The Charlie Bravo Story

the Devil’s Hour

Wow. Here we are again. And I do mean “we”, as I think that we all occasionally experience the occasional 3 AM hour jolt when we awake with our selfish, circular, self-focused thoughts.

You know the feeling; the house is quiet; the dogs are (usually) peacefully sleeping. Angst leads to resentment as your significant other seems to be having no problems dealing with whatever anxious issues that are amping up in your head. Even the chaotic world around around you seems to be taking a break from it’s shenanigans, leaving you to twist in the sheets alone.

I giveth not a whit that there is a scientific reason for what some call the Devil’s Hour.
Core body temperature starts to rise, sleep drive is reducing (because we’ve had a chunk of sleep), secretion of melatonin (the sleep hormone) has peaked, and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) are increasing as the body prepares to launch us into the day. Then we lay in bed, sometimes for hours, trying for the elusive sleep, with this behaviour reinforcing the association that bed does not mean sleep and, therefore, reinforces insomnia.

Changing positions often works. Many times Mom has woken in the morning to find Charlie and I sleeping out in the van, as it reminds me of life on the road. I will admit that playing campout with a dog, effectively using the van as a semi-grown man’s nuk-nuk is a bit peculiar, but hey, whatever it takes.

Then there’s physical pain that keeps us awake during the dark hours. I have a good friend who has an incredibly painful, chronic nerve condition that I can’t even pronounce, and I am currently having a flare up of my old nemesis, patellar tendonitis. I realize how utterly selfish and petulant I sound even mentioning the two afflictions in the same sentence, but at the moment of impact, my stumped toe trumps your broken femur.

The 3 AM blues has hit me particularly hard after the shock of my recent episode. I was hit with the reality of my own mortality as forcefully as the near-fatal motorcycle incident eight years ago that lead to Zach and I finding Charlie. But consciously knowing that a set back can actually be a set up means nothing when you’re in one of those dark hours when perception is reality.

One night as I was running a mental marathon between the sheets, I found myself thinking that even a simple text, a brief interaction with another caring human, could be enough to break the cycle of the spiraling thought pattern. But who? Then it occured to me that we have the network currently in place to give this some impetus, a family of misfits from around the globe all brought together by the story of a goofy black dog.

What if there was an app out there where average people that were already wakeful could tag themselves as such and availabe to a short text from a stranger as a reminder that neither of them was alone in their suffering? I have no idea how to even begin to faciltate such a project, and maybe I shouldn’t even try; as in my current negativity I am keenly aware of some of the pitfalls this could encounter. It could be that just putting the thought out there could mean something to someone reading this right now: you are not alone….

We be of one blood, ye and I.

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