I’m just not the type of person who gets sick very often. While I can only provide anecdotal evidence on this matter, I firmly believe my good health is due to the fact I religiously adhere to the “doughnut pyramid” philosophy of nutrition. (NOTE TO SELF: eat two more chocolate eclairs before bed to fulfill the recommended daily allowance of vanilla goo). Despite my impeccable eating habits, some sort of evil invaders made their way into my body. And, no, I’m not talking about the Spanish Inquisition. My symptoms included coughing, sneezing, fever, chills, cold sweats, runny nose, headache, abnormally high levels of drool (while awake), irritability, disorientation, high cholesterol, itchy facial hair, consecutive bad hair days, and an unexplained tolerance of “Gilligan’s Island” reruns.
Being a single male, I have exactly two approaches to getting better. The first is to just ignore the situation. Which most of the time is really the best thing to do. After a few days of specifically doing nothing, it became quite obvious my situation was not improving. Which meant I had to switch to my alternate form of treatment– I called my mom.
I explained the situation to my mom and she drove up to Boulder one night to see what kind of medical attention the situation warranted. Even when I am perfectly healthy I don’t always know what day it is, but having a high fever did nothing to help the situation. But I do remember watching professional football, which meant it was a Sunday. Unless it was Monday. Or possibly Thursday or Saturday. I was honestly more concerned with the idea of my head exploding after doing something silly like trying to sit up.
My mom arrived and had me swallow various pills and liquids to improve my condition. Exhausted from this sudden flurry of activity, I could do little more than lay back on the couch and fall asleep. I can only imagine my mom’s concern as she watched me sleep restlessly as my fevered body tried to recover from this illness. And that was BEFORE I started rambling incoherently.
While I’m sure I had my reasons for babbling on in my sleep to my mom that we needed to go to the local grocery store to buy birthday cakes that other people ordered, I seem unable to recall them now. I think that was when my mom started entertaining the idea of taking me to a hospital. Fortunately, witnessing my wildly erratic sleeping habits is nothing new for my mom.
My bad sleeping habits can be traced back to my early teens. One of the most common dreams, besides being stuck sitting between Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh on a crowded bus heading to Istanbul, is to have an uncontrolled falling sensation. The normal reaction is to wake up, realize it was a dream, and then go back to sleep. My routine, on the other hand, contained the additional step of waking up in the morning to realize that I had pulled the curtains near my bed out of the wall.
In addition to my nocturnal redecorating efforts, I have also been known to walk and talk in my sleep. My parents didn’t really know what to do when I was wandering in the hallway at three in the morning explaining how random objects were flying out of my television set. One time I walked into my parents bedroom and sat on the corner of their bed in the middle of the night. I didn’t say or do anything—I just sat there. I don’t think this scenario is covered in any of those “how to raise your teenager” books.
I consider myself to have fairly average verbal debating skills when I am awake and coherent. When I am sleeping, however, I have yet to lose an argument. I suspect this is because A) I use facts that are only available to me, such as “there are dragons coming in the windows” or “time is moving backwards, and I have to fix it” and B) I refuse to accept the claims of other people that I am incoherent and speaking gibberish. Coincidentally, this is the same strategy employed by the Republican party.
Given my history with odd sleeping patterns, my recent experience on my couch was really no cause for alarm. I don’t really know why I sleepwalk, but I can remember everything I say and do when I wake up. Maybe my life would be easier if I actually stopped dreaming before I start moving around and talking, but I have been unable to locate my brain’s instruction manual. Until I find it, I’m stuck like this.