It’s time for a midnight monologue. Why is pain always worse at night? No matter which way I turn, it hurts. Either my left toes are crumpled painfully beneath the heavy covers, or if I lie on my side, my knees knock and rub together. Trying on my front, my neck hurts when I turn it sideways, so I flop over to lying on my back and it starts again.

Meantime, my husband is shuffling uncomfortably beneath his breathing apparatus. It noisily breathes air in my direction, a surround sound like the middle of the waves at the seaside. Now, ordinarily, I love the sound of the sea, but, with the noise and the cold vent of air blowing in my direction most nights, this is all a bit too real for my comfort. I try to ignore the disturbance, breathe with it. After a while I give up and wonder crossly if I should refer myself to the department of sleep medicine…. They seem to take themselves very seriously, so it must be mostly men who get this sleep apnoea thingy. I hear stories of women sewing tennis balls into the back of their husband’s jammies so they can’t lie on their backs. Women and their complaints are just left to manage. Even when a mum with three children under ten suspects she has something serious – which turns out to be secondary cancer in her abdomen – she is fobbed off with “it’s just your age….”

I should try to get to sleep. Need a few deep breaths. In, out…In, out but my sense of resentment builds, lifting open my eyelids crossly.

Need to get up to go to the loo again. Hubby always brings me a cup of something, several if I’m not careful, especially at night. “Would you like a drink?” he asks, so kindly, and though after a considered pause, I may say “No, thank you” he brings me one anyway. It’s his way of showing how much he loves me, well worth the inconvenience of going to the loo at three in the morning. I never bother to turn on the light. I can do everything in the dark nowadays so as not to disturb the family. At this time of year it hardly gets dark anyway.

Soon time to get up, judging by the early morning manoeuvres going on. Covers are pulled away, and I shiver. Just have a snooze, now that the noise is switched off…..

“Mum! Is it the first week, or the second week of the holidays that I am going camping?” Daughter jumps on me. Ten past seven.

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