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The Dreams Return


My sleep had improved for several months. Thankfully, December was a great month. When I needed strength and health the most, my sleep apnea seemed to subside, and I had very few dreams.

The dreams I did have weren't extremely vivid. They were just typical dreams, and usually, the only reason I remembered them is because I was awakened. The alarm would go off, or one of my kids would wake up, and I'd remember dreams or dream fragments.

Since 2005 started, my dreams have returned. I'm more stressed than normal, and, oh yeah, I'm still disabled. I've been sleeping lighter, my sleep apnea has intensified, and the dreams have returned.

Last night I dreamed that I was stranded at the mall with several other guys in wheelchairs. When I was in college, that was always a minor fear, because the city bus only had two wheelchair accessible seats. If three or four wheelchair users were at the mall at the same time, and they all shopped until the last bus pickup, we had problems. It became ridiculous on more than one occasion. We'd be at the mall, see another wheelchair user and need to ask "Which bus are you taking back to campus?" There never really was issues, everyone seemed to treat each other fairly, because we were all afraid of getting stranded 15 miles from home. The sad part is that the mall was open until 9:00, but the last bus was at 6:15 p.m. If there were three of us, somebody had to leave at 5:15 or risk drawing the short straw at 6:15.

Anyhow, that little sidebar is irrelevant to my dream. Let's just say it was a stressful setting for the dream. Here's where it really became disturbing, nearly a nightmare.

There were four guys, and two of us would be stuck. I was trying to call someone to pick me up using my van. In my dream, my wife dropped me off, and took the van home. I knew she was going out of town, so she couldn't pick me up. As I'm calling, the other guys are volunteering to let me take the bus. I knew this wasn't logical, because I hadn't taken the bus to the mall, and I did own another vehicle. They were simply being nice because I was the most disabled.

I used to do this in college. I remember one Halloween Party, we got eight inches of snow. A couple guys with wheelchair accessible vans brought my friend, Sean, this kid I only knew as T., and me to a party. One of the guys hooked up with a drunk girl who got turned on by the idea of having sex in his wheelchair (yes, this actually happens) and he split with her. We all understood, but that left T. without a ride. T. had Muscular Dystrophy and I knew he'd probably never make it home safely. So did Sean, so we both volunteered our ride. T. knew he was the worst gimp of the gimps. Then it came down to Sean and me. Neither of us wanted to admit we were more disabled. Then Sean said his chair was low on power. I don't know if that was true, or if he was just scared. He lent me his stocking cap and I drove home in the snow, about 5 miles. It took me two hours, and Sean was waiting in the dorm lobby with coffee. Sean felt like a jerk, and extra gimpy that night.

The guys at my college always took care of the most disabled guys. You took care of others, because you didn't want to be the one being cared for. Whoever needed the most help from the community usually died. In four years, 11 guys died, 11 wheelchair users, 11 of the most disabled. I graduated without becoming one of the worst gimps.

Back to the nightmare... I was desperately trying to find a ride for myself, without much luck. My cell phone had become broken after I dropped it trying to dial. I could only remember a couple numbers, and none of them were answering. If I could get a ride, I wouldn't have to face the obvious, that now I'm the most disabled. These guys would give up the bus ride, and I'd have to accept, because I'd never make it home another way. I'd be the most disabled, and that was equivalent to a death sentence.

I woke up feeling like my life depended on a broken cell phone.

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