Some people, so I’m told, sleep soundly all night long. Others, and I know not the statistics for they do not change my life one bit, do not sleep soundly all night long. For about 45 years I slept soundly through the night. In my late 40s, though, a nightly or bi-nightly trek to the bathroom began, and it shows no sign of relenting. I wonder sometimes where it all comes from. My doctor gives this — the nightly treks — a diagnosis: “aging.” Sometimes doctors have the cleverest categories.
One of my friends had a home-made remedy: “If you don’t drink after 7pm,” he affirmed with a strong conviction, “you’ll not have to get up.” Kris and I have tea about 7pm, and it is not likely that we’ll change that custom for I’d rather get up in the wee (or pee) hours of the morning than give up our tea. But, to make the point clear, even when I have had nothing to drink the nightly trek continues, as if now by habit. I wonder, as I said above, where it all comes from.
Now we’ve got another problem. Our little dog, Webster, a Bichon Frise, is himself (to use my doctor’s category) “aging.” Now he wants to get up at night to go outside to do his business. He lets us know by clicking his toenails on the wooden floors. He assumes, rightly, that we’ll hear his clicking. About the time he gets to the bedroom door, he shakes himself furiously, and sometimes (“aging” again) so hard that he slips and falls down.
Here’s the problem: Webster has no interest in coordinating his nightly treks with my nightly treks. One would think that my waking would disturb his sleep enough to wake him into considering our mutual relief. Which raises the other problem: he can no longer hear. Again, “aging.”
The advantage, if there is one, of waking at night for such routine business is that it gives me the chance to say the Jesus Creed or the Lord’s Prayer or the Jesus Prayer a few times. What amazes me is that these nightly interruptions no longer carry any force in the day: I don’t seem to need as much sleep, so whether I sleep soundly all night long or not so soundly doesn’t seem to matter. At about 5:30am the body says, “Time to get up, big guy, and get on with what the Lord has for you this day.” When I get up, Webster is still sleeping. He prefers to sleep soundly until about 6:15am.