What happened when she didn’t sleep for five days?

She exploded and that is putting it mildly.

Middle child has had issues with sleeping for quite a long time now. Her sadness doesn’t help matters or the stress she puts upon herself or the constant stomach pains she has been suffering from for a year. An ultrasound showed she has kidney stones but apparently not enough to cause the pain she suffers so another test has been ordered, a Carbon 14 Breath test.

The medication she was prescribed by the doctor should have knocked her out but for some reason it didn’t even make her tired. Nights went by, but sleep eluded her. Each morning she would come downstairs with bags under her eyes, exhausted, cranky, and tearful. Anytime we said anything to her, she would snap, and snap at us. We tiptoed around her for days but still, we were an annoyance. She was exhausted and there was nothing we could do except hope she would sleep.

Finally earlier in the week, it all came to a head. She lost it on us. She screamed, and screamed, threw plastic cups at her brother (they just happened to be near her). Her brother screamed back, her father screamed back, I yelled for all to stop to no avail. I honestly cannot believe the neighbours did not call the police, the yelling was that mean and loud. I finally walked out, I couldn’t stand it any longer. Barefoot, purse in hand, kleenex box in another, crying I walked down our very busy street oblivious to the cars passing by me. I came to rest at the nearest corner, sat down on a ledge, crying and blowing my nose. The teenage boy came after me, and said the yelling had subsided, she had stopped.

I walked back home, it was quiet when I entered. Middle child had gone to her room and phoned my bff (an Aunt to her). She was calmer now. She told her adopted Aunt how she had lost it, she was terrified she was going nuts because she hadn’t slept in days. DH was in the basement, the teenage boy left for a jog (I think). After her phone call, middle child and I talked. I tried to explain to her, that lack of sleep, the constant pain, makes her full of rage. She took her medication and tried to sleep. I went to bed.

The next morning, she still had not slept but she was calm, crying and apologizing for her behaviour. Finally, two days after her explosion she slept for five hours. She was much happier. We saw our family doctor, who prescribed her medication for her stomach (a major cause of her not sleeping) and told her to increase the other meds.

She is sleeping a tad better now, though she is not 100%, this may take a while but at least she knows her stomach pain is not in her head.

Middle child gave me permission to write this.

My summer job as a nurse’s aid

I was sixteen years old when I was employed as a Nurse’s Aid for the summer. I worked days, afternoons, and night shifts in a nursing home. The residents were mostly elderly psychiatric patients, with only a handful or so that could communicate with staff. Many were in wheelchairs, some were actually restrained in their chairs because they either could not sit up straight themselves or they were violent.

When I worked night shift, I was responsible for waking fifteen residents up at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast at 7 a.m., which I thought was crazy, but I had to change diapers, bathe and dress them, thus the early start time. The poor residents that I had woken up first, would end up sitting in the dining area for over an hour, falling asleep. It was not an easy job at all, but the pay was quite good, so I kept at it. I enjoyed afternoon shifts the best. I would go in early and sit with a couple of the elderly gentlemen in the dining area and chat. They loved telling stories about their life, and I enjoyed listening to them. It was sad though, because you knew very few of the residents actually had visitors. Day shifts were easy to work, because it was just a matter of keeping residents clean, helping them with meals, then putting them to bed.

There was one elderly resident who had Parkinson’s disease, he was still able to talk, and he had an infectious laugh. Due to his Parkinson’s disease though, it was necessary for him to wear a catheter. The catheter consisted of a condom and a bag that was strapped to his leg. The first time I was shown how to put the catheter on him, the nurse joked and said it would be easier if he had an ‘erection’. He laughed, not the least bit embarrassed by the comment, where I was a very deep shade of red. Thankfully, I only had to put the catheter on him a couple of times.

Occasionally, when on afternoon shift, my dad would pick me up from work. There were a few times when I got in the car, and the first thing my father would say to me is “someone died”. I asked him how he knew, he replied “I smelled of death”. It was the oddest thing, I didn’t smell anything at all.

I learned a lot that summer and surprised my parents by sticking with the job. For the next few summers, I continued working in various nursing homes. I never thought of quitting for the simple reason I enjoyed looking after the elderly, and listening to their stories.

What summer job(s) did you have?

How I was affected by Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome

A number of years ago, I was on a return flight home with my sister from a vacation in Ireland, when something happened. The flight itself was pretty nonsequential, until about half-way through I developed what I like to refer to as an “itch”. For some reason, my genitals decided to become aroused and they stayed that way all through the flight. I twisted, and turned in my seat, hoping that it would go away just as suddenly as the itch had appeared, but that wasn’t happening. By the time I arrived home, I was actually in physical pain, and had no idea what the heck was going on with my body.

At home, I soon put my husband to work, but no matter how many times I reached orgasm, the feelings of arousal did not decrease. This persistant state of arousal lasted a full two weeks for me. During that time, my husband tried everything to relieve what was now a painful “itch” and when he was at work, I tried myself, but my private parts refused to co-operate. I had no idea what was going on with me, and I was too embarrassed to tell anyone except my husband, so I Googled.

After searching my symptoms, I was able to find information on Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) (or Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS)). Basically, you are in a constant state of feeling aroused, and even if you are lucky enough to reach orgasm, the symptoms do not always go away. Causes of this disorder are far ranging and was only first written about in 2001 by Dr. Sandra Leiblum. For me, it could have been the long flight, the fact that I was perimenopausal, my medication, or a combination of all three, or we will never know. All I do know, is that for a period of two weeks, I was in agony. Then as quickly as it had appeared, it disappeared. Months went by, and then PGAD came back twice, each time lasting for about three days.

I’m not sure why I decided to leak this very personal information about myself, except that I had read about it again on the news and thought sharing my story could help others that are still suffering from PGAD (PSAS). Following are some links for further information on this disorder:

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome
What doctors should know
Wikipedia – Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder
Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder: An Update of Theory and Practice

Have you been affected by PGAD or have you even heard of PGAD or PSAS?