A Widow’s Whiplash

A Widow’s Whiplash

      I suffered whiplash this past week. I averaged about 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night because of massive overload on studies. I was reading excerpts from “U.S.A.” by John Dos Passos, who writes much like Eliot and Stein and I dozed at my desk and suffered whiplash. Seriously, it happened. My hand was on my forehead, propping my head. When I dozed and my hand slipped, my head propelled forward at such a high rate of speed that my neck snapped. I could have went to see a doctor to confirm my self-diagnosis, but my embarrassment at explaining that my whiplash was not from a car accident but from dozing off at my desk would have been too great. I can hear the conversation in my mind:

     Doctor—“So, when were you in this accident?”


     Doctor—“Were you hit from behind?”


     Doctor—“Could you explain the accident to me?”

     Me—“Well, I was sleepy.”

     Doctor—“I’m not sure I understand.”

     Me—“Well, apparently, my head is really fat because when my hand, which was supporting the weight of my head slipped, my head propelled forward at such a high rate of speed, my neck snapped.”

     Doctor—(laughing hysterically while writing)  “Okay, I see. Let me just write this in my journal under ‘Top 100 stupid injuries.”

 You can see why I just have to suffer through the pain. I already feel like an idiot, I do not need a doctor’s diagnosis to confirm that feeling. My injury was one thing; fighting sleep while driving was entirely another.


     I occasionally deal with tiredness while I am driving to my campus, but I never have at night—until now. My Thursday night drive home was the first nightly trek home in which I have not been fighting a hurricane in two weeks. It was rather peaceful, too peaceful. Sleep deprivation settled into my bones and it took every ounce of strength I have to fight it. I opened my window and tried letting the cool night air hit me. I tried turning on the air-conditioning to see if freezing would awaken my senses. I sang. I could hear dogs howling and cats screeching as I sang loudly. Singing is not one of my talents. I slapped myself. (Note to self: you are strong, do not slap self. It hurts.) I often pull over and walk around when I get sleepy during the day, but I was not thrilled at the prospect of pulling over at night. Muggers are not something I worry about, but there are things in the dark. Bad things. Scary things. Somehow, I made it home to one happy schnauzer.

     I overslept the next morning. I went to bed at approximately 11:30 p.m. and set two alarms for 3:30 a.m. I woke at 5 a.m. I slept through an alarm blaring on each side of me for over an hour. Sleep deprivation does strange things to us. I do not know if the schnauzer tried to wake me or not. If he did, it obviously failed to work. I do know that he was not in his bed beside mine. I think he was frustrated at the alarms and moved to his recliner in the living room. I cannot say that I blame him.

     I slept well last night. I could use a nap now. It is so odd that I think I can make up sleep lost during the week on the weekend. That does not work, but damn, it feels good. I will undoubtedly stay up tonight finishing a critical essay. I will pass out in the wee hours of the morning, only to awaken a few hours later. I will spend Sunday completing reading and writing assignments. Monday, I will start the sleep deprivation cycle again.

     I see all these blogs about “Things I have Learned.” I need to start a blog about things I have learned. During the last two weeks, I learned that it is pointless to use an umbrella in a twister. (Yes, I know it was not a tornado, but the similarities are there). There is no safe haven under the protection of an umbrella; it is a false hero and one in which I refuse to believe. I am considering a slicker suit and hip waders. Apparently, the area surrounding the college I attend has bright flashing neon signs telling storms—“STOP HERE, EATS HERE, COME BACK AND SEE US!” I think a bright yellow slicker suit and hip waders may start a fashion trend. Perhaps not. rr.

 to be continued…


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