Sleep medication


Apollonia was all haggard and red-eyed the other day. “Up late casting evil spells?” I said.



She swatted at me, then slumped into herself and sighed. “I was reading in bed,” she said. “I finished one book. Then I couldn’t sleep.”



“You overexcited yourself,” I said. “Last night I was reading ‘A History of the Monks of Syria.’ I conked out almost immediately. Did you know Saint Euphronius lived in a treetrunk?”



“Anyway,” Apollonia said, disregarding me, “I had another – um – story I wanted to read on my iPad, so I read that. [Editor’s note: no doubt some piece of trashy “Twilight” fan fiction. And, by “read,” she probably meant “write.”] Then I was really awake. Then I started thinking about work. Then I looked at the clock, and it was 2:00 am. So -”



“Three words, babe,” I said. “Am. Bi. En. I take it. Everyone takes it. Take a ride on the big green butterfly, babe.”



Pills,” she said with alarm.



Pills,” I said mockingly. “Better living through chemistry. Enter the new millennium, grandma.”



For decades, like poor Apollonia, I used to lie awake and stare at the ceiling. Every noise kept me awake. Reading in bed helped a little, but not much. If the room was too warm, or too cold, or too stuffy, or too drafty, I couldn’t sleep. For a while in the 1990s I had an apartment with old-fashioned steam radiators that went KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK all night, and believe me, that will keep you awake.



Then I discovered the Big Green Butterfly. (Oh, wait, I just remembered.  That’s Lunesta, not Ambien. But let’s go with the image anyway. It’s so pretty.)



God bless my general practitioner, skinny little Doctor M., who first prescribed Ambien for me.



Some people report “sleep-eating” when they take Ambien: they go into a somnambulistic trance, go to the kitchen, eat everything in sight, go back to bed, and wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes. I have never had this happen. (So far as I know.)



It does blank out your memory, though. Partner tells me that, when I take it, I have entire conversations with him which I forget by morning. (Partner also takes rides on the Green Butterfly, however, so he has been known to say odd things before bedtime himself.)



Bedtime’s drawing near as I write this.



Hear that fluttering? The pretty butterfly is entering our airspace.







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