Wednesday, December 05, 2012


The night starts with an irregularity and I find out I'm doing night meds for the first time.  The client takes my arrival as the cue to attempt sleep so he refuses his meds.  This is an effort to maintain independence not an institution so I just note that his choice was to refuse the mood stabilizers/sleep aids.  I am concerned about this, but not allowed to force him.  He can't talk, but agitated shouts make it clear that meds are not happening.

I sit down on the couch, listening to the clients breathing as he tries to direct himself toward sleep.  I have my doubts, but with a fervor I rarely feel I hope he will sleep the night. 

I sit on the couch and I wonder what this night will be like.  It will probably be mundane.  My job will probably be to monitor and feed him as he spends another in the endless series of restless nights that makes up his life.  Putting any real thought into the client's nature is depressing.  So much of what I believe in is rooted in pursuit, aspiration and hard work.  The philosophies that make up the most important parts of my life offer nothing to him.  The greater mysteries are denied to him, his consciousness is embodied in a broken form.  It would be nice to believe in cosmic justice, but I look at this and I know that sometimes the wheel of Samsara comes up double zeros.  It was once humbling to know that intellect and vigor are gifts and that I am lucky to have them.  I have since been humbled, now he's just depressing.  It's still better than thinking about what another bad night would be like.  They come without warning.  I have to stop thinking about that, I can feel my heart racing as the anxiety builds.

I sit on the couch and try to think about something else.  I try not to think about how bad this night could be.  I try not to think about how pointless this entire exercise is.  I carefully do not wonder if I will ever break the associations between this job and jazz music.  I do wonder if I'll ever like jazz again, the way I used to, and it's nice to hope. 

I sit here and I think about her 2,000 miles away, safe and sound and asleep like a person should be at night.  It warms my heart to know that she will be spared this.  It is an ancient male experience, to take comfort in the safety and well being of your woman.  I think about the future.  About the life I may build.  It seems so far away, but I know that a decade from now it will seem to have gone so fast.

I think a lot of things in the tense moments on this couch, but mostly I think about one thing.  I think that there are only 10 shifts left after this one.  Three more weeks.

The time is 11 p.m.  11 hours left tonight, 131 hours left total.  I take solace in knowing that this too will pass.