I’m Unravelling

Kage Baker was of the opinion that anything gone wrong health-wise could be helped by sleep. She’d sleep in preference to taking pain killers; she’d sleep off a fever, or a stomach bug. And I must say, it worked – even in her final illness, sleep was the best anodyne and analgesic for her.

She always told me that a lot of my moodiness and vaguer malaises (and let’s face it, we all have them, no matter how stalwart or noble of character we are) would go away if I just freaking slept now and then. Or at least, I wouldn’t mind them as much.

I always nodded and then ignored her, convinced – like so many insomniacs – that my sleeplessness was of a higher and more cerebral state than mere insomnia. My brain was too busy to sleep, my thoughts too orderly to dissolve into the gentle nonsense of dreams.

Have you seen that contact lens commercial where some pompous idiot cries out that he can’t use mail order contact lenses because he has “special eyes”? Like that.

While Kage was in her final illness, I just grabbed sleep whenever I could – mostly when she did, which is the classic pattern for those of us caring for the terminally ill or newly born. “You’re gonna fall over in a stupor when I’m gone,” Kage warned me, amused. “You’re going to find out just how much you really need to sleep. Don’t fight it, kiddo – it’s good for you.” And then she was gone; for about a year, I slept with a depth and regularity that was astonishing to me. For the first time in my life, I was sleeping easily. And a lot!

But in the last 6 months, things have gone all wonky. (And not in the good sense, Mrs. Springhorn.) First, I stayed awake until I fell over; then I slept for 20 hours. That was okay; I could deal with that – 30 years of doing fairs all over the state had given me plenty of experience in weird sleeping patterns. But then I started to get sick … and while I know I don’t actually have narcolepsy, I nonetheless have completely lost control of my sleeping. As well as anything that bears any resemblance to a pattern.

I’ve learned, in the recent few weeks, that if I want to sleep at all, I’d better lie down at the first hint of weariness. If I do, it’s true I may sleep for 20 hours – but if I don’t, if I miss that window of opportunity, I’ll be awake for 4 days and then fall asleep somewhere inconvenient. Thus far, it hasn’t been in the moving car. I’d like to keep it that way.

My doctors say my heart is making me sleep, so as to conserve strength. Or that my body is, in general, hoarding rest against the strain of whatever is trespassing in my uterus. Or that exotic infections are exhausting me. Or maybe I’ve pissed off an evil faerie. Any and/or all of these make as much sense as the rest …

What it amounts to, though, is that the prescription of bed rest is all that helps. I sleep, all right. I sleep constantly. I wake up enough to eat, go to the bathroom, maybe run an errand and write something here – though I plain old forgot in the fugue of yestreday – and then I’m asleep again. Hopefully this can all be resolved in the near future, as various surgeries and new doctors do their things.

So this is by way of a warning, Dear Readers. I can’t guarantee I’ll write every day (though I will try). I can’t guarantee it’ll make any sense when I do – though, really, that’s been a risk since the outset … nor can I guarantee that my writing this winter will be enhanced by my presence at Dickens Fair: at this point, my attendance there is likely to sporadic.

But as long as we all realize I am on a weird schedule, things’ll be fine. Right? I’m still unravelling the sleeve of care, but now I know it – I can start knitting it up again. I admit defeat to the need for sleep, and will now try reaching a compromise.

Kage said I’d need to do that. And I didn’t pay attention, and look what’s happened now! You’d think I’d have learned to listen to her …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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8 Responses to I’m Unravelling

  1. James says:

    You too, huh? I could sleep for Ireland, given half a chance. Unfortunately, I’m not taking these chances when they come along. Be well, Kathleen.

    Like

  2. Brad Campbell says:

    Please, as much as I look forward to these daily doses of Kage and Kathleen, please devote all time possible to your own well-being. What would Kage be saying to you right now?

    -Brad

    Like

  3. Carol Light says:

    Brad is absolutely correct and so are you — you need to spend the time your body demands in conserving energy for the vitally important things like your health. The secondarily important things, like your collection of Dear Readers and your devotion to Kage and her work are definitely in second place. Of course, if you feel like just saying “hey” now and then, without crafting as you do a full-fledged essay, by all means do so. We’ll probably send comments and well wishes back, as we do now. Continue to take care.

    Carol

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  4. Listen to your body, listen to your friends, listen to Kage. We’ll be right here when you wake.

    Maggie

    Like

  5. pamela duncan says:

    Sleep darling Kathleen, sleep. Take care of you. Hugs.

    Like

  6. Jane says:

    “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care…
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
    Chief nourisher in life’s feast…”

    “To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub…”

    Rest well dear author!

    Like

  7. Widdershins says:

    I’m with Kage. I sleep off headcolds and any other number of ailments.I bet she’s chortling now that you’re finally listening to her!

    Like

  8. PJ says:

    Taking care of yourself is all that really matters. Be well.

    Like

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