In Dreams

Sleep is getting wonky again. Maybe it’s the change of seasons (yay, we’re on Daylight Saving Time again!) or just because my brain likes to shit the bed every now and then. I get enough sleep overall, but I keep waking up several times a night and in between I have some of the strangest dreams…ones that make me feel almost as tired on awakening as if I’d really done the stuff in the dreams.

There is one recurring dream that is at once interesting and disturbing. In the dream, which has several variations on a theme, I’m back working at the hospital on the medical/surgical floor. It’s not unusual for nurses to have nightmares about forgetting a patient or running nonstop for an entire 12-hour shift, but in this one I not only have both situations but I’m dealing with an undercurrent of weirdness among my managers and co-workers. There are whispers and side glances, and I can tell no one really likes or trusts me. I also have one boss who is literally out to get me, and that’s based in reality—when I was working acute care, there was this one assistant department manager who REALLY didn’t like me for some reason, and she was always up my butt for one minor thing or another. She even tried to get me in trouble once for not signing out a narcotic…the only problem was, I wasn’t on duty and I had no narc keys.

So here I am flying around the floor, knowing I’ve neglected a patient all night but unable to get to him for one reason or another. Somehow, this manager always catches it before the end of the shift and I know I’m going to get fired, but the dream ends before it happens. Other times, I’m just running frantically behind and getting more stressed and frazzled by the minute, and this version of the dream is so realistic that I often wake up in a sweat and panting like a dog.

Obviously, I’m trying to work through something in my sleep that’s bothering me on a subconscious level. But what? I haven’t worked in that hospital for over a dozen years, haven’t worked at all in almost four. I know I’ve been a little stressed lately thanks to my disability case being reviewed by Social Security, but this is ridiculous. Sometimes even Will shows up in the dreams as a nursing assistant—isn’t THAT strange! He’s featured in some of my other dreams too, but those are almost always joyful; he invariably looks happy and healthy like he did back when he first retired, and we just do what we always did on a day-to-day basis: love and live and learn together. Oh, how I miss those days!

I think that’s why I’ve been listening to so much ’80s classic rock lately. When I hear those old tunes, it takes me back to when I was a young wife and mom—times that weren’t always great, but have taken on a luster they didn’t have before Will passed away. It’s hard to think of the ’80s as being three decades ago, but three of my kids are in their 30s and another one’s going to turn 30 later this year. Even the youngest is approaching that age at the speed of sound. How did that happen?

But all that sure didn’t matter yesterday when I was flying down the freeway before and after church, playing old Def Leppard and B-52s tunes with the bass cranked up and rocking out in the car. The weather was perfect and it was one of those days when everything seems possible. I could easily imagine Will sitting next to me and the kids in the back seat, captives to “our music”. (And I’m not old—it’s just that their music really DOES suck. Sorry.) Sometimes that was the only entertainment we had; we couldn’t afford to go to the movies, and even cable was too expensive when Will was the only one working. But we could always find enough change to fill the gas tank and cruise town with the radio on and the windows down, while our kids ate soft-serve ice cream cones with a warm summer breeze blowing in their sticky little faces.

Well, I’ve kinda strayed off the subject, but reminiscing about the good old days is a lot more pleasant than having nightmares about an old job I thought I’d long since forgotten. Maybe tonight my subconscious will STFU and let me dream about walking on the beach with my love or something similarly delightful. I hope!






Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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