Coded gray.

Sunday 23 July 2000


Pic of the day: Mighty morphin power napper? OK, perhaps not quite.

Gross health update

Some years ago, I read a book by some woman, a former nurse I think, though I may mix this up with some other quack. This book claimed that the source of most illness was infections at the root of the teeth. I pitied her loss of sanity, at the time. I'm starting to see her point now.

This low-key infection between the upper jaw and the sinuses has been sticking with me since before I started to write my diary, at least. Probably much longer. I know I had it in one of the diaries before I started archiving them. (Yes, I used to just recycle the filenames: Sunday.html, Monday.html etc...)

From what I've recently gleaned, the chronic sinus infection is probably what is sending a slow drip of pus and mucus down the back of my throat all the time. I usually (ahem) just discreetly cough it up and swallow it. That's why we have super-strength acid in our stomach, right? But during the night, my bronchies gradually fill up with drying phlegm, and I sometimes wake up gasping for breath. Like today. A quite disturbing sensation.

I don't know if the immune system is actually weakened by having to fight this trench war year after year. It could well be the other way around, that the forced vigilance keeps it from rusting down. But the connection with my sleep, which I haven't really thought about clearly, is another matter entirely.


The impression that I never know for sure if I'm going to wake again in the morning makes me naturally hesitant to go to bed. I tend to stay up as long as possible, until I am barely conscious. Often as not, I fall asleep in my chair and only wake up to stagger to bed. And I usually get up well before I'm fully rested.

I've been this way for so long that I sort of assumed it was the normal human condition, and that most people simply were too stupid to bother about whether or not they would be able to breathe in the morning. I mean, humans drive while drunk and sleep with strangers carrying Light knows what viruses and other junk, so why would they worry about breathing? I've even heard some people who think it would be sort of nice to die in their sleep. Me, I much prefer to just live on and on, thank you very much. Also my asthmatic childhood probably made me a bit more sensitive to this, as the asthma attacks tended to come late at night or early in the morning. So when I wake up gasping for breath, I relive the terror and helplessness of my childhood. Being a sick child sucks big time.

But anyway, I'm harming myself here. Getting less than optimal sleep means not just that it's hard to concentrate on work (as if I would even want to concentrate on work). It also weakens the immune system and generally drags our health down in the mud, body and soul alike. Not good.


An obvious solution is to start napping. I use to do that on the bus home from work anyway, but the sleep quality is moderate. I only get 10-20 minutes of sleep, and only light sleep, but still it helps a lot. I ought to figure out some kind of optimal nap I can take when I come home, I guess. Going seriously to sleep means that I risk sleeping till midnight and stay up the rest of the night, hardly an improvement.

Today, incidentally, I went back to sleep early in the day and dreamt about Hermione, Harry Potter's friend. Ahem. It wasn't too naughty. A little bit, though. She definitely seemed older than in the books. I guess that's what you guess for cruising in your weekends. For some obscure reason, Hermione seems to be the main character in the fan fiction, rather than Harry. OK, at least I get more than I pay for! :)

OK, back on topic. As I see it now, I have basically the following alternatives:
1) Continue down the same track as before.

2) Pester the doctor for a super strength antibiotic cure, killing off my current crop of bacteria (and my entire gut flora too) and hope that the bacteria don't come back together with seven other types, worse than themselves.

3) Live with the chronic infection, but compensate for the loss of sleep. Putting aside time for naps and meditation during the daytime, or the other way around, getting up and clearing out my lungs and throat for an hour in the middle of the night. I doubt I can pull off that, though, so I better start looking for power nap techniques. :)

Then of course there is the possibility that I am subconsciously punishing myself for being a bad boy. To bend an old saying: A dubious soul in a dubious body. In that case, I guess the best laid plans of mice and men are going to fail again.

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