the central business district, that I began to notice a sinus headache beginning to build in the cavity behind my eyes. It never eased up but continued to drum in ever widening circles of throbbing beats throughout the rest of the day.

Once home, I had only a short time to grab a bite to eat before running off to a rehearsal and photo shoot for The Last Reading of Charlotte Cushman. Karen and Eric, our stage manager, and I got off to a late start because Karen was going to get into make-up and costume for the pictures, and once we started shooting, we found ourselves committed. We spent so much time on the pictures that once we were done, she didn't have it in her to make it through a run of the script. Needless to say, I didn't either, my head still smarting as it was.

I made it home and started working on the photographs. Damn those photographs. We had such wonderful setups, and 90 percent of the shots were disasters! All my fault. I was shooting with my good Nikon and my new strobe, and I really don't have the expertise to make these two things work together yet. Tomorrow, I'll just have to get Karen into a good mood and break the news that she might want to redo the photo session. Really, really, redo the whole photo session. Notice I said tomorrow. Don't breathe a word to the dear girl before I get a chance to break it to her gently.

I did manage to get one shot of her as Charlotte Cushman that comes as close as I will ever get to the feeling of a fin de siecle image of a star actress, something Duse-esque. I think Karen will like it

I even incorporated it into the poster for the show. Fine time to revise the poster, isn't it? We open in a week. What can I say? My work is organic. It grows as time goes by. ("You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!") Here it is - the new poster, I mean:


  1. The poster is so great! Pure old gold! I loved it!

    I have been a sufferer from night terrors since I was 27. I was in Austria, with my husband and our baby boy. Everything seemed perfect, but I woke up in the hotel, in the middle of night, crying "NO,NO,NO...". I felt I couldn't breath, it was horrible!

    My doctor, wisely or not, told me it was anguish. And that was it. I feel anguished... people tend to be like this, it's only human!

    Anyway, whenever I go to see that doctor I too try to look confident and sunny (I loved this adjective!) and my doctor has been saying to me (wisely or not) that I look ok, that life is hard, but I look fine.

    Well, I just wrote something very useless, but I felt I should give you my testimony.

    I wish I could be in NO to see this play!

    Play it!

  2. I'm glad you like the revised poster, and I'm very glad to hear your words of experience about these so-called night terrors. I know of no one in my circle of friends and acquaintances who suffers from this, so what I have is a very real sense of being alone in my predicament. Thanks for being there with a shoulder to lean on.

  3. About shoulders: you can count on me at any time!

    About night terrors: funny, I know some people with the same problem. Some doctors say it is related to Panic Syndrome, some see a connection between night terrors with snoring/apnea.

    I tried to find out what dream could possibly had been leaving me so terrified, but gave up a long time ago. It was pointless. The best thing to do is to focus on life - day-to-day life, I mean. The one that is made of work, meals, doctors, plants, animals and people. Oh, I like people, I really do!

  4. Wise words. Several years ago I was diagnosed with apnea. The treatment was a bust. First I got a machine that was supposed to pump air into my lungs as I slept, but the insurance company took shortcuts, and the device was never properly fitted to my face. So it was useless. Sent it back. Next, the doctors decided surgery would be the answer, so they took out my tonsils, undeviated my septum, and removed my uvula. The loss of the tonsils hurt for more than six weeks, and the lack of the uvula meant I had to relearn how to eat, drink, and swallow (it's a little known fact that, without that little skin hanging from atop your palate at the back of your throat, food wants to go up instead of down - can be messy). Anyway, since then, I just cope.

  5. Oh, dear, dear! The pain we have to go through to make things better or painless. Such an irony...

    I think only art can save us in the end. And that is something you are very committed to. That's good, my friend, very good!

    One day I will give the path to your e-mail a try and we can chat a little bit.

  6. Beautiful poster, Glenn. So glad to see you writing here again. Unfortunately I have no words of wisdom in regard to the night terrors issue so can only wish you the best and hope that you are able to find a way to get some unbroken rest. :-)

  7. Hey, Lil, it's good to hear from you again. You're why I do what it is that I do, to hear from the likes of people like you. I handle the bad nights of little sleep. Luckily, being retired, I can catch little power naps throughout the day - so unlike the catnaps I took when I was a cog in the labor pool ;-) Oh, I didn't say that ...

  8. I am so, so glad to see you again around these parts. Nice to know what's going on with you, and congrats on being clear of STDs. :)

  9. It's good to be back home. (And as for those STDs, they don't come lookin' for you; you have to go lookin' for them.)


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