I had been sleeping on the same mattress for fifteen years or so, and have many a doctor and physical therapist suggest that might be a big contributor to the back and neck pain I have been experiencing. I knew that my bed couldn’t be helping me physically, but couldn’t afford a new one given that I rely on food stamps to make ends meet.
When my parents came to visit last October, they said they would like to buy me a new mattress, but we ran out of time to shop while they were here. So, they told me to research the kind of bed I wanted and let them know my choice.
I have a caregiver who plans to go to medical school. Anatomy and Physiology are kind of “Dr. Dan’s” thing. When he heard that my parents wanted to buy me a bed, he accepted the personal challenge to help me find the one that best met my needs. We researched online for weeks, reading customer reviews and thinking about various features. The conclusion we came to was that a sleep number bed on an adjustable frame would be simply awesome.
We went to the sleep number store on Valentines Day. Courtney, the store manager, was as helpful as Prince George’s nanny on a royal world tour. Courtney looked me in the eye and directed all her questions to me. She asked me about my disability and my pain and offered relevant advice and suggestions. She spent almost two hours helping me decide every detail that made up my perfect bed. In order to get all the features I needed, I discovered I would have to order a queen size bed. I had slept on a full size all of my adult life.
A few days later, the company called to set up a delivery date. My excitement grew exponentially with every day that passed. Jacob, one of my other caregivers, volunteered to take me shopping for new sheets. The two of us thought running that errand might take us half an hour. All I had to do was find a queen size set of sheets that I liked, we didn’t think it would be that hard. We thought wrong. Finding a set of sheets that fit my criteria turned out to be like searching for Willy Wonka’s last golden ticket. If I found a set of sheets I liked, they didn’t come in the right size, or we could find a fitted sheet but not a flat sheet. For a while it was frustrating. Jacob could not have been more patient or supportive as we looked endlessly for “dark sheets that spoke to me.”
When it looked like our luck was just about out, it was his idea to get plain sheets, but with pillow cases that had fun patterns so that the whole thing all together would pop a bit. When I picked up a solid-color I thought would work, Jacob stopped me with the sheets he was holding. “These sheets match the best Lorraine, I want your whole bed to look classy.” With that, we were done. I love it when my caregivers are concerned about the details.
Both Dan and Jacob offered to be here yesterday, right before the bed arrived, to move my old bed out and make room for the new one. The process included vacuuming an unholy amount of dog hair that was under the bed and finding a few treasures that I had been missing for years. They chuckled and took it all in stride while assuring me I didn’t need to be embarrassed. Then Dan volunteered to work the night shift last night so that he could help me figure out the best ways to roll over and transfer on my own since my new bed was bigger than I was used to.
He took the time to put several grab bars back on the walls in order to make that whole process easier. He also told me about some unexpected benefits of the bed. He was able to plug the lamp in my bedroom into the base of the bed so that it could be turned on and off with the remote. He also found out if he put the sheets on the corners of the bed while the head and feet are in a raised position and then lay the bed flat, the bed basically makes itself. That just rocks beyond measure. Lots of my friends have joked that I will probably stay in my bed forever.
Even though we are still working out some kinks, I can already tell that this bed is going to help with my sleep apnea, reduce my pain and improve the quality of my sleep.
After the lights were out last night, I couldn’t help but think about all the people who made this bed a reality in my life, and all the effort that each one put in to make sure that would be sleeping comfortably for the next twenty-five years or so.
I came to one conclusion. All the overwhelming support I have in my life is the thing that makes me get out of bed in the morning.