I’m one of those smug people who’s asleep the minute their head hits the pillow.
I slumber straight through to my alarm (stupid, crashing waves on a seashore), which is why I triple-check that The Teenager has his front door key handy at all times.
Not so much recently though; I’ve even surprised him by being upright on the sofa, knocking back hot chocolate and watching Sky News wide-eyed at 1.30 am as he stumbles through the door.
Whether it’s the pesky thyroid or MS, I’m not sure. All I know is that it’s annoying, frustrating and ruining my diet (I munch on toast and pick at leftovers).
Being awake in the dead of night does strange things to my brain. I’m not motivated to add 100 words to my dissertation or go through my bank statements, things that would make me feel saintly in the morning.
Instead, my brain runs riot. Darkness creeps through my thoughts. During the day, I know I’m doing well – working, studying and most importantly, bringing up The Teenager.
However, in the wee small hours, I worry about working (how long can I do this?), studying (how long can I do this?) and The Teenager (how can I help him into adulthood, am I doing enough, am I failing?).
What will happen to me when I can no longer work? With the galling statistic of 80% of people with MS giving up work within 15 years of diagnosis, the future looks bleak and I’m 4.5 years down the line.
On the upside, perhaps I could live on a barge, cultivating pots of geraniums on the deck and gliding through canal-ways? Or move to India and live on a beach, spouting profound and inspiring words of wisdom to gauche back-packers? Or flat-share with a bunch of other mature students, labelling my milk in the fridge and avoiding the gunk in the shower?
On the downside, what happens if my MS progresses?
Without a significant other to look out for me, will I wither away? Be eaten by mice?
I’m trying to be an optimist. I’ve had great treatment. I’m determined to work as long as I possibly can. But in the back of my mind, it’s always there, the thought that one day, this may all change …