Sleep Debts

Kage Baker told me, from our teenaged years on, Sleep when you can. It was wise advice – she was all too familiar with how little I did sleep, and therefore was always after me to amend my insomniac ways and learn to nap. She always believed things like that had at least a small component of will power; when I stayed awake for entire weekends, it was because I just wasn’t trying.

Well, but I was trying. To stay awake all weekend … succeeded, too.

When I pointed out that normal people took aspirin when they had head aches, she insisted her own anti-pill stand was a different matter altogether. “Popping pills at every turn isn’t good for you,” she would say primly. “And neither is staying awake until you’re hallucinating giant parakeets and pineapples by the side of the road.”

“It was only the once,” I mumbled. “I should never have told you.”

“Well, you did, and I remember. So try to get some sleep!”

This was a constant dialogue. In my own defense, I would like to point out that insomnia is not entirely controllable, and that for many years I was one of those people who got by beautifully on 4 hours sleep out of 24. And that Kage never, ever, approved.

She herself maintained her anti-meds stance right up to her last day. I think I only got away with dosing her during her illness because she got so tired. Or maybe she was indulging me. “Bloody Borgia,” she would say when I brought her yet another medicine. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

“It’s good for you. Shall I crush it up in liverwurst?”

“Oh, screw you!”

For myself – I spent most of the year awake, I think. Got kind of hard to tell towards the end.

But since then, the narcolepesies have crept up and taken an enormous bite out of my ass. I have a permanent grinning specter latched on to me, seducing me into endless slumbers. I have made up for a life’s worth of sleep debt in one year.

Kage would be immensely amused.

Anyway – I have spent most of today asleep. On the other hand, my body is clearly using the time for accelerated healing; about which I can’t really complain. I have almost no pain – I’ve had cramps worse than the discomfort I have now. I’m no longer worried about my jugular bursting through the side of my neck; the port  has sealed completely. And I clearly have a new scar now, instead of a raw incision.

True, I’ve been mostly asleep for the last 3 days – but that’s all right. I’m clearer every time I wake up. The excitement of coming home kept me going for a few days, but now – now I am really healing. I can do this.

And I can imagine Kage rolling her eyes and muttering, I told you so! She was never one to pass that up.

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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One Response to Sleep Debts

  1. Cyril P says:

    My sleep budget has not been balanced for a long time. Notation agencies have rated my sleep credit as YAWN.
    Joke aside, I hope the sleep is good. My grandfather could not sleep (at all) without medication after the 2nd World War. Sometimes, there just is not much of a choice. You take the pill, or you stay awake and lose your mind.

    Like

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