Delaware Grammy has always enjoyed the hours when she could sleep, undisturbed and quiet in her comfy bed. Even though she is not one to claim (or even need) quantity of hours, the quality is mandatory so as to see her through the days that wrap themselves around the old farmhouse at Shady Acres. It has been a great blessing that Delaware Grandpa, though troubled by Restless Leg Syndrome and a family gene that causes insomnia, makes it his business to sneak stealthily from the room when he cannot sleep so as not to disturb his wife with his wanderings about in the still, quiet nights.
In recent weeks, things have gone awry in such a way as to make Delaware Grammy think there must be a conspiracy going on amongst the gremlins that disturb sleep. And they are using almost every method available and opportunity afforded them.
The changeable weather caused one restless night. Delaware Grandpa and Delaware Grammy sleep in a bedroom that tends to be on the cool side, and several weeks ago, when the weather turned cool, Grammy brought forth the electric blanket, threaded the controls under the bed to the respective sides and plugged everything in. That very night, things warmed up and so it wasn’t needed for some time. However, when the nights became cooler again, Grammy began to ask Grandpa if he was going to turn on his side of the blanket. He always said that he didn’t need it “yet” but didn’t care if Grammy turned hers on. So there were some nights when Grammy would turn hers on for a brief period, but most of the time it wasn’t necessary at all. And then one night she came to bed feeling very tired and quite warm from a long day cooking and getting ready for company. It was a cool night, but she kicked the covers off her feet, and didn’t think she needed the electric blanket at all, so she didn’t even look at the control. She was restless all night, just feeling so warm, and finally kicking back the electric blanket and sleeping with just the sheet. But then she was too cold, so she pulled it back up again. Whew! Then she was too warm. Along about 4am, Grandpa took himself downstairs to his La-Z-boy and Grammy happened to fluff her pillow up over the side of his and take over part of his side of their bed.
H-m-m-m-m-m-m. His side was cool. Considerably cooler than hers. Wait a minute! She was suddenly very much awake. She turned back over to her side of the bed, and grabbed the electric blanket control that was languishing on its side on her bedside table.
Oh, dear! No wonder she was warm. In the darkness, a bright green 10 shone out merrily. TEN! Oh, for crying out loud! No wonder she was warm! But how in the world??? She hadn’t touched that control for a number of days. However, it didn’t take too much sleuthing to realize what had happened. Last year, if Grandpa went up to bed early, and thought it was cold, he would turn on her side of the blanket so that it would be warm for her when she climbed in. He never bothered to change the settings, but would just turn it on. On this particular night, he was feeling chilly. And even though he didn’t feel the need to start his side of the blanket, he was looking out for the comfort of his wife. Somehow the setting was at TEN on this particular night, and so all night long Grammy roasted away while she tossed and turned and barely slumbered.
Around the same time, there seemed to be an upper respiratory bug going around the household of Delaware Grandpa and Delaware Grammy. Grandpa was coughing and snorting around and Grammy was trying really hard not to catch it. All she needed was a stopped up nose and a cough to complicate her life. And so one night, getting awake in the middle of night, she found her mouth exceedingly dry and her throat feeling scratchy. She padded over to the bathroom and got a drink and then climbed back into bed. Lying there, thinking about the probability that she might be getting sick, she decided to spray her throat with some Chloraseptic spray that is always on her bedside stand. She felt around in the dark and found the spray bottle. Undoing the plastic top, she aimed it for the back of her throat where her tonsils once were and gave a hefty push on the spray top.
Ugh! Oh, awful! There was a horrible burning sensation, a terrible taste in her mouth and the smell of liniment. Yepper! You guessed it! She had gotten her “pain spray” alright, but it was the one for aching muscles and creaky joints, not the Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray that she was expecting. It wasn’t just Grandpa who was coughing and snorting that night. But her mouth certainly wasn’t dry for the rest of the night. Ah, yes. There was lots of watering going on. But she hadn’t gotten terribly much, and she didn’t seem any the worse for it, so she waited for the light of day and then made sure that she had what she wanted and that it was where she wanted it for the next time it was needed.
And then there was the week between Christmas and New Years. Delaware Grandpa and Grammy’s family came home for a few days, and Grammy had come upon the bright idea of giving Eldest Son and his family their side of the upstairs for the few nights they and their four children would be home. The two bedrooms and the bathroom was a good fit, and Grandpa and Grammy could easily sleep on their recliners those nights and all would be well.
All would have been well except for a stomach virus that laid the family low during their stay, and there was much vomiting and bed changing and such going on. On Wednesday, Eldest Son took his family back to Sugar Creek, and Delaware Grammy reclaimed her bed for a few hours until the same stomach virus laid its savage hand upon her, and she was back in her recliner for thirty hours or so. Quickly recovered, she had pleasant sleep for all of Thursday and Friday nights, and quietly prayed that God would spare the rest of her family. Especially Nettie and Cecilia.
It was not to be. Saturday morning she came down to a very miserable Cecilia She had projectile vomited over her bedroom floor, clear to Nettie’s’s bed, and then vomited profusely while in the bathroom. All day long, there were ministrations of gingerale and peach juice and Phenergan. By evening, she wasn’t vomiting, and she seemed to be better, but Grammy decided that it would be best for her to sleep in a recliner, where she could be helped quickly if she needed assistance. (She also was remembering the three hours she had spent cleaning the bathroom, spraying Lysol over all the surfaces, and scrubbing the rug between the beds in the bedroom. Linoleum floor and a Schwan’s ice cream bucket seemed a far better choice than a bed with clean sheets and a still wet carpeted floor.) So, with Cecilia in her chair, and late night things to finish up, Grammy finally got settled very late, indeed, into her own recliner and drifted off to sleep.
It was a restless sleep, however, and scarcely was she asleep an hour when she was suddenly awake. She heard voices. People were talking somewhere, faintly. Then she heard the driveway monitor. This did not produce confidence. As quietly as she could, she put the foot rest down on her recliner. Stealthily she sneaked out to the kitchen and looked out the window. Yikes! The motion sensor light had been activated on the back deck towards the chicken house lane. She stood stock still in the middle of her kitchen, straining her ears to hear, but the voices had fallen silent. Had they detected movement through the kitchen window? She stood contemplating what she should do.
Then it didn’t matter any more. It was time to move to safety of her own bed and to the protection that the presence of Delaware Grandpa always affords. She thought about the fact that it had been about eight hours since Cecilia had vomited, and decided to take her to the bathroom and put her into her own bed. With clandestine movements, intended to keep her out of the direct view of any windows and hushed, whispered instructions to Cecilia, she got her from her chair, into the bathroom, and tucked into her bed. She quietly sang her a bedtime prayer, and crept out of the room. As she stepped out of the room, she heard voices again, and this time, she could make out words. It felt like a cold hand had grabbed her stomach —
. . . until she realized that it was coming from the computer room.. Her computer had not been shut down for the night and was picking up window after window of commercial drivel and playing it loudly to a dark, empty room. She opened the door, shut the eight or so offending windows, and then shut the computer down. And then she gathered her nightie tight against her and climbed the steps to the comfy bed where Delaware Grandpa lay snoring softly. Slipping in beside him she gave a contented sigh and was almost instantly asleep. There was a space of a mere two hours until she needed to be up again, but the quality of those two hours was unblemished by any interruption or disturbance. Just pure blissful sleep.
She never did find out what set off the driveway monitor, (probably a cat on an nocturnal stroll) or activated the sensor light (probably a breeze in the branches that have grown into the line of perception). But whatever it is that disturbs the slumber of Delaware Grammy, the truth is that she will always sleep better when Grandpa is there to defend and protect. And so she continues to pursue quality hours of sleep that will refresh. And if she can remember to check her blanket controls and keep watch over the contents of her bedside table, it stands to reason that peaceful slumber will be the norm and not the exception.
For this, her heart truly does give most grateful praise!