I have been suffering insomnia for the last few nights. For the first few nights, I was not bothered by anything in particular that kept me awake. I simply could not sleep.
My first bouts with insomnia occurred during my late twenties. At that time, I was supervising my first large electrical construction project. Then, I could not sleep for stewing about specific conduit runs, equipment locations, Code requirements, and placement of coworkers.
Not sleeping made sense at that time.
Over the ensuing years I fell in and out of periods of insomnia. The stretches of time between bouts with insomnia grew larger and larger. More interestingly, nothing in particular seemed to keep me from sleeping in my more recent sessions with insomnia.
Last night, I found a reason not to sleep. A stupid one.
Yesterday afternoon, during a phone conversation with a friend, he told me his daughters went hiking near Montana City on Sunday and came home with wood ticks crawling all over their clothing. I had a similar experience while back in high school. I actually found 17 ticks on me after climbing a rocky knob near Montana City. That was also about this same time of year. If memory serves, my friend Mark had something like 23 ticks on his clothing and skin. When we reached the top of the knob, we saw ticks crawling all over the tall grass there.
So, last night I went to bed at my normal time and fell fast asleep. At about 1:30 in the morning I woke and walked out to let in Splash (20 pounds of housecat). This is all customary stuff. I normally let him out at 9:00 and let him in at about 1:30.
I went back to bed.
About five minutes later, Splash jumped onto my side of the bed.
I thought: What if he has ticks on him? Ticks don’t like cats much. What if the ticks jump off the bed and find me?
I shooed him out of the bedroom and pushed the door mostly closed.
Splash was back in five minutes.
That did it. I walked Splash out into the kitchen. I patted his head for a while. I brushed his fur for several minutes, dropping gathered fuzz balls in the wastebasket as I worked through the tangles. Naturally, Carmel, another 20 pounds of housecat, needed a little brushing, too.
After a while I and my 40 pounds of house cat climbed onto my sofa with a blanket. They fell asleep immediately. I did not. I was under siege by ticks.