Sleep Wreck

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

August 12th, 2009 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

For the last 15 years, my mom has owned a piece of property including a house divided into three units, a split-level cottage in the back, and a yard. When she moved in, my mom gave me one unit in the house, then rented another unit in the house and the cottage in back.

My mom is now in the process of filing bankruptcy and going into foreclosure. She no longer lives on this property, but rather, in an independent living facility for senior citizens. At this time, the only person actively living on the property is a young man who rented from my mother for a couple of years. Since the house began the foreclosure process, he has not been paying rent – as per an arrangement he and my mother made.

This week, I set aside time both for my birthday celebration and for vacation. As part of this week, I drove back to the house, for one final stay before the bank takes it over. Not only did I find that the tenant has spread into three rooms beyond the confines of the two-bedroom unit he had been renting, including a room that still had family belongings in it; but I also discovered that he had used my unit and invited his friends to do the same.

A few months ago, the tenant had sent me an email asking, “Do you mind if my friend uses the space upstairs?” to which I had replied, “Things are up in the air and causing enough stress as it is. I can’t really deal with any additional shifts in variables – ie, I need my space available to me. You have the whole second floor for your friend to have privacy. Please use one of those rooms instead. There is also the upper floor of the cottage, which has a futon, if you have the keys.”

While the tenant agreed, I arrived yesterday to find that the bathtub was disgustingly dirty, with little black hairs (not mine) covering the surface; that the drawers in my bedroom were gone; that a sewing machine was on top of my computer table; and, most distressingly, that the support mattress I had on top of my futon (enabling me to sleep on it, period) had been ripped, with about 1/3 of it missing.

Because I have to take a hot bath in order to sleep at night, I had to spend half an hour on my knees, scrubbing the tub. It was not only the last thing I wanted to do upon arrival, especially considering it was someone else’s dirt, but scrubbing is also the worst possible thing I can do for my back and knees.

What’s more, I discovered the part about the futon at about 11:30 pm, too late to do anything but make the best of it. A friend suggested I rearrange the mattress cover diagonally, so that as much of my body would be supported as possible, but it was still uncomfortable – with my body hitting different levels at different points. Being that I’m the princess and the pea personified, that just didn’t fly.

So now it’s 7:45 am, and I have slept a grand total of one hour. Not only am I a wreck for the day, but not sleeping jacks up my pain levels and throws me into a strange sleep cycle where I can end up back in the throes of insomnia (through which I suffered non-stop for half a year). I am pissed, but most of all, I am exhausted.


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