• Lyn Coffin


I have been having horrible nightmares in the last few weeks. Almost half of all my sleeping ends in horrible visions. Tonight, for example, I dream that I had been captured and was in a

foreign jail. I told myself it was a nightmare and I needed to wake up.... I woke up. And I was in a foreign jail. I was actually in a cell, about to be tortured for information I didn't have. I gasped and turned around, seeking escape. And really woke up. (There's a name for this- thinking you've awakened, but the "waking" is just part of the nightmare.)

I've dreamt that if I took a breath, I would lose an enormous prize, and tried so hard in my sleep not to breathe that I think I almost died in my sleep. That was one of the milder ones. A few nightmares found me waking up and starting down the corridor to wake up other people in the house and tell them that (for example) there had been a mudslide locally and in a matter of minutes, the house would be submerged; we all needed to get out. Sometimes I am stumbling down the corridor in my pyjamas and have actually dialed the first number of 911 on my cell phone before I finally reason my way into full consciousness.

I wonder about the reasons for these nightmares. I have been here, at my son's house, since March 8, near the start of the "official" Seattle pandemic. I hadn't had a nightmare for years since coming here. I am sure it is not the circumstances themselves. My daughter-in-law cooks most of the meals and does an amazing job serving up delicious vegetarian plus chicken meals, although before my arrival, the family had been used to quite a bit of pork and other meat. Except for the nightmares, and allowing for the pandemic and my semi-advanced age (76), I have been happy here with my family.

Sometimes, I think there is something seriously wrong with me physically, and the nightmares are my body's way of signaling me that there is something terribly wrong.

Changing the bedding doesn't seem to help. There are a lot of pillows on the bed and perhaps one of them is the culprit. I will put aside the pillow from tonight and see if that helps.

I suspect the culprit may be Covid19 itself, the threat of it, hanging in the air.

I have a lot of fear and anxiety around nightmares, from which (so far) I awake. But all around the world, there are people who wake these days from nightmares where an unseen and at first undetectable virus has infected them and their family with deadly pathogens.

And discover the nightmare is real.

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