I Sing the Body Electric, Whining

Back to Sleep

I’m still fretting over my sore and tingly back and my numb and now sometimes painful hands. I’m told that overly tight muscles can pinch a nerve and cause the sort of trouble I’m having.

I feel very middle-aged.

Oddly, I’m sleeping pretty well, I just wake up feeling weird and numb.

Last night I tried to sleep without a pillow. I’m one of those people who builds a mountain of pillows and squooshes them around until the right set of qualities has been achieved: height, softness, receptivity, firmness, yes, I realize some of those are in conflict with others.

Pure Luck finds my affinity for multiple pillows rather hilarious.

But remember when babies were allowed to have pillows and sleep on their tummies? I must have been one of those babies. My children seem to sleep flat on their backs, because, guess what? I put them down on their backs. (That whole "Back to Sleep" thing came in when #1 Son was a baby. I remember re-training myself, since my impulse was to put him on his tummy. Probably what my mother told me to do. Probably what she did with me.)

I discovered that I feel like I can’t breathe when I’m flat on my back. I also think you have to relax completely to sleep in such an open and vulnerable position. Even so, I’ll be trying again tonight, to see if that might help.

Meanwhile, numb and painful hands are not lifting weights. This past week has been a disaster where physical activity is concerned, between the attempts to walk on icy surfaces and the eschewing of the gym. I am trying to remind myself that spring will come, and I will walk outdoors in temperatures that don’t hurt my bad ear, and that no person can do everything, every day.


Here’s a little Rumi for what ails me:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

I really don’t want to go back to sleep, to slip into a lethargic food-induced coma. I want to be awake. But apparently that conscious wakefulness involves dealing with the disappointment that comes with a middle-aged body or a temporary (hopefully) strain or injury, finding a way to walk through it even when you can’t walk out of it or walk it out.

I hope walking through it can still contain a little whining.

Once again your Queen for A Day,


14 thoughts on “Back to Sleep”

  1. If the numb and tinglies do not go away after a couple weeks, go visit the Orthopedic doc.
    At first, mine was just tight muscles. But now it’s a herniated disc and spondylosis.
    Age, she is a slippery slope, yes?

  2. Just take care of yourself. Sounds like to me you are really missing Pure Luck. I know you are hurting in more ways than one.

  3. Backs are tricky. Every time you try to adjust, they get you somewhere else. Take it easy.
    It hurts my back to be flat on my back…
    Confession: My son slept mostly on his stomach when he was a baby.
    And (your post is full of little juicy tidbits) my paternal grandmother had a real love/hate thing for Queen for A Day. She snarled at the crybaby women, but almost never missed the show.

  4. So go get yourself checked out before the BE. You don’t want to have bad tinglies on the trip. I have seen both and MD and a chiropractor for “alignment” and stretching. I hope you feel better SOON!

  5. i so understand the pillows! before kids, i snuggled belly-down with two in a V-shape at my head. ever since i was first pregnant, i usually sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs — that helps with the back pain. and then, i added a little neck-roll, which helps with the shoulder/neck/head stuff. and i like some lift of the upper parts now, for the breathing. heat, when things are painful, too.
    what you posted isn’t even much of a whine. xoxo

  6. I hope the tinglies go away soon, but I just wanted to say that I adore multiple pillows. I also like sleeping on top of a fluffy comforter under a blanket, in the summer. Oh, the squishiness, it feels so good.

  7. One word… chiropractic. Just try it and see if it might help. My appointment is on Wednesday. I think we’re all in need of a good adjustment. :c)

  8. I also have the numb hands upon waking. I canNOT sleep on my back (though I used to be able to as a teen)…to me, there is no comfort in flat on the back, even with one good pillow. Gotta curl up.
    Glad you are continuing with treatment. We’ll be looking into those extry cost massages on the BE boat, no?
    thanks for the poem!

  9. oh…massages on the boat?! How did I miss that possibility..
    I’m limping around tres pathetically, with sad back and no time to see chiropractor till next Tuesday (yes, I know, next Tuesday is Holy Week, but incredibly there is more time then than now! aaargh) so empathise, sympathise and probably osteopathise too. Feel better soon…and do ask for medical advice if in any doubt at all. Please. xxx

  10. mmm i hear ya loud and clear sister… and i’m a flat on my back sleeper. means i snore like a diesel but golly we all have faults…

  11. I wouldn’t think sleeping without a pillow would be very good for your neck and for your spine. Your neck, because a good pillow provides support and your spine because, without a pillow, the upper vertebre would be out of alignment.

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