My bedtime routine is like a game of Clue:
-It was Nina, at 9:30pm, in bed, on her phone, with The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Sometimes it varies (Rhoda! Taxi! A Mets game in extra innings!) but 9:30 is a hard-and-fast rule. Daisy J. Dog went through a period (of three years) where sleeping at night was more of a suggestion than a promise. Between allergies and sundowner syndrome and just plain being an asshole (her or me, you choose), the earlier we got to bed, the more chance there was of getting some unbroken sleep.
We've tried Melatonin (does nothing), Xanax (she's relaxed while she runs around), Benadryl (makes her insane), and doggy dementia meds which are supposed to straighten everything out (they do make her more alert during the day but nighttime was still problematic. And by problematic I mean jumping off the bed every hour, doing a loop around the room, chewing her butt for ten minutes and then demanding to be let up on the bed.)
This has all changed in the last week with the addition of a new anti-itch drug called Apoquel. Apoquel is a drug made of magical fairy pony poop dust and it does what no other drug has been able to do before: if helps her sleep for six hours in a row at a designated sleeping time and I will now hold up a shantytown of kittens to make sure that this magic is in our arsenal for the rest of our lives.
Last night, at about 11:30pm, it was as if an alarm went off. Jump off the bed, a loop around, a butt scoot, and then a demand to get back on. Over and over and over it went, as if we were in some Rube-Goldberg Device powered by 14-year old pit bulls and two sleep-deprived adults. After about an hour, I gave her half a Xanax and it magically worked, powering her down until 7am this morning.
I've been trucking along on various projects and yesterday I received some - well, heartbreaking seems like overkill, but some incredibly disappointing news, one of those things where the stars aligned perfectly and all signs pointed to yes and oh my god you would be perfect you were born to this-- and then, nothing. It happens. (It happens a lot.) Sometimes its soul-crushing (a lot of the time) and sometimes it makes you angry (the other lot of the time) and always that voice is ticking like a time bomb over your head while you make all of the calculations of how you're going to get through it you try to override it with the other voice (you're a writer, you have many of these) with the mantra that you are going to get through it because you are going to write your way through it because that is what writers do.
And you catch your dog, finally, and haul her up onto the bed and remind her not to be anxious because you're here and Will is here and the only thing she needs to worry about is getting some sleep.
Which magically, she does.
(With a little help from our friend Xanax.)