It’s not all fun and games – although this time it began with that.
I became very tired half past midnight, instead of 2AM when I usually go to sleep. (Last night I went to sleep about an hour early too.) Â This time I was taken by surprise and fell asleep in my chair. I woke up about an hour later and dragged myself to bed. My knees hurt, as they do when I sleep in my chair for more than a brief nap.
I woke up a little before 3AM. Â I had dreamed for a while that I was playing a new Sims game (that would presumably be Sims 4, but in real life Sims 3 is still less than two months old. ) There were various new features, and I only remember the beginning and the end. Â Perhaps I did not dream more than those. Â At the end, my sim was nearing the end of its brief life and was drifting through town lamenting his fate: Â “If only there was a moonless night, or even a cat!” Â -for each of these offered magical sims a chance to prolong their life, the first for a longer time and the second for a shorter. But the game offered no such opportunity. Â I was about to save and quit the game because I could not stand seeing my sim die. I felt very sad, as if I was the one to die. Â Then suddenly all around my sim his friends became visible. They pooled their lifeforce, intending to share each a little of their life with him so he might have the chance to live till the next moonless night. But one of them was a schoolgirl, and she said he could get a year of her life because she wanted to grow up faster anyway. Â I was not so sure that was a good idea, because even though I understood the childish desire to grow up, she might regret her sacrifice later. On the other hand, I did not want (my sim) to die. Â I had this choking feeling.
Then I woke up and realized that I was indeed kind of choking. Â I know I can’t quite trust my body at this time, as the last three days show, but this was all too familiar. I heard the characteristic wheezing sound when breathing out, which I remember from my childhood asthma.
This is not the first time I wake up to that sound even in my adult life. Â For a few years at least, I have exercise-induced asthma, albeit in a much milder form. Â It does not show up from light or moderate exercise, but if I start panting, the asthma kicks in. The wheezing on the last part of the out breath is really a clincher. Â (I not only had this as a child, my mother also got asthma in her old age.) Â It is no big surprise that I can get the same reaction after lifelike dreams, because REM sleep causes the heart to race and the lungs to labor, depending on the mood of the dream. Â Asthma attacks from REM sleep are pretty common. Â REM is also one of the most common triggers of heart attacks, and a lot of people die that way in the morning. Their relatives believe that they died peacefully in their sleep, but in most cases they probably died during or right after an intense dream, either dreaming about sex of another physical exertion like running. Obviously we will never know, but judging from those who survive, we have a pretty good idea.
But I digress. In any case, “madness is not the only danger in Â dreams. There is also the danger that something may be lost that can never be regained”, in this case life itself.
While asthma is a life-threatening disease, the attacks I have had as an adult have been much milder than my childhood asthma. This is normal. In fact, a number of high-level athletes have exercise asthma. Â They do however use medication to get around it. Â With inhalers, asthma that is not coupled with severe allergy is rarely fatal. Since I don’t have medication – I have not even consulted a doctor about this, as it is so rare – I just avoid that level of exercise. Â You can keep in decent shape without breathing quite hard enough to trigger it.
REM induced asthma is rarely if ever fatal without complications like allergy asthma, heart disease or OMG SWINE FLU. Â (I am so not looking forward to that one, as you may guess.) But the period before the bronchial swelling is fully reversed is quite uncomfortable, especially for one who has bad memories of life-threatening asthma.
I am not sure whether my subconscious is assisting in staging this attack. It seems likely, given the previous three days of imaginary breathing problems. You can’t fake the wheezing though, but I suppose you can “crisis-maximize” it, as we say around here. Psychological factors are known to make asthma attacks worse or milder, probably by affecting general breathing and heart rhythm.
If this is the case here, my subconscious must have something desperately important to tell me to run a risk like this on the very edge of the flu season.
Unfortunately for my dear readers, all previous big announcements of my subconscious have boiled down to “it’s time to shed another layer of your learned human-ness and become more alien.” Â Perhaps the message of this dream was a different one. Or perhaps the message of the dream was the reason why I got an asthma attack. Â It’s too early to say. Â In fact, it is like 4 AM, which is really too early for anything.