I made it up. 😛
Because today I wanted to republish a story that I wrote in 2005 for the Spina Bifida Association of Wisconsin. Although I had written it specifically for that chapter of the Spina Bifida Association, the newsletter that it had been written in had been sent out to all chapters of the association. So in honor of my first national article, I’m rewriting it here for all to enjoy.
Living with Spina Bifida brings with it a natural level of anxiety and questions about specific milestones experienced by most people; specifically dating, marriage and having children. Another milestone that brings anxiety includes living independently from your parents.
Since moving into my own apartment 8 months ago, I have experienced joy in new-found independence. But several weeks ago I was forced to re-evaluate my dreams of getting married and having children after discovering an ominous bruise on my big left toe. After a precautionary visit to my doctor and a series of x-rays, it was determined I had a small fracture between my big and fourth toe. As soon as I heard the verdict of the bruise, I felt a sinking feeling. I had a pretty good idea of what caused the bruise. It was the result of my life-long habit.
I am a compulsive sleep kicker and had obviously kicked my battery operated wheelchair that was beside my bed.
As the youngest of 3 children, my kicking habit banished me to many a hotel floor when my family went on vacation and my parents doled out the sleeping arrangements. I knew my habit was a bit of a nuisance during a college choir tour where I slept in the same bed with another female member of the choir. After one night of sleeping in the same bed, my friend told me she had to remove my leg from on top of her during the night because she couldn’t wake me up (I also suffer from deep sleeper-itis but that’s another issue for another column 😉 ).
Despite prior knowledge of my unconscious kicking habit, sitting in my doctor’s office with a broken toe made me worry and take stock of my dreams for the future. I thought, “If I can physically harm myself in my sleep, imagine how much damage I’d do if someone else was sleeping in the same bed!” So far I’ve come up with several solutions, however unconventional, to keep my future husband safe from my flailing appendages:
1. Trade in my normal sleepwear for one of those puffy, rubber sumo-wrestling suits.
2. Purchase helmet, elbow/knee pads, athletic cup, and umpires vest as wedding gifts for my new husband.
3. Rig legs up with a string attached to a bell. Each time my legs kicked I’d wake up (although this would require my husband to wear heavy-duty earplugs).
4. Keep index cards in my purse explaining the scope of my habit. Give to dates when it appears the man could potentially end up with several broken bones as a result of years of sleeping next to me. Also, make sure the guy has updated tetanus shot.
Maybe this last one is more on the mark. After all, isn’t part of the dream finding a guy who will stay with me despite my shortcomings, and work with me to find a solution that will keep us both from my mysterious bruises on our feet?
PS-Years have passed and I still have this habit, unfortunately. But there was a solution that I didn’t even consider. We ended up getting a king-sized mattress.
Also, I changed very little editorially speaking and yep. You are right-I HAVE improved my writing style in the last 10 years. Although the biggest change I would make is to change bell into foghorn because the man I ended up marrying sleeps so deep you could explode a cannon in his face and he wouldn’t wake up.
Probably. Not that I’ve tried this. 😛 Or thought of doing this ever.