Posted By auntie on August 7, 2013
i had to go to the font of all knowledge, wikipedia, to find out exactly what it was i have been experiencing lately:
A hypnic jerk, hypnagogic jerk, sleep start, sleep twitch or night start, is an involuntary twitch which occurs during hypnagogia, just as a person is beginning to fall asleep, often causing him or her to awaken suddenly for a moment. Physically, hypnic jerks resemble the “jump” experienced by a person when startled, often accompanied by a falling sensation. A higher occurrence is reported in people with irregular sleep schedules.
i bring this up because i had one of these the other night that may have actually set my recovery back by a day or so, and it was all big guy’s fault.
big guy was a cat. he was funny, independent (even for a cat), mischievous, and just an all around character. we lost big guy a year ago last april to kidney disease, but he was with us for 14 years, and we still miss him a lot.
he had a couple of interesting quirks. in order to get your attention, particularly at night, but really almost any time, he would find something, anything, to knock off some surface or another. the louder the noise it made, the better. we lost quite a few candle holders, vases, knick-knacks, dishes, cups, and glasses to this little quirk, and there are several impressive gouges in our wood floors that bear a silent testament to this habit to this day.
he also could never let an open car or truck door go by unexplored. after i had to drive across town to collect him from the inside of a glass delivery van because he just had to explore the interior, we took to warning any tradesman or delivery guy who came into the yard to please check the inside of his vehicle for a black cat before leaving.
and he had a weakness for feet on the bed. i don’t like my feet to be hot at night, so i used to kick off the covers to let them breathe free, until big guy decided that the most fun thing he could think of to do was attack my toes. naturally, i would be sound asleep. can’t tell you the number of times i woke with a shout in the middle of the night with a cat attached to my foot before i finally learned to keep them under the covers.
which brings me back to hypnic jerks. i was just at that “almost asleep” stage the other night when i was suddenly positive that big guy was wrapped around my ankle, attacking my foot (which of course was sticking out from under the covers). so i naturally started thrashing that foot to dislodge him. big mistake. it really hurt, and it’s taken about a full day to settle back down.
but really, if i could trade an extra day’s worth of pain for another night with my old buddy, i don’t think i’d even hesitate. miss you, big guy.