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Sunday, November 6, 2011

easing up

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to the smoke alarm going off.

Can we establish that this is probably on par with hearing unknown footsteps coming up your steps for most terrifying nighttime noise?

The smoke alarm sounded one shrill, piercing BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! and from the time my neurons fired with the first beep and the time the third one ended, I went from sound asleep to up on my feet with my arms up in combat stance.  (What can I say?  I've been taking kickboxing.)

I think I have a healthy fear of fire.  I have images imprinted on the cells of my hippocampus of families standing in horror while their house burns down from watching the news as a kid.  It doesn't help that our garage caught on fire 6 weeks after Sandi first moved in.  We were in bed and only found out because our neighbor, an astronomer, was stargazing while enjoying his last cigarette of the evening.  He pounded on our door and we came running from our bedroom which was a mere 12 feet or so from the flaming garage.

I have never in my life so heartily cheered smoking.

After the freak show of packing our animals in the car (and being unable to locate 2 terrified cats) and having the fire trucks arrive and the neighbors spilling into the street, fires haunt me a bit.

I even have a mental list of what things I would grab while ferreting our family to safety (the girls, their security blankets, pants-or at the very least a robe-, my phone, the dog,  hopefully shoes, car keys and insulin supplies if I could manage to get downstairs.  And if I could I would also grab Sandi's laptop because it has all our pictures on it.)

I searched the house for any signs of smoke or fire. I checked on Ella who was sleeping soundly.  I came back to my bed where Maya was tucked up into Sandi and said, "How did that not wake you?" in a snotty tone and got no response. 
This morning when we woke up I told Sandi the story, my voice dripping with smug judgement that I had risen to save our family while she slumbered. She looked at me like I had three heads.

And a dawning understanding came over me.

I dreamt it.

Not the Navy Seal response time out of bed and onto my feet (in combat stance no less), but the alarm itself.  It went off INSIDE MY HEAD.  No wonder no one woke up. No wonder it only went off once.  No wonder it went off for no reason.  Because it didn't.

I have woken up from dreams crying from some tragedy playing out in my subconscious.  I've had the music from my alarm clock play in my dream before I actually wake. I've had dreams so visceral I can't shake them for a day.

But never have I had an experience I thought was real and it turns out it was a dream.  I'm a tiny bit nervous about what that means for my internal state that I am dreaming of alarms and danger.   My subconscious might be stingy with what it allows to be known, but I think I should take this as an indication of all that is brewing under my surface.

In related news of stress and panic, I am awaiting a halter monitor test to study some irregular and troublesome heart beats I'm having.  When I was pregnant with Ella I had a benign arrhythmia but this feels different and more concerning.  It feels like my heart is pausing and then beating hard, kind of slamming against my chest wall in a way that you are only supposed to feel when you are sprinting out of your house in the event of a fire.  (Like how I'm tying it all together?)

My  doctor asked me if I was under any added stress or was experiencing  anxiety. I wanted to hop off the crumbly paper of the exam table and roll on the floor in hysterics.

One thing is for certain- I need to keep on easing up so I can cease having fire drills in my dreams.  I told Sandi that I wanted to skip the Christmas cards this year.  The whole no income, paying for non-essentials thing is giving me a stomach ache.  I intent to downshift Christmas this year in a big way. We were in the process of discussing it when I tried to open my holiday mailing list and it was corrupt.  I couldn't recreate that list if I wanted to.  Which I don't.  So please know you didn't get shafted when you don't get a card from us.  My computer is saving me from myself.

As I was trying to fall back asleep last night with adrenaline screaming through my veins, all I could think was, this isn't good for my heart! 

Eeegad, I'm too young for this...

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