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The Telegram
  • Costa Living: Dreaming of sleep

  • Over the past four months I have been falling out of sleep –literally. I was experiencing episodes of extreme wakefulness in which I would either roll out of bed and assume a karate stance, or slide out of bed and find myself underneath an end table, one of my dog’s favorite haunts.

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  • Over the past four months I have been falling out of sleep -- literally. I was experiencing episodes of extreme wakefulness in which I would either roll out of bed and assume a karate stance, or slide out of bed and find myself underneath an end table, one of my dog’s favorite haunts.
    My primary care physician suggested all the standard milquetoast things: warm walks, warm milk, warm showers. I added warm sherry to the list but that didn’t help.
    I usually read a history of the Eisenhower Administration to put me fast asleep. I used to fall asleep before Ike takes his hand off the Bible. Now I am awake late in the Administration reading about Nixon verbally jousting with Nikita Khrushchev in the 1959 “kitchen debates.”
    Because reading failed, I was placed on a modest dose of a prescription sleep medicine. It warned of alarming side effects: depression, restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking, hyperactivity and the irresistible desire to blow up municipal bridges.
    After only one dose I was talking to mysterious people about the burgomaster form of government in early Europe and Impressionist painters. Who were all these people that formerly were furniture? Needless to say, I was immediately taken off that drug.
    Next was a walk on the holistic wild side. (Ill eat eye of newt if it means I’ll get a few winks.)
    I tried a variety of herbal teas, roots and tubers from the Amazon (not the dot-com one). A particularly popular mainline herb for sleeplessness had the absolutely opposite effect and I remained awake for 36 hours.
    Another doctor prescribed enough tranquilizers to knock down a herd of African bull elephants in full musk. They only made me yawn.
    I was abandoned on one of Dante’s Inner Circles of Hades.
    Besides being insular and out of the way, the Circles are about the only places you can still smoke. But of course I don’t. It makes me stay up all night.
    Peter Costa is a columnist for GateHouse Media. His latest book is a novel, “The Priest’s Gamble.” It is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
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