The night before going into hospital for a procedure is, in many respects, like the night before an exam. No matter how many herbal teas, soothing audiobooks read by Stephen Fry, or different positions, sleep is as remote as the sentence “colourless green ideas sleep furiously” making any sense. “Colourless green ideas sleep furiously” was an example, used by Noam Chomsky, of a category mistake. It is a sentence that is grammatically correct but has no discernable meaning. Regarding by capabilities to sleep last night, I was a category mistake. Logically, there was no physiological incapacity in my body to cause insomnia, I was grammatically correct, and yet, sleep was impossible. By the time the conventional hours of awakening had arrived, I was totally discombobulated by the distressing night. The result was the defenestration of the majority of my pillows and the formation of my duvet into a state of dismal disarray. My bedroom reflected the character that had developed during the dark hours.
I find it disconcerting how I can have heard the bell chime for every hour of the night, proving that my lids did not droop for longer than 59 minutes at a stretch, and yet, have a nebulous recollection of the whole experience. The night seemed to drag on forever, although now that it is daybreak, I have no idea where those hours disappeared. I was already worried about how I might conduct myself, under sedation, towards the surgeon, anaesthetist and surgical technicians, when they provoke piercing pain to surge throughout my lower limbs. Now that the pain will be combined with the cantankerous result of lack of sleep, my worry has augmented to terror.