Half a dose of reality

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

We insomniacs know sleep is important. We've read all the studies, usually late at night when we can't sleep. We're very aware that insomnia is shortening our lives, and that our knowledge of that fact is worsening our insomnia. 

But what we may not know — at least I didn't — is that this condition, this cruel curse, is likely to land many of us in your buildings. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University claim insomnia can be a predictor for long-term care placement, and I for one am far too drowsy to check their work.

So ready or not, you've got a horde of sleep-deprived zombies shuffling toward admission. I'll be the pale, bald one with the raccoon circles under my eyes, but don't be frightened. Just lay me down on
my fire-retardant, antimicrobial mattress and hand me my 10 milligrams of sleep-inducing Ambien. We'll get along just fine.  

Wait, what did you just say? The feds think five milligrams would be plenty? The FDA is requiring manufacturers to recommend much smaller dosages? You believe patients should be given the lowest effective amount for the shortest possible time, and you want to try non-drug alternatives first? 

Well, let me tell you something, concerned young administrator or director of nursing. I haven't slept well for 40 years, and by the time I'm admitted to your facility, I'll have already tried everything from warm milk to hypnosis. If I haven't solved my sleep problem by then, you're not going to be able to. So just give me my zolpidem. Please. 

I know, I know, you're concerned that it might make me a fall risk in the morning. But I'm Canadian, so perhaps you can help me slip into my padded hockey pants and helmet at bedtime. Cover my walls with bubble wrap. Put my mattress on the floor. I don't care. 

Just do whatever it takes to help me and my fellow zombies sleep. Because the alternative won't be pretty. 

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