I took Ambien to sleep last night. I’ve always been plagued by nighttime anxiety. It doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering. In fact, the earth shattering things, I can usually sleep through just fine. It’s the little things that torture me. A call I’ve been putting off, neglecting to read with Quinn on busy weeks, registration paperwork, a class party email I forgot to send, something I said to a friend or in a meeting that I fear might have come across wrong. In the rational light of day, these things cross my mind and I know that I’m a good parent and a good person, regardless of small missteps, but at 2:00 a.m. the smallest demons throw huge shadows.
Aside from a rare theft of one of Matt’s muscle relaxants, I’ve avoided drugs to solve the problem because I know if I find an easy fix, I’ll want to use it. I have my notebook by my bed for writing down “to do” stuff and my Kindle with its soft internal light for when I want to read to settle my mind. I have ongoing story lines in my head that I try to spin further along each night to force myself to let go of the days’ swirl of thoughts.
These things work except when they don’t, which was manageable. But it hasn’t been the easiest six months of my life and I’m tired. I was at the OB last week for that general, annual thing they do and all was fine until he touched my neck and got frowny. Frowny doctors are the worst. “I don’t like the way that feels,” he said.
“My windpipe?” I asked, instantly feeling sure that yes, my throat was closing up now that he mentioned it.
“Your thyroid.” Oh, that. What’s that for anyway? “I’m going to order an ultrasound.”"
“An ultrasound?” I’m all for ultrasounds because they are very non-pokey as medical tests go, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had my thyroid levels tested with a blood test. “To see if there are hormone issues? Like maybe that’s why I’m always cold?”
“No, to make sure there aren’t any masses that are a concern.”
Well. Then. That’s an unnecessarily unhappy word, isn’t it, Dr. Sunshine. Way to bring reality into it like a ton of bricks to the stomach. In another story, this should have been my 36-week, everything-looks-good-cleared-for-exit appointment. But no. I no longer go to the OB to have cute babies with my cute, youngish little body. I go to make sure I don’t have cancer. Which is unlikely because Dr. Google and many friends who have done this tell me that “nodules” on your thyroid are very common and cancer of the thyroid is not, but STILL. I haven’t had a non-crappy visit to an OBGYN in three years.
“Anything else? Other concerns?”
“Sleeping pills. Please. Immediately.”
So, Ambien. It certainly works. I don’t think I so much slept last night as lost ten hours of my life. I wouldn’t take it if I were alone with the children for fear they would discover my incapacitation and wreak their particular brand of havoc on my house like the brood of terrors in Nanny McPhee. I think my fears of forming a habit are unfounded – I’m not crazy about the “fall unconscious with drool running out of my mouth” way I’m left feeling and I have a weird soft, hangover-like headache. We’ll call it back up plan C, which I’m very happy to have in the house.
I shall refrain from suggesting that a smidge of Ambien crumbled atop dinner could solve so many bedtime issues and create so many happy parents. Because that would be wrong.