Saturday, May 21, 2011

To sleep or not to sleep

Damn Parkinson's Disease!!!!! I HATE it, I hate every single thing about it! It is so insidious and tries to reel it's ugly head to put a distance between Gary and me. It's not going to work, but it surely wants to try!

The newest one, though really not so new at all, as it has been going on for years, is MY lack of sleep. Now you may ask, why would Parkinson's, that my husband has, have anything to do with that, my lack of sleep? For those of you who are dealing with Parkinson's issues, this is something many of you know all too well. We all know it, but no one wants to talk about it. So here goes.

REM sleep disorder. It sounds fairly benign, but unfortunately it is not. Here is what Pubmed states:


"Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a parasomnia manifested by vivid, often frightening dreams associated with simple or complex motor behavior during REM sleep. Patients appear to "act out their dreams," in which the exhibited behaviors mirror the content of the dreams."

I have been woken up to many things, mostly his yelling at someone such as "Stop that!!!!! No, don't do that!!" But sometimes he starts fighting his battles, physically, and I have received an occasional blow. He has since learned to turn his back to me while sleeping so his fists would hit air instead of flesh. That has helped significantly. Whew! But the verbal yelling is getting worse,so much that I have been woken up several times a night. My response is to scream at him to stop so I can get to sleep. Bad response for both of us because he is now awake and so am I. He could sleep right through his verbal nightmares, but I could not, so I would wake him to stop and then we would both be awake.

What to do? Temporarily, starting last week, I moved to another room. This I hope is temporary as the goal is for him to have this discussion with his doctor about medications to help with this. There is one medication that is effective 90% of the time. Hopefully he can try it and it won't have side effects from all the many other medications that he is taking.

We have been married almost 34 years and we are both very sad about this. He feels so guilty, but I know it is out of his control. I do not blame him at all for this happening. It is just one of those many issues that those with Parkinson's, and their loved ones, have to face.