Sleep is returning to my fold. I first started believing it when the kids left for school yesterday and instead of tossing around in bed, feverishly typing another post here or refreshing Facebook like an obsessive, I felt my head hit the pillow with a thud. The next two hours I grappled with sleep, even with my hands, feeling as though I was being pulled below the surface of a lake and even though I was trying to fight it, I finally gave in. I woke at 11 a.m. feeling lighter than I have in weeks. I scrutinized my irises in the bathroom mirror and found that the darkness camping out there had moved on.

It’s the steroids. They are dialing me down off them over the weekend. My high score daily dose was at one point 100mg, which sounds scarily high (especially the one day that I had them intravenously). I am now down to 30mg once a day, and after the weekend, if all goes well, it will keep decreasing. I hope by Thanksgiving to be pretty close to a normal facsimile of myself.

I feel the difference – going even from a dose of 40mg to 30mg, there is a loosening in my chest. A lifting of anxiety. I can spend x more minutes with both kids in my bed before shooing them away.

There are still things I cannot quite face – like most of the rest of the apartment. Things have piled up. A lot of things. All of them seem to be made of Legos and books. When I go out to the living room to administer Netflix to the kids, I have to keep tunnel vision or else I start hyperventilating right away. Our cleaning person comes on Monday, after I put her off for a week already because I wasn’t ready for that kind of upheaval. My pre-cleaning regimen, under normal circumstances, is exacting and exhausting, because I don’t like leaving out anything that could be permanently misplaced. My standards are high, and I don’t know how I’ll meet them this time. The kids are off for a sleepover tonight and I have little doubt J and I will spend our evening in cleaning preparation (which will probably involve me barking orders from the couch).

Mom leaves again today. It doesn’t make sense for her to come back next week because of the holiday, so this is another source of stress. I feel as though if I can have everything arranged just so, with most of the kid wrangling handled by others, I can get through three days on my own. I dearly hope I’m not overestimating myself. I feel incrementally stronger, after each meal, after each night of actual sleep. But the gulf between stronger and back to normal operations is still quite significant. Wish me luck.

Last night J and I huddled in bed and watched (well, I dozed on and off through it) the intriguing 2009 movie “Moon,” with the excellent Sam Rockwell as essentially the only live actor, playing clones of himself on a lunar power station. Watching the same person interact with himself in various states of physical decay made an interesting bookend to my ordeal.

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