If I Can Make It Til Four O’clock
About four years ago, I went to Indiana for a week to spend some time with Mother and my oldest son, Kendall. I hadn’t been home in a while and I was excited. I’d not been feeling all that great, but when you have Multiple Sclerosis, you never feel all that great so it’s always a twisted guessing game to see if it’s ‘normal’ not good or ‘something stupid is happening’ not good.
Unfortunately, it was the latter and two days after I got there, I found myself in the hospital for four days.
When I was discharged, I went back to Mother’s house so I could just completely rest. It’s hard for me to do that at Kendall’s. Not for his lack of trying but I just want to see him so I stay up to late and get up too early, I don’t nap and every time he asked if I’m ok, I say, “I’m fine!!”.
So Mom made up my room for me. It was my Grandparent’s house, my Grandma’s old room. The house is old. The doors creak and the all of the ceilings are slanted upstairs. My Grandma had all the walls wallpapered and all of the ceilings are too. Sometimes in the same paper, sometimes something complimentary.
I was staying in her old room, the one that has become my room, in what is now my Mother’s house. It has white wallpaper with tiny blue flowers scattered all over it. There are two closets, his and hers, both shallow and long. It’s funny, when I was a child I was so afraid of the closets in my Grandma’s house. They were all so dark and seemed to go back in forever. The one window in the room is tall, and in the summer it blows the voile curtains across the end of the bed. The wide, wooden trim that encloses the doors and windows, ceiling and floors, is the same blue that colors the flowers in the wallpaper. Hardwood floors, that hide their age well, are spread out beneath a plush rug added for warmth.
I’ve been sleeping in this room my whole life. I came here the day I came home from my birth and I’m still going.
I know you have to yank on the closet doors upstairs to get them open. The bathroom door won’t shut all the way. If you forget to turn the light on or off, it’s ok, there’s one at each end of the staircase. I know the first few steps, from the top of the stairs, talk when you step on them, announcing your arrival.
I love this house. It’s the one constant home in my life. I’ve been there since the day I came home from the hospital.
So of course, feeling crappy and missing my dogs, this was the most comfortable, comforting place for me.
I don’t remember how late we stayed up that night. We inevitably stay up past our intentioned bedtime. Mother always has things to show me she’s forgotten about and I always have 40-11 things to tell her. I always forget them until right before bed, just as I did when I was a child. I don’t remember how late I fell asleep and I can’t tell you what time it was when I woke up. I can tell you that I was the most scared I’d ever been.
I woke up scared. Terrified. I didn’t wake up, then become afraid. I woke up completely wigged out. I was absolutely sure there was someone in the house. The very second I was aware I was awake, I knew someone was there, right below the stairs that would give them away. I laid there, trying to control and quiet my breathing, not moving any part of my body for what seemed like so long. The longer I laid there, the more scared I became.
Mother was in the room right beside me. I could walk through my door and touch hers.
She has an alarm system that I knew she set because I reminded her then watched her poke around on the keypad, right outside my bedroom door and I heard the little beep that tells you the alarm is engaged.
I’d heard no creaky steps warming me of an intruder.
None of this mattered. I was scared out of my mind.
I was afraid to yell for Mother, I didn’t want whoever was in the house to know I was there and awake. I didn’t move!
After perhaps an hour, (no, I’m not exaggerating), I wiggled down in the bed enough that I could get the sheet, blanket, quilt and throw blanket over my head. I had my phone and finally dared to turn it on. Only because I felt like the person in the house couldn’t see my phone light through all of the covers. I put the phone on silent and quickly began texting people…. in Arkansas.
I was afraid to text Mother, her phone would sound and give me away.
So I sent texts to Ken, Kade, Kennedy, Kyler and Belle.
Kade answered immediately.
“What’s up? What’s wrong?”
I typed out as quickly as I could that I’d woken up and I thought someone was in the house. He called as soon as the text sent, it seemed. I rejected the call and furiously typed that he couldn’t call me, they might hear!
He began asking questions. Why did I? The alarm? What did I hear? How long? Did this wake me?
My explanation was short. I woke up and knew someone was in the house.
As usual, when my brain causes me to have a short break with reality, Kade talked me down. I asked him to stay on the phone with me until 4:00 am, because in my unreasonable reasoning, if I could stay safe until 4:00, I’d be ok.
Mother got up a bit before 4:00 and when she did I called out to her. I was fine after that and I told Kade he could go back to sleep. It was as if someone had suddenly flipped a switch on and just as suddenly flipped it back off.
I do not live as a frightened person. I never have. Any place I’ve ever been. I’ve never been scared of staying alone or being out in the country or city, traveling somewhere alone late at night. I’m not scared of people. I’m not even scared of spiders. That’s just not my personality.
After a talk with my doctor, we came to realize this was actually from the MS. I have lesions that affect mood and emotions. (This makes my family SO HAPPY!🙄🙄😳😳)
I have irrational emotions once in a while. It’s always been fear and it’s always happened when I wake up from a sound sleep.
This has happened three other times. Spread out over several years. It’s always as intense as the first time and I’ve always texted Kade and Ken. Ken has been at work each time and always offered to come right home. Instead I would talk to Kade. It didn’t ever matter what time in the wee hours of the mourning, he always answered and talked me through it. Until 4:00 when I knew I’d be safe.
I have no idea about the safety of that time. Nothing about any of this has a good explanation.
Last weekend was Kade’s birthday and we were able to go away for the weekend and get away from home. It helped a great deal. Mother and Kennedy came from Indiana and Belle, Ethan and Ken ￼were able to come too. It was calming and cathartic. We came home Monday and Mother and Kennedy stayed until Thursday. I’ve been exhausted. I push myself too hard sometimes. But my mindset is, one day I won’t be able to push at all.
Thursday night I woke up at midnight and I was so anxious. Like, I’m anxious a lot. But I’ve only been this anxious one time in my life, the night Ken woke me up to tell me we had to go right now, there had been an accident.
My mind was more calm than my body was. My shoulders and neck were hot and my arms were hurting. My chest was heavy and my heart was racing so fast. ￼My stomach was sick and I was taking deep breaths trying not to throw up. I prayed and talked to God and myself. At 12:30, I took medicine that normally calms me right down and puts me to sleep. Thirty minutes later I was just as wound up.
I finally decided to go wake Ken up. He was so asleep, he answered me but I knew he wasn’t lucid. He had to get up and go to work in a few hours and I didn’t want to mess his night up. I knew if I called Mother or Kennedy it would scare them snd they both had to work that morning. Belle would have her phone off and Kyler would wake up the kids if he answered. Kendall would wake up Whitney.
And I couldn’t call Kade.
Everyone else would have taken care of me and helped me along. They will most likely be aggravated if they read this. I’m embarrassed writing it a bit.
Kade is who I call when irrational Tracey happens. He was the one that answered the first time, from then on, that’s who I called. There is a safety in patterns you form. Although I wasn’t scared this time, I knew my anxiety was irrational and that my body was attacking itself. This was the first time it happened and Kade wasn’t here.
This was so much worse than his birthday. This brought all the agony on that I thought I’d handled so well his birthday weekend.
All the horrible anxiety I woke up with was multiplied immeasurably because Kade wasn’t there.
I have no words to describe the next hours. The anxiety, the grief, the anger, the sorrow. The fear of it all.
And even though I felt so alone in those hours, I buried my head in my pillow and called out in anguish to my Father. Begging, pleading, bargaining. Then thanking Him for his strength and grace in all of it.
Then it was 4:00 am and I fell asleep.
Don’t think for a minute I get through each day by myself. My ‘strength’ isn’t mine at all. I also know you can’t bargain with God, but when you’re in the depths of this kind of despair, you’ll resort to all kinds of things. ￼
I talked to my girls about this a lot yesterday. They made me pinky promise and lock-it to call them the minute anything like this happens, if it ever does, again.
I am not alone. Physically or supernaturally. Thank God. Thank God. Thank God.
I don’t know why my mind does this. Neither do the three doctors I’ve tried to get answers from. I mean, why can’t I wake joyful and excited! Happy just right out of my freakin mind.
I don’t know. There are mysteries in life.
What I do know is, I miss my son. I miss his orneriness and his helpfulness when I think I’m crazy. I even miss him when he was an a-hole. I’m so thankful I have the memories and moments I have with him.
I’m trying not to dread the next time I am awakened by delusions. That might not be the right word. I’m rational enough to know I’m behaving irrationally. But it makes no difference. This is the first time it was anxiety instead of fear. They are equally horrid.
We are formulating a plan so that I can better handle it, if it happens. I’m voting for the way they did it in the old movies, a handkerchief and chloroform. Apparently that’s against the law though.
If you don’t know a lot about Multiole Sclerosis or other autoimmune diseases, learn. And give to the societies that garner money to do much needed research. The things these diseases do to our bodies would make a saint swear. After that, scoot on over to suicide awareness and immerse yourself in that. You’ll learn a great deal about empathy and you may figure out something to say or do that will help a survivor of unimaginable circumstances.
Please continue to pray for our family. Your intercession is essential. Pray for my MS to leave my sleeping mind at rest.
I’m on my knees a lot, if you need someone to fervently pray for you, just let me know.