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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: No Sleep for the Dreamer
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
01/24/13


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Stumbling up the steps to my doctor’s office, I catch a reflection of myself in the door. My stomach lurches as I notice the face staring back at me. Leaning in, I touch the dark circles under my eyes.

After ascertaining that I am alive by taking my vital signs, the nurse chirps in this annoying high-pitched voice, “What brings you here today?”

I bite my lip to prevent my sarcastic tongue from responding, “My car.” Instead I say, “I feel yucky.” I ignore her attempts to get me to clarify what yucky means. Giving up, she shoves my chart into the slot and slams the door.

After what feels like forever, my doctor strides in. “So you feel yucky?” I nod my head.

As he pokes and prods me, he grills me with questions. Then he presents me with a book. “It’s a sleep journal.”

Once again, I bite my tongue. Maybe he thinks I can’t read the bold letters across the cover.

“You need to jot down when you fall asleep, your dreams, anything you think is important. Hopefully, between the journal and an extensive sleep study we can figure out why you feel miserable.” He rushes out, leaving me feeling unheard.

One week later, I go to the sleep clinic where they glue electrodes to my head, making me look like Medusa. Then they shove something up my nose, and put belts around my waist, and stick electrodes on my chest and legs. Do they seriously expect me to sleep?

Later, as I skim over my journal, it becomes clear to me the reason behind my fatigue.

Day One: I drifted off around 10 PM. I woke up at 1 AM and found a bowl of cereal and milk in my bed.

Man, was that milk cold as it spilled across my chest. At least I know the refrigerator works.

Day Two: I had a nightmare.

I shudder as I remember my daughter yelling, “Mom, is someone really trying to kill you or are you dreaming again?” When I told her I had been dreaming, she said, “Good, shut up and go back to sleep.” Kids, gotta love 'em.

Day Three: I dreamed that my kids were drowning. I woke up in the middle of the swimming pool.

The pool episode freaked out my husband. He insisted on sleeping in the living room where he could see both doors.

Day Four: I woke up on the floor as my husband yanked the car keys from me.

He said I was trying to go to the store to buy rabbit food. We don’t even own a rabbit.

Day Five: My husband heard me snoring and then gasping for breath. He jostled my shoulder to wake me and I punched him in the face.

He had a black eye and wouldn't go to work. He didn't seem too sympathetic about my swollen hand.

Day Six: Lizzie had the flu and crawled in bed with me. I did finally fall asleep, but woke up to check on her. I didn't fall back asleep.

Man, I better not tell the doctor what happened next or he'll really think I'm crazy. I saw her spirit leaving her body so I pushed it back in. Personally, I think I saved her life, but she wasn't convinced.

Day 7: Actually I slept really well last night. I think I was asleep by 11:30 and don’t remember waking at all.

That is until I checked my text messages. I guess I was texting in my sleep. It’s a lot of gobbledygook, and then I told Amy that I miss my uterus. Good grief, I must have been sleeping, that’s one thing I definitely don’t miss. She and her family had a good giggle. I'm glad I could be entertaining.

At my doctor's appointment, I hand my journal over. It certainly appears like he is covering his mouth to stifle a giggle. Then he looks at me, as he raises his eyebrows. “Well, the sleep study shows you suffer from severe sleep apnea. That means you stop breathing and your oxygen levels drop dangerously low. We’ll get you hooked up with a machine that will force air into your lungs if you stop breathing while you’re sleeping. This should make a huge difference in your health.”

As I leave the office, I notice a burden lifting off my chest. There is something medically wrong with me; I’m not crazy after all—well, not too crazy.

Author's note: Based on a true story


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This article has been read 542 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Alicia Renkema01/24/13
I loved the idea of your sleep journal to carry the main points of your story, quite clever and so much fun to read; all of your antics as you are sleep walking through your dreams (haha) ! You have a wonderful use of vocabulary throughout and the first two sentences helped me to visualize the scene perfectly!
Seema Bagai 01/24/13
How scary. Vivid details that the reader can picture. A couple of rough spots near the end that are easily fixed. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Loren T. Lowery01/25/13
First, glad to hear everything worked out. I liked the tongue-in-cheek humor, but most of all, what I think the story tells is about the tenacity and belief that by following and respecting the Dr.'s orders/prescription a cure can be found. Perseverance in faith is a good thing.
lynn gipson 01/25/13
I can relate to the weird dreams and waking in the middle night. I don't know about the other stuff but the cat did come in one night to check on me in the middle of a nightmare. I am so glad you found out what was going on and hope you sleep like a baby now. Maybe I should go get that apnea thing checked out though, I do have some strange, strange happenings in my dreams.

I loved this. You have a great way with a story. Excellent writing.
CD Swanson 01/25/13
Fascinating journal here in this well written piece. Great job with this.

God bless you~
Allison Egley 01/25/13
This is great, Shann. I'm so glad you finally figured out your sleep problems and that you've been doing better recently. :hugs: :)
Dannie Hawley 01/26/13
Interesting piece, though unsettling to think it is based on a true story! Now, if your doctor wants you to keep that sleep journal for an indefinite period of time, or suggests that you just enter each day directly into an email directed to his "special" file, be aware...he may be using you as a muse. Check out any novels under his name online, you might find something familiar in the text. You know, like Richard Castle and Kate, his NYPD muse? Okay, so I've read too many of those doctor-turned-novelist books. In any case, nice job on this article!
Danielle King 01/26/13
I'm not very nice to know because I had a really good laugh at your expense. The way you've written this is too funny. The rabbit food episode; you pushing your daughter's spirit back inside her body and then you texting Amy about your uterus, (or lack of it.) The image of you on the CPAP machine after all your trials 'n' tribs just creased me. I'm so sorry, it's no laughing matter is it! There's one thing I envy you for... I'd love to punch my husband in the face - he snores! This is a great and fun read. Loved it!
Bonnie Bowden01/26/13
I'm getting a sleep study done in the beginning of next month. I didn't know that there would be so much machinery; I hope I will be able to sleep.

A couple of the sleeping escapes made me laugh. I'm glad they were able to diagnose your problem and get you back on the road to good health.
Christina Banks 01/26/13
I enjoyed a chuckle from your story. I once lived with a woman who had many similar episodes. It was a wild time. Thank you for sharing this with us!
Myrna Noyes01/27/13
Wow, this excellent story has it all---pathos, humor, tension, hope, and more! I sensed the MC's frustration but admire her way of dealing with it! The sleep journal was amusing and "eye-opening." ;) I think it's a GREAT story, well-written, and interesting!
Noel Mitaxa 01/27/13
One night I dreamed that I was preaching. And when I woke up, I found that I was!
Shann, along with the pain, you have put so much down-to-earth humor into this piece (I was chuckling along with the doctor - and a few other FW family members) that it just has to be true.
I identify with the sleep test, though I defy anyone to try sleeping when it feels like your face is being shoved through a flour sifter!!
Congratulations on a thought-provoking, enjoyable entry.
Ellen Carr 01/28/13
Based on a true story! I must admit I wouldn't have thought that if you hadn't stated it. It just sounds so bizarre. I now have great sympathy with friends who suffer from sleep apnea! I certainly hope the machine worked. (We need Part 2.) Well done!
Sheldon Bass 01/29/13
Based on a true story-- They do make the best tales. You had me from the first all the way through. I found myself chuckling a few times and slightly embarrased once. I don't feel qualified to critique this one, but I would rate it up there with the best.
Beth LaBuff 01/29/13
oh man! (your text messages) :) You sure made me smile, but for all the humorous journal entries, it probably wasn't humorous to you at the time. I'm glad they figured out the sleep apnea. You've presented this in a most engaging way. I loved all the MC's thoughts. Your title is perfect!
Leola Ogle 01/31/13
Absolutely love this, Shann! Congratulations, dear lady! (((hugs)))
Leah Nichols 01/31/13
Woot woot!!! Sounds just like you. :D Congratulations, my friend. You wrote from the heart and so deserve this EC! Keep on writing and encouraging.
Lillian Rhoades 01/31/13
Wonderful piece. Absolutely delighted for your EC. Congratulation, Shann
Dannie Hawley 01/31/13
Happy dance going on over here! Congrats on the E.C.!
Myrna Noyes01/31/13
Hearty congratulations on your E.C. win for this great piece! :)
Beth LaBuff 01/31/13
Yay, Shann! Congrats on your Editor's Choice award! :)
CD Swanson 01/31/13
I am so happy for you Shann! What a wonderful story and how appropriate that it should get such high acclaim!

Congrats, and may God continue to Bless you~

Camille
Bea Edwards 01/31/13
I think you did a great job humorously describing a truly hideous affliction. There is hope (teehee) for the sleepless, even if only for the laughter generated at our expense aye? Love from a fellow insomniac....
Bea Edwards 01/31/13
I think you did a great job humorously describing a truly hideous affliction. There is hope (teehee) for the sleepless, even if only for the laughter generated at our expense aye? Love from a fellow insomniac....
Danielle King 01/31/13
Yeah for Shann! I knew this was good and would do well. Congratulations!!! And whilst we're at it - No watching me eat me hat for you. Teehee. Unless I wear a chocolate one. Yum!
Pam Ford Davis 01/31/13
Shann,
Such a humorous look at a very real problem, nice indeed!

Wing His Words
Darleen Coon01/31/13
Yeah--Congrats! This story is too funny! You have such a way with words. LOL :)
Barbara Lynn Culler01/31/13
Congrats on your EC! You are right up there with Erma Bombeck in your humor writing! :)
Amy Michelle Wiley 01/31/13
I can see why this won an EC. You tied everything together so well with just enough information to follow, and funny understated punch lines. Well done!
Genia Gilbert02/04/13
This is great, Shann. Congratulations. I've been way out of touch, and just dropped in to read the winners. I've had some health issues and just life stuff in general, but hope to be back in the challenge loop soon. You did a wonderful job on this!
Judy Wilson02/05/13
I suffer from lack of sleep at times and i know it's not fun. What a talented writer, if i read the whole thing then you know you have captured me. Thanks for the review on This is Christmas and feel to use for church purposes all of mine you want and thanks so much for the compliment. If you wouldn't mind letting me know where you use them i would appreciate it. Would you let me know if you have private messenger and i will give you my email.. I don't have it anymore...
Charla Diehl 02/06/13
Shann you hit the topic perfectly with this entry. Your journal presented the problem in such a light-hearted way that the reader was able to smile along with the doctor as a solution for the problem was discovered. Thankfully your MC had a very understanding husband. This was entertaining as well as informative. Congrats on making the EC list.
 02/10/13
This was hilarious. I kept a sleep journal one time. It wasn't doctor ordered, I was just "into" dreams at the time. I set my alarm for every three hours and woke up and wrote down what I had dreamt. This story brought back memories of that time although I didn't end up in the pool.
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
My goodness! What a popular subject. I come from women having horrible nightmares going back 3 generations. My hubby prays over us, using his scriptural covering; our dreams stop. Good piece.
Richard Hicks02/11/13
I cant believe I missed this, and didnt realize you won EC award on this challenge. Congrats! This was very easy to read and understand. I was pulled into your storyline and loved it. I love stories that are simple and not complicated. Very humorous too. I think im undestanding about paragraphs as well now. Thanks alot :)
Loni Bowden-Horn02/13/13
Shann,

Hilarous story. I can relate to the sleep study. The staff forced me to go to bed early so they could study me and then when I finally get some rest (REM sleep) they wake me up and send me home.

Your head is a gooey mess with electrodes and it took the technician hours to do my hair and makeup (well makeup may be a dream).

It's no glamour shot and then they film you sleeping and potentially snoring.
Emily Gillilan02/20/13
Thank you for always reviewing my work and writing such kind encouragements. It has been difficult to make this past week's entry public: "Steel Blue Reverberations" because I'm still mourning this friend who died unexpectedly at the age of 24 from cancer. As I read back over my poem, I can tell I did not allow my reader to have enough information to know Akhil. I'll try to revise it and place it in a future entry. Thanks again for reading and for sharing such encouraging words!
Olawale Ogunsola 03/04/13
This is a touching piece! You showed a true story. There are lots to learn from this!
May God give you the grace to dish out more and win more. Congrats!