Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Worn Out, Exhausted, Pooped...

Enlisted men, exhausted after more than 24 hours at general quarters, sleep in tangled patterns aboard the USS Lexington (CV-16). (Source)
So I was discharged from the hospital two months and one day ago today. While I am mostly recovered, I ain't what you'd call back to 100% mission capable. What we in the Air Force would call FMC (Fully Mission Capable) as opposed to being PMC (Partially Mission Capable) or NMC (Not Mission Capable). So I'm what ya might call PMC. I can get up, go to work and be a productive member of society. But I am worn out, exhausted and just plain pooped. The problem, you see, is a lack of sleep. A good night's sleep ain't to be had for love nor money.

Okay, I get it, I'm 62 years old and I'm resigned to having to get up two or three times in an 8-hour period to, ya know, do my bidness. Now before y'all start getting all excited about prostates and all that, be advised that that particular piece of equipment has been examined and been declared functional. Old, but functional if'n you catch my meaning.

Now my surgery back at the end of July involved the doc cutting out a rather sizable chunk of my plumbing. While the exterior incisions, cuts and holes have healed, the insides are still what you might call "sore." We're not talking intense pain, we're not even talking mild pain, what we're talking here is uncomfortable and then only mildly uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point of, I roll over into a particular position during the night and it wakes me up. One of those, "Ouch, that hurt. Sort of." Not enough to warrant medical attention but enough to interrupt my sleep.

So I really am "sleeping like a baby." Waking up every two hours and fussing until I'm comfortable again. Who coined that phrase anyway? I want names damn it, someone has some 'splainin' to do!

I'm getting roughly six hours of sleep a night, while waking up every two hours. I swear, you could set your freaking watch to my nightly bouts of "Ouch, can't stay in that position!" Another bummer is that I can't just stay in bed for twelve hours and log a "solid" eight hours of sleep that way.

For you see The Missus Herself is once again "forward deployed" to the California Area of Operations, (the CAO) for to assist The WSO in her postpartum activities. She's there because Big Time is at sea and well, one five-year old human, one newborn human and one puppy require a lot of care and feeding. Not to mention which that The WSO had to have surgery herself right after delivering herself of the latest addition to the tribe. So she's PMC herself.

With the better half out in the CAO, it is left to me to perform all manner of stuff to which I am not accustomed. Like getting up early on Saturday. I hate getting up early on Saturday. However, the feline units assigned to our outfit expect their breakfast at a certain time each day. During the week it's not a problem, I have to get up and go to work at an ungodly hour anyway, so I feed the cats and they are pleased.

I have tried, in vain, to convince them that sleeping in on Saturday is a good thing, a righteous thing, a wondrous thing, but they are cats, what's more they are female cats. Our old male cats got used to eating later on Saturday than the rest of the week. The ladies? They're not having it. Too much of the early bird catches the worm in those two. (Or perhaps it's the early cat catches the bird. I dunno, philosophical matters ain't my bailiwick.)

"It is zero-six-hundred hours and we see that breakfast has NOT been served. We don't care that it's Saturday. Breakfast, by law, is served at zero-six-hundred hours, without fail." So sayeth the cats. (Cat haters, hold your water and your snide anti-cat comments. I am a cat person and cannot abide a cat hater. Well, I suppose I can but I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you.)

So on Saturday I get up and feed the furry set, then it's back to bed.

Only to be awakened at zero-eight-hundred hours by the alpha cat who likes to sleep in my spot on the bed. This is new behavior and I can't say that I enjoy it. But as I can't get back to sleep anyway, I will generally drag my tired old derrière out of my rack and face the day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.


While I stumble about the abode I note that both felines have gone back to sleep. I could chastise them for that but no doubt they would point out that they, as cats, are nocturnal, and I, as a human, am diurnal. I did try to debate that point with them as I spent many years as a night shift guy in Uncle Sam's Aerial Circus but they would no doubt point to the thousands of years of evolution, blah, blah, blah.

Besides which, they would point out that they were "up all night" in pursuit of their prey.

"What prey?" I ask them.

"Why mice of course!" They would answer.

No doubt I would point out that, "there hasn't been a mouse in this house in five years!" Then they would, no doubt, ask why did I think that was the case. Did I think the mice moved somewhere else? Mais non! Sasha, the alpha cat would remind me of the time I went into the basement to find three, yes three, dead mice all lined up nice and perfect as if for an inspection. Anya (who isn't much of a hunter to tell the truth) would argue that she provided moral support to Sasha. Oh yes, what mice? They would ask.

But I digress.

I'm tired. Monday night was particularly brutal. Perhaps once a month my brain will decide that sleep is much overrated and therefore is not to be had. I will lie abed, gazing wistfully at the clock, as the night deepens, as the hours until dawn are no longer far away but have arrived and I can almost imagine the cockerel's crow in the wee hours. It is at that point that I actually fall asleep only to have the alarm blaring not 20 minutes later.

Tired? Why yes, yes I am. Thank you for asking.

A friend suggested a medicinal solution, I pointed out that after reading When Thunder Rolled in which Ed Rasimus (Thunderchief pilot extraordinaire) once took a sleeping pill given to him by his flight doc put me off from sleeping assistance forever. Raz described being in bed and feeling his extremities go numb, bit by bit, and then wondering what would happen if his hooch suddenly began to burn. Being paralyzed and not being able to escape the flames did not sound like a desirable thing. Yeah, no thanks!

Besides which, I just don't like taking pills.

Sigh. One of these days I will get some sleep, a good night's rest as it were. It is my goal, it is my dream. Ah, but to dream one needs to be asleep. It'll happen, I have faith.

Until then, I wonder what's on the late, late show.

To quote the melancholy Dane: To sleep: perchance to dream...

Not today!


  1. Those people do not look comfortable up there.

    I support pills for sleeping...benedryl?

    1. When you're tired enough you can sleep anywhere. I guess I'm not that tired after all.

      I thought Benadryl was for allergies. But I'm not a doc, might work.

  2. Coming back from an exercise with 3MEF in Okinawa, we'd been up for 72 straight. Got on the 141 headed back to Hickam and as soon as we got the cleared to move about the cargo hold, I walked to the back ramp and laid down with my head on the cargo roller. Next thing I know, the crew chief is kicking my boots telling me I got to strap in for landing at Hickam. One of the best bouts of rack time I think I've had.

    Hope things get better for you and yours shortly Sarge. Hang in there.

    1. Shortest flight I ever had was from Haneda to Honolulu. I was traveling with a few Marines, one of whom was a Gunny. I was a two striper at the time. Gunny decided that we should all hang out at one of the airport bars and that he should buy. We didn't try to talk him out of it. It got very drunk out and as soon as we were airborne I slid into unconsciousness. The flight attendant woke me up for the whole seat backs and trays evolution on approach to Honolulu.

      But I doubt that getting pounded every night would help with the sleep situation. Not to mention the health risks and the sheer cost of that much booze.

      I actually slept very well last night. Been having some "interesting" dreams I need to share. All PG rated mind you.

  3. That was a good post Sarge. Never thought about the phrase "sleeping like a baby" that way. :) I'm a year older than you, with two cats, and they shall be feed NLT 0700. Otherwise they let me know that I am shirking my duties by banging on the closed bedroom door, and provide me with that deep-throated meowing. When I open the door they scatter to the food dishes. Brings a smile to my face it does. Hope those "ouches" go away soon, I had them (leg nerve challenges) about six months ago and when I got to where I could get a good, solid 5 or 6 hours of sleep it was wonderful.

    1. I can't close the bedroom door, if I did I would get that banging on the door and meowing you describe.

      Like I mentioned to Juvat above, I actually slept pretty well last night. More like a teenager than a baby. (Teens tend to sleep very soundly.)

      I was most displeased to awaken an hour early. It would have been nice to sleep up to the alarm but sound sleep of a short duration is most appreciated. Even when it isn't quite long enough.

      I remember the problems you were having a while back, I trust things are better now.

  4. I can remember crashing exactly ...well, almost that during weeklong AWEXs during deployment.
    We lacked the space to sprawl, so the fetal position was utilized and being inside precluded the necessity for the "hard" cover.

    Sebastian, has learned patience when it comes to feeding in the morning.
    He will actually wait until he hears someone stirring before he starts his serenade.
    It doesn't hurt that he is outdoors at night and can scavenge snacks from neighbors because he's "so friendly."
    Right this moment he's found a spot on the floor directly behind my chair and is sleeping soundly ...probably for the balance of the morning, perhaps even longer?

    1. Our male cats learned that on weekends the humans liked to sleep late. The females we have now, nope, get up NOW.

      A male / female thing? I don't know.

  5. I seldom sleep more than 6 hours a night...I do nap a lot. I do not particularly like cats, I do respect them though, they are amazing animals, but I am more of a dog person. Dogs are somewhat predictable, cats are like that box of chocolate. A bunch of years back in my old house we saw the occasional mouse, I seriously considered getting a cat, they do solve that problem. If they don't kill'em their scent keeps them away.

    1. One of my peccadilloes is a chronic inability to nap. Napping gives me headaches, not sure why. Perhaps it's a character flaw...

      I do like dogs as well as cats, dogs are pretty high maintenance though, unless you live on a farm.

      Cats figure out where to go to the bathroom pretty quickly, dogs not so much. Cats are pretty much self-reliant, which is why some people don't like them. Dogs can be very endearing, The Nuke and The Sealawyer have two dogs. They are great.

      A cat will solve a mouse problem, that's for sure.

  6. That first picture looks like home! I've been that tired and have logged a good number of rack ops on a steel deck (the one in the picture is of course wood, and I'm thinking a bit more comfortable than steel).

    I'm of an age to suffer similar sleep interruptions. Just now I've got a massive bruise on my thigh which, when lain upon, feels as if there's a big jagged rock in the quad. Vexing.

    I tried benadryl for sleep once. Hated how it made me feel, not to mention effects that lingered for three days. Lot's of folks use it for sleep but I simply can't.

    You could move back to Colorado where alternative therapies are now abundantly and legally available. Youtube leads me to believe that the substance also works on cats.

    1. Oddly enough, when I found that picture I immediately thought of you and figured that you'd "been there, done that." I also figured that that would be true for all of my Navy readers, at least the enlisted ones.

      Ah, Colorado. I lived there once, back before it became The Weed Capital of the US of A. I always thought that Colorado was perfect in every way save for one very important missing attribute, an ocean. I do mean an ocean and not just salt water. I once thought that we could simply dig up the Great Plains and fill it with salt water but that would no doubt piss a lot of people off. I mean sure, Colorado would then have an ocean but we would lose all those crops. Not to mention my friends at Castle Argghh would then be underwater. I doubt that would improve John's disposition.

      Works on cats does it? Catnip doesn't seem to work on humans. Not that I've tried it mind you...

  7. Toms are much easier to live with than tabbies, there is no doubt bout that.

    1. I knew that going in, but Sasha's attitude (even as a kitten) told me she was a kindred spirit. Her sister Anya is very sweet.

      I never could resist a pretty face...

  8. Uncle Sam's Aerial Circus. That's it! Thanks
    I must be getting really old. Most of the problems have been taken care of. Dog's gone, cats have passed, prostate has been zapped, can't turn around to check six, learning to trust. Now I enjoy a Bacardi 8-year-old, Zolpidem and a warm wife. Heaven on the beach.

    1. As I get older I have learned to adjust in some ways.

      Zolpidem, aka Ambien. I have heard of it.

      Heaven on the beach sounds awesome Dave.

  9. Feel very fortunate that falling asleep has rarely been a problem. When it is, three aspirin washed down with alcohol works best. Dreams, however, are a problem. Last night I was back in the car biz, on a Saturday, deals going down all over the place, and I couldn't find a customer. Woke up tired and stressed.

    1. Whoa, back in the car biz? That would be frightening!

  10. First, as a general rule, anytime I'm a pax in anything that moves--car, train, bus, plane--you name it--I automatically fall asleep right away. Having said that, one December our UK-based squadron was chosen to test out a "bare base" wartime ops tempo theory from an abandoned WW II concrete runway in northern Italy. We lived in 40-man tents in a sea of mud and rain that would suck one's boots off just getting to the mess or ops tent with just slit trenches and piss-tubes for sanitary. (Operating in those conditions gave one a REAL appreciation for what the guys endured during the Italian Campaign in WW II--and no one was shooting at or shelling us, let alone seeing us fording rivers or attacking up mountainsides under those conditions--TOTALLY exhausting.) The way it worked was that half the squadron flew their aircraft down, then returned to the UK via C-130 after two weeks when the other half of replacement crews arrived via the 130 (who would eventually fly the aircraft back after their two weeks were up.) I was part of the first half and when we loaded onto the 130 for the trip back I immediately looked for a spot to doze. Now in the 130 their is a fold-down baggage rack attached to the bulkhead just behind the cockpit just below a heating vent. It was filled with our duffle (ground crew returning) and B-4 bags. I hopped up on it before anyone noticed and immediately fell asleep on top of the baggage exhausted. Those bags were like the softest warm & toasty bedding in heaven to me! Next thing I knew I was being rousted and told to get strapped in as we were on final to the home drome in the UK. OUT LIKE THE PROVERBIAL LIGHT ALL THE WAY! :)

    1. I know of that fold-down baggage rack on the 130.

      I have ever had an overactive imagination which keeps me awake at times.

      It's a curse.

      But it's not living in tents in mud and rain kind of curse. That does not sound fun!

  11. My recommendation is that you change the feline feeding time to a more human hour. Now I know what you're saying but this is 2015 and they have this thing called an electronic timer . . .


    you set them so they go off about an hour after you want to wake up weekends . . . . kitties get re-adjusted - and all is well.

    1. I know of this automagical feeding apparatus. I may need to rethink the routine around the homestead.

  12. Benadryl is totally safe to take to assist in sleeping. In fact, Tylenol iPM is just Tylenol with Benadryl. Get the regular Benadryl and wash it down with a nice hot toddy. Do this on a Friday night and it will helpreset your sleep cycle.

    1. Ooh, you had me at "hot toddy." I may have to try that.

      Seems Lex once told a tale involving Ambien.


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