Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 13: I dreamed two dreams about my fears

I have been reading reports of others post-treatment having vibrant dreams. I hadn't noticed anything different since my treatment July 7, but I really hadn't been home since then either. Sleeping in hotels and in friends and family homes is all well and good, but it's not home.

So when I got the chance to finally sleep in my own bed last week I thought I would get a more restful night. Not so. I barely eked out a few hours. Maybe it was the shift back to my inclined bed? Home 3 nghts, then off I went to 3 nights away again, with little more than 4 hours each night. Upon coming home Saturday afternoon, I went straight to bed and started sleeping in earnest about 6:30pm. Up at 1am or so for 4 hours, then back to bed for another 3. Last night was more normal -- bed by 1am, awake by 9am. Maybe I can get a normal sleep routine in place now?

An unexpected thing happened these past 2 nights: very memorable dreaming about the capable-me. Not the actual-me, but one who is a bit more advanced in recovery. The first night, I dreamed I was crossing the street at an intersection with my husband and the light started to turn. Without thinking, I ran the last few steps to make it to the other side.

Now, I am not running by any means, nor am I ready to cross intersections by myself walking. I can't look both ways (I would fall over, or at least that's what I assume because pre-treatment I couldn't do it). I can probably make it the distance OK now in a somewhat straight line, but watching for cars is a big fear of mine.

Last Christmas, my friend Lynn took me clothes shopping. She dropped me as close as she could to the shop -- across a busy downtown intersection. OK, I know Victoria isn't exactly Toronto, but it looked busy to me! I was to walk across with the other pedestrians to the shop while Lynn looked for a parking spot. Simple enough? Well, everyone else pulled ahead and it was just me shuffling across the road alone. The light was blibking don't cross and then turned to a solid colour. I had about 15 feet to go and cars were evrywhere -- turning left behind me, waiting to my right to turn right. I looked directly into the eyes of a man waiting on the corner and mouthed the word "help." He sprang into the intersection and grabbed my arm. A woman approaching the corner on the sidewalk ran into the street and grabbed my other arm. I thanked the man and said "I have MS -- my legs just stopped moving." The woman said "I thought so when I saw you struggling, my aunt has MS too." These 2 samaritans delivered me safely to the corner and into the clothing shop with its welcoming chair.

Now, I think this experience shaped my dream of 2 nights ago, where I happily ran the last few strides to cross a busy street. Getting sideswiped by a car while I'm a pedestrian is one of my biggest fears because I cannot watch them and watch the road/my feet at the same time.

Last night, my dream saw me crossing an intersection again. This time, I was with my husband and son David. They were behind me talking and I walked ahead alone. I crossed without incident and walked along the sidewalk. At some point, Landon started filming me because I was walking so well. I came across a path rising up a small hill. I walked up the steep path without difficulty, unaware that Landon was filming me. At the top, I turned to see where the two of them were and saw the camera. Landon challenged me to walk down the I did.

Six months ago, I was going to a business meeting at a new destination. I got there very early to make sure I could find the best parking and get to where I needed to be. I was delighted to park about 25 feet from the front door of the ground level business. I could see inside to the boardroom door where my meeting would take place. Only 25 feet -- what could possibly go wrong? Well, the ground from the parking lot to the front door of the business sloped downwards. Not a lot -- enough to make a glass of water run downhill, but probably not an egg if you cracked it on the sidewalk. A very gentle slope, then, with nothing to hang on to either side. I was paralyzed. I stood at the top of that slope and weighed my options. I could walk ~200 feet to where to parking lot and building were level and then walk back along the building to the front door, but the 400 foot round trip was way too much for my legs to handle. Or I could ask this kind passer-by. "Excuse me -- may I have your help for a moment?" I explained to the fellow and his wife that myMS prevented me from walking the short slope towards the building safely and I needed his arm to make the trip. "Not a problem!" he replied and down we went. Once inside, I rested my legs and drank oodles of ice water so I could make it back to my van on my own.

This dream was probably prompted by my actual-me experience of yesterday, where I walked up quite a sloped lawn about 20 feet, spoke to someone for 10 minutes, then turned to walk back down the slope. I paused -- could I do it? Should I rest first by sitting on the lawn before attempting the walk? I decided to start walking down a sloped driveway adjacent to the lawn and quickly felt confident enough to walk the rest of the way on the sloped lawn and well beyond another 30 or so feet to the house. Obviously, my body is feeling I am overcoming my fear of walking down slopes and is dreaming of even more capable days ahead.

And so am I.

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