My head has been swimming most of the day.  I know I’m not physically sick but I have some theories about what’s wrong with me.


I rode my bike hard yesterday for over an hour.  It’s been a long time since ta-pocketa and I have done that.  I have a cool cycling computer from Polar that records stuff like speed, calories burned and heart rate.  As well, it gives me my “recovery status”, showing the amount of stress I put on my body and how many days I should wait until I ride again.  The results?  “Extreme” and “3 days and 3 hours”.  Ouch.  That’s a long time.

Today is Day One of those three and my body feels heavy, like my internal organs have gravitated southward.  No exercise today, thank you.


I’m in the midst of weaning myself off sleeping pills, something I’ve wanted to do for years.  This week and next, I’m taking half a pill every day instead of a full one.  Sleep has been short and interrupted.  This morning, it felt like my brain was on a slow-motion treadmill.  Conversations seemed to have big spaces in them.  This afternoon I tried meditating (Good luck!) and then slipped beneath the covers for an hour.  I was just as vacant upon arising.


I asked a woman to be my girlfriend last night, and she’ll answer when she’s ready to do so.  Take your time, my friend.  Many years ago, Jody told me that sometimes people would get curious about her, and visit her spiritually when everybody was sleeping.  And later I noticed that, after I had done something unusual, my head would often get hot and sleep wouldn’t come.  Well, last night felt pretty unusual and my head’s been hot.  Could it be that I’ve had a few visitors?


So the mind is warm, absent and plodding.  And so what?  More seasons are on their way.


Drugfree Overnight

Another fine concert yesterday evening and another late night, what with the subway ride home to my hotel.  I dabbled on the Internet for thirty minutes or so but then it was time for sleeps.  I thought I did my usual pre-bed routine but I missed one crucial thing: taking my sleeping pills.

I’ve been on Trazodone and Lorazepam for many years.  I didn’t handle the stress of teaching very well.  It was common for me to get no sleep at all on Sunday evenings, so scared was I about the tasks of the week.  So my doctor first prescribed one pill and later she added a second.  They’ve helped a lot.

The stresses after retirement just changed their tune.  I was caring for my dear wife Jody as she declined towards death.  The pills remained.  Now I’m officially a retired human being with greatly diminished worries.

So … last night.  I just forgot.  The few times this has happened before, I’d be awake again within the hour and trudging to the medicine cabinet for relief.  This time I slept for about four-and-a-half hours.  How is this possible?  A cold turkey event and still my brain slowed into slumber.

Here I am post-shower and pre-breakfast.  I feel a bit rough but the shower helped.  Now what do I do?  Wisdom suggests that what I experienced overnight was the worst of it all as I contemplate weaning myself off those little round things.  I could try skipping the Lorazepam tonight to see what Trazodone by itself can accomplish.  Later I could cut those pills in half, and then … nothing.  No pills.  Me.  Bruce Kerr.  Sleeping medications have been part of me for so long.

I want this.  I want to be free.  I don’t want to be dependent on anything or anyone.  I want a loving relationship in my life, but the word I see there is “interdependent”.  Can I let the pills go?  “Yes” is the quiet answer that rises to the surface of my mind.  Most likely with considerable discomfort but really I don’t know if that’s true.

I want to be healthy
I want to live a long time
This is one piece of the puzzle
Here we go


No Sleep

Late one evening at the end of January, Jody was transported by ambulance from the St. Thomas Hospital to Victoria Hospital in London, so that her collapsed lung could be treated better.  We arrived in Emergency and stayed there for some time until her bed was ready in the Thoracics unit.

I stayed with Jody overnight, mind racing, heart throbbing, doing whatever needed to be done.  Mostly just “being with” my lovely wife.  As morning broke, and my head was getting fuzzy, I realized that I had been awake for 24 hours.  And still there was stuff to do, people to meet, Jody to love.

As the clock struck noon, I was really fading.  A nurse would say something to me, and it just wouldn’t register.  People would walk by the room and they started looking like ghosts.  I thought about driving home to Union for some shut-eye.  I remember fingering Hugo’s keys in my pocket, truly in a state of absent mind, until I clued in to that being a ridiculous and dangerous course of action.

I could feel my mind collapsing, and I just had enough brain cells left to phone Rachelle, a friend of ours, and ask if I could get some sleep at her place.  She was happy to help.  We arranged a time for her to pick me up.

I wobbled my way from the nursing unit down to the Emergency waiting room, marginally conscious of people looking at me.  Oh so dully, I wondered if they thought I was drunk.  I spoke to someone to prove I wasn’t, and God only knows what came out of my mouth.

In the waiting room, I tried to focus on the conversation between an elderly woman and her daughter a couple of rows away, but it was a foreign language to me.  And I was nodding, then jerking myself up before my body would have hit the floor.

Finally Rachelle, smiling at me.  Good grief, what was she so happy about?  I told her I was in trouble but that didn’t faze her.  From the passenger seat of her car, I surveyed a strangely unfamiliar London as we headed west on Commissioners Road and then swirled through a bunch of side streets.

I think we sat at her kitchen table a bit, and I think I drank something, but I don’t really know.  Rachelle led me to a guest room in the basement, and I pretty much fell into bed.  Some inside voice said “You can’t sleep in your clothes” so I struggled with buttons and zippers before falling onto the pillow again.  It was 5:00 pm.

Five minutes later, I was still awake.  I sat up, terrified.  “I’m going to die of no sleep!”  That I remember – exactly those words.  “I have to find Rachelle and tell her I’m dying!”  It was so real.  I was dying.  I pressed down on the mattress to get up and tell her … and then collapsed back on the bed. Breathing fast and shallow.  Eyes stunned open.  Hands shaking ……

And then sleep … for many hours.

And today, I remain alive.  Having had a glimpse of oblivion.  Oh my.