Monday, January 21, 2013

Hypno-what?

I ran across a word in the Dictionary.com app on my phone last week that intrigued me, not so much because it was a new concept, but because I'd never knew there was an actual definition to something I experience frequently.

The word?

Hypnopompic.

Definition: Pertaining to the semiconscious state prior to complete wakefulness.

I, by nature, am not a morning person. About once or twice a year before kids was how often I was out of bed on a weekend before my husband. And, truth be told, I love to linger in bed whenever possible--even with a preschooler and toddler in the house. So, I have a pretty lengthy hypnopompic period almost daily.

An interesting thing happens, however, when that period intersects with the alarm going off on a weekday.

I am also a self-admitted news junkie. Despite multiple efforts by TMOTH to dissuade me, my bedside radio is tuned not to music, but to a news-talk station--the one I typically listen to for several hours a day before switching to a different one to catch a different program. And what do you hear on a news-talk station at 6:30 in the morning? News, of course!

Now, usually, this doesn't cause too many problems. I learn about what's gone on in the world before I get out of bed, what the traffic's like (for my husband, since I'm a stay-at-home-mom), and what the weather is supposed to be like... provided I'm awake enough, of course.

When I am in a deeper hypnopompic state, however, there's no telling what could happen. Sometimes, my dreams are just a bit crazier than normal and I dream of people I know--all of which are usually vivid and just crazy enough for me to remember for hours, sometimes days or weeks later. Or, they can take the course that happened this past week.

Photo by DavidsonScott15
Crime is, living in a big city, not unheard of. Heck, being a mystery writer, I thrive on hearing about crazy crime scenarios on a daily basis. Last week had an interesting incident, however. A police chase on the opposite side of town from me, which resulted in a cop shooting and killing someone who was wanted on an arrest warrant. But, just imagine what hearing about this happening--repeatedly, because it was happening near-realtime to my alarm going off--would do to a brain not quite awake?

All of a sudden, I'm in the MIDST of a standoff and shooting, complete with car chases, lots of cops, and seedy areas of town. (Although, the incident didn't happen in a horrible part of Kansas City, it's still not the best.)

How's that a way to wake up again? To me, it's a little startling. But, things like this, and even more far-fetched incidents are regular play in my brain during the hypnopompic state.

Two questions this week:
First, are there any new words you've learned which have special meaning once you learn them?
Second, have you ever had anything bizarre happen during your own hypnopompic states? Please share here (for both questions) or blog about them and post links. :)


And, yes, for the record, since I disclosed my own alarm time, I will acknowledge that I wrote this blog post a few days in advance for publication today. While I love all of my readers, I'm barely coherent before about 9 AM, so I usually save you from that lack of coherency. Usually, but not always. ;)

Until next time,


Monday, January 14, 2013

On Hospitals

Life sure does take the craziest paths sometimes.

For instance, I've only been admitted to the hospital twice--and both were avoidable occurrences (the births of my children.) I actually hate hospitals. When I was having my son, I remember vividly telling my doctor that I just wanted to go home--that's how much I hate hospitals. My words were met with a laugh by all in the room, but I was dead serious.

So, you can imagine my consternation with the amount of time I've had to spend IN hospitals in the last two years. Yes, I understand they're necessary. Yes, I understand that it's been for the best that my son is there periodically, and that most of his doctors are based at hospitals.

Doesn't stop my slight germaphobia.

I'm pondering this aspect of my personality more as the day gets closer that we'll be taking our son out to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant. While we won't be inpatient for 4 - 6 months, he and I will be in hospitals several times a week. How will that work, especially since I get a bit of anxiety when I'm in the hospital for a long time (i.e. more than two days)?

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, Washington
I have decided that there are a few things I'm going to do while I'm in Seattle. Right now, since I'm mostly writer blocked (hence no blog posts for the last two months!) all of these are reading and crafty. I figure I'll have a lot of downtime. Currently, my list of things includes: learning to knit socks, learning Tunisian-style crochet, possibly learning to hand quilt, reading all of the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, and reading all of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (there was a freebie on Amazon.com a while back and I've already started it.) I'm hoping these activities, possibly coupled with writing some short or novel-length stories, will keep some of my anxiety at bay... and keep me from going bananas while being surrounded by doctors, nurses, and germs.


Until next time,

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