People with chronic long-term health conditions like cystic fibrosis (CF)* will tell you that they never get a day off. Well truth be told, if they are committed to defying their medical odds, they probably won’t get the night off either, especially in their dreams…
Apparently, the whole brain is active during dreams, from the brain stem to the cortex. Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Everyone dreams during sleep, but not everyone recalls the mental escapade the next day, and scientists aren’t sure why some people remember more than others.
I very rarely remember my dreams, so when I do, it’s a big deal.
In a recent dream, I was at a social event (that may not surprise many people that I was socialising in my sleep!) and this event extended from the day into the evening. (Again, this won’t come as a shock that I ‘pushed on’ into the evening).
During this dream, I seemed to be desperate to find a way to temporarily leave my friends to go to either my home or a hotel room so that I could do my medical treatment. This would include using equipment like my nebuliser and doing my physiotherapy to help clear my lungs of mucous, which clog up CF lungs.
I would also have been looking to check my blood sugar levels because my diabetes has robbed me of spontaneity and I would have wanted to know my levels, especially as I was drinking alcohol at this party.
For every twist and turn of this social event, I could feel the deep tension in me that I couldn’t just enjoy the festivities like all those around me at the party. To enjoy the duration of fun, I had to build into my early evening the opportunity to do my medication. After all, doing my treatments enables me to live my life.
As well as this, I was coughing throughout the dream, as I do throughout every day when I’m awake.
In the end, I never made it to a venue to do my much-required medication because my dream was brutally terminated by me having an actual real coughing fit that shook me out of my sleepy stupor.
On awakening, I lay there both amazed and surprised that the memory of the dream had been so vivid. But my overriding emotion was this…
When you suffer and endure a condition like CF, you are never off the clock. Even when asleep and dreaming, I am that ‘ill person’ and I don’t get time off from CF and diabetes. I cannot even be healthy and not cough in my dreams!
So ingrained in my subconscious is my daily regime and regular medical interventions that I know I have to be compliant whether I’m awake or not!
I woke up with a rye smile that I’m never off the CF grid and bemused that even in my dreams, I cannot be healthy, spontaneous and care-free (and drink all day uninhibited).
This is not a pity-party nor is it a sob-story. This is just my reality.
I didn’t feel upset nor did I feel any joy. I was just numb to my health situation that’s been ever-present in my life for over 48 years (I turned 48 on 17 March – yay!) and counting…
I’d say that the majority of my healthy peers do (understandably) get peeved and frustrated when they have a short bout of illness, like a cold or flu. Just imagine how they would feel if they were always sick, even in dreams?
I will keep you posted on my life-affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign-up (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.
Yours cup half full.
* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations. For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website.