Falling Awake

In the early hours of this morning I woke with a start. I’d been dreaming I was in a house with Fat Sister. It was my house, although it wasn’t the castle. We were in the bathroom and she was helping me get washed and dressed. We were talking about the house and I asked her if she thought the floor looked like it’d sunk a bit. She told me I should get it looked at by a professional because she’d just seen another house that had been riddled with rot. Just as she said this, the house lurched sideways, we both fell several metres, and I saw her fly past me.

I came to a stop with a bang as something hit me in the back. The dream carried on for a few moments with me stuck in the collapsing house, too frightened to move.

Then I woke up. But I still couldn’t move – I was having a ‘ticcing fit’. I was lying on my side, my back was arched in an extremely painful way, and one of my arms was extended stiffly backwards.

To start with I wasn’t worried. I couldn’t move to press my emergency button but I was making the repetitive ‘howing’ noise I often make during fits and I was confident my support worker, Will, who was next door, would soon hear me. But after a minute or two I noticed my ‘howing’ noise was becoming more and more strangulated.

This was because the arching of my back was making it hard for me to take full breaths and my diaphragm wasn’t moving as freely as it needed to. I didn’t panic, I was still able to breathe some air in, but when I tried to make my ‘howing’ louder it was very difficult and it became an increasingly high-pitched, desperate screech. This went on for several minutes, and it was a struggle to keep myself calm.

I was so relieved when I heard Will call out to me, followed by the sounds of him coming into my room. The light went on and he was soon at my side.

At first he didn’t realise exactly what the problem was. He could see my arm was extended at a very odd angle and started to work on moving it. This helped a bit, but my back was still arched at an extreme angle and I was in a lot of pain. He quickly worked out what was happening and moved me onto my back. This helped enormously and at last I was in a position where I could breathe comfortably. I felt tearful as the fit went on, but by the time it ended I was much more settled.

It’s always surreal when my dreams and fits intertwine, and any tic or fit that affects my breathing is distressing. So it took me a little while to get over the shock, but before long I managed to go back to sleep and enjoy an uneventful rest-of-night.

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