It is 12:15 am and I am wide awake.

The wide-eyed, thought racing, insomnia induced awake.

It’s caused by the pain and the meds, from the flair and the medication to treat it. I’m trying not to move as pain alights in different parts of my body, signal fires to betrayal, so that I don’t disturb my husband. He must drive us to work tomorrow. I am going to work. I don’t have sick days, only PTO, and they are the canteen in the desert, the water measured out in doses through the year and I’ve been gluttonous with them too early.

It is 1 am and I am mapping the joints of my body.

I’m creating a new Grey’s Anatomy, filled with my pain structure, to become doctor to myself.

It starts with the right ankle, both knees, the space two inches below my left hip socket, my lower back, both elbows, my right wrist, and heart. The last is the anchor that pulls the rest of my fatigue-heavy limbs into their resting place. It is heavy with fear, with anxiety, with thoughts of this being the new normal. And I wait for insomnia to wear itself down, for the negativity of the night to fall to nothing. For somnus to be the only thing left.

It is 6am and I at some point fell asleep.

I wake, not refreshed, but to crusted eyes and stiff, aching joints.

I wait for the dogs to come, my husband out of bed five minutes after the alarm to let them out and feed them. Another thing that I cannot do in the mornings. After he takes them back downstairs I stir from my cocoon, birth myself into the cold morning — past the pain, the fear, the anxiety — to my new normal.