In A Pickle  

Sleep clinic mania

Florencestein, my alter ego, materialized after the technician attached the last wire to my scalp.  

Soon it would be lights out at the sleep clinic and she’d play her part as if trapped in a B-rated horror movie. 

Her mentor Frankenstein would have been proud. 

She was a lab experiment for unseen persons hiding behind a one-way mirror who’d scrutinize and record her every move while she slept. 

They would deploy an infrared camera and high-tech equipment for their research.

A nocturnal polysomnogram would log Florencestein's brainwaves, oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing, along with eye and leg movements. 

The test would determine the cause of her debilitating insomnia. 

The sleep clinicians waited with bated breath for the sleeping pill to kick in to render Florencestein unconscious.  

In the meantime, she gave them a run for their money. She whispered loudly in the dark while performing a shadow puppet show on the bedroom wall.

The scripts included Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, using the red glowing oxygen sensor light on her forefinger, followed by a rendition of Little Bunny Foo Foo’s children’s fairy tale lyrics.

Youngster Danny Lloyd in The Shining took over in an eerie childlike voice, Redrum Redrum, she hissed. Florenstein continued to wriggle her finger in front of her face and carried on a dialogue.

No wonder Florenstein is sleep deprived, with nightmares. 

She was abruptly awakened at 6 a.m. by the same detached clinician from the night before. In a nasally voice, he shrilled, “Wake up, Wake up. It is time to go.”

Chop chop, time’s a wasting, she thought, annoyed by his bedside manner, or lack thereof. 

Up she got and traipsed barefoot into the next room to have all the wire removed. After, the attendant unceremoniously showed Florencestein the door.

The quick exit was because of COVID-19 protocol, but she couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to it.

Still groggy, she staggered across the parking lot while fumbling for the keys. Once inside her vehicle, Florencestein had an epiphany. She realized that her puppet show was likely disturbing to her viewers.

She wondered if during the night she may have shouted “Here’s Johnny,” as she sprang out of bed.  The wires protruding from her face and body held her fast to the wall, so she ended up clothes lined,

She was blissfully unaware, catching Zs while the show went marching on. 

Who knows what strange and freaky things happen at a sleep clinic to the participants with sleep disturbances.  The recorded episodes might be far too creepy for the clinicians to even report to the patients. 

The medical team, glad to see the back of her head, would then study the data collected for a full month before the report would be ready.

In the meantime, Florencestein was lying low, sleepless in Kelowna. 


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About the Author

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel writes about the humour in every-day life, and gets much of her inspiration from the late Erma Bombeck’s writing style. 

Doreen also has a serious side, shares her views on current events, human-interest stories and sometimes the downright bizarre. 

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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