Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011

Sleepy Cartoons: Sleeping Beauty 1

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Sleeping Beauty has captured imaginations for centuries and provided inspiration for many artists, writers, filmmakers and composers from the ballet “Sleeping Beauty” (Tchaikovsky, 1890), to the current film “Sleeping Beauty” (2011) with Sally Potter introducing Julia Leigh.

Originally, the stories were passed down from generation to generation through the art of story telling. The first recorded version of Sleeping Beauty has been traced back to Giambattista Basile, Italy (1632). He collected and wrote down the collection of Neapolitan Fairy Tales, titled Lo cunto de li cunti overo lo trattenemiento de peccerille, also known as Il Pentamerone. You can read extracts of early versions here: Sleeping Beauty and her Rapist and here: Gruesome fairytale endings.  Basile and later Perrault (Charles Perrault included in 1697, La Belle au Bois Dormant in Contes de ma Mere l’Oye – ‘Tales of Mother Goose’.), according to folklorists, joined together two versions of ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The first version is the more familiar, traditionally romantic and censored version whereas the second version is (briefly)…

…closer linked to the gruesome stories already mentioned above. The prince basically kept Sleeping Beauty as a (secretly married) “mistress” had two children, until he had ascended his throne. He then brought his family to his capital where he left the regency to his Ogre Queen Mother while he went to war with the neighbouring countries. The ogre sent the young queen to the woods and demanded that the children be served up to her for dinner. After much gruesome tumultuous activity the King appears in the nick of time and then they live happily ever after.

Doesn’t it sound strange that the two versions existed side by side? Another reader suggests that they were originally part of the same story where part 2 follows on from part 1. How could that be? Especially when they are so different in styles, characters etc. I think that Perrault and The Grimm Brothers started a process of cleaning up the crude folk tales and by the time the story reached the Victorians most of them had become ‘suitable’ for children. There must have been many many variations on the story of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, probably as many as there were storytellers. I also believe that as soon as a folk tale goes into print – it starts to become a commodity – an object, the story becomes more fixed and controlled. When a storyteller tells a folk tale he keeps the elements and exaggeration fluid to suit its audience. In addition, he/she personalises it by making their story unique, so that more people will want to hear ‘Sleeping Beauty’ even if they have heard it before. These examples are the oldest variants on the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ theme.

The Grimm Brothers edited their collection of folktales seven times during the beginning of 1800’s. At one point they almost edited out “Sleeping Beauty” because they thought it was too French-centric (Perrault). They, then, came across the story of Brynhildr in the Volsunga saga (Norse mythology) and because the similarities were so striking they decided to keep “Sleeping Beauty”. I think Brynhildr is a much more interesting version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’:

Brynhildr is a Valkyrie and the daughter of Budli. She was ordered to decide a fight between two kings, Hjalmgunnar and Agnar, and knew that Odin preferred the older king, Hjalmgunnar, yet she decided the battle for Agnar. For this Odin condemned her to live the life of a mortal woman, and imprisoned her in a remote castle behind a wall of shields on top of mount Hindarfjall in the Alps, where she must sleep within a ring of fire until any man rescues and marries her. The hero Sigurðr Sigmundson (Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied), heir to the clan of Völsung and slayer of the dragon Fafnir, entered the castle and awoke Brynhildr by removing her helmet and cutting off her chainmail armour. He immediately fell in love with the shield maiden and proposed to her with the magic ring Andvaranaut.

The story about Brynhildr doesn’t end with…’and they lived happily ever after’, it continues with several twists and turns that I will let you read about on your own.  The Valkyrie Brynhildr is an image of a strong-minded, attractive woman with red fiery hair holding a sword and shield.

In the next post I will continue with ‘Sleeping Beauty’ 2: Why is the story so popular? What did Disney do to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and what message does the image of ‘Sleeping Beauty” convey to young girls about being a woman?


Written by Queen of Sleep

July 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Sleepy Cartoons

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Molly Hartwick On Sleep Disorders among Cancer Patients

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Gypsophila Paniculata can help to break down cancer cell membranes

What kind of sleep disorders do cancer patients have, and how can sleep disorders affect cancer patients?

Acid Reflux, also known as GERD, is one sleep disorder that can lead to cancer, according to an article, “GERD and Sleep,” on the official website of the National Sleep Foundation. The disease, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, affects five to seven percent of the world’s population, and those with the problem have nighttime heartburn. Those with the problem often have insomnia, restless legs syndrome daytime sleepiness, and sleep apnea in greater degrees than those without it. People with the disease often cough and choke while sleeping or attempting to sleep.

According to the article, “Sleep Disorders,” on the official government website, cancer.gov, the diagnosis of cancer, is one factor, along with anxiety, loss of social support, and depression that leads to sleep disorders among those 65 and older.

According to the National Cancer Institute, those diagnosed with cancer, such as mesothelioma, have a greater risk of developing insomnia and for being affected by disorders of the cycle of sleeping and waking. Although there are many other disorders, insomnia is the most prevalent among the American population, according to the Institute. Among cancer patients, insomnia can be caused by physical or psychological factors, and even by the cancer treatment itself, according to the website of The National Cancer Institute.

Sleep problems can be increased by cough, pain, fever, draining lesions, gastrointestinal alterations, fatigue, and other factors among cancer patients. They can also be caused by vitamins and such medications as neuroleptics, which are given to treat nausea and vomiting, corticosteroids, and sympathomimetics which are given for the treatment of dyspnea.

Treatment of cancer patients can cause side effects, such as pain, hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, incontinence, and others that can affect the cycle of waking and sleeping.

Medicines given to patients can affect sleep, including hypnotics, sedatives, propranolol, methyldopa, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, thyroid preparations, alcohol, and others.

Doctors have found that some treatments that work for healthy patients with insomnia often work for cancer patients too. They believe the best treatments involve physical and psychological factors, however. They do not want cancer patients to take hypnotics on a long-term basis. Using some medicines to treat insomnia among cancer patients can be harmful, according to many doctors. Such treatments as cognitive therapy (talking therapy), stimulus control, and sleep restriction often seem to work best. About 30 to 54 percent of cancer patients experience insomnia. Some doctors believe that treatment for insomnia should be routine among those being treated for cancer.

Molly Hartwick

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Written by Queen of Sleep

July 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

Laughing – a complicated pleasure

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A few days ago, I really let myself go and laughed as much as could. I haven’t laughed like that for years, partly due to fear of loosing control of my body and partly because the electrical currents that roam around my brain hurt. It’s difficult to explain because it doesn’t feel like pain, perhaps more like a medium pained cramp and then it makes you absolutely exhausted. I am taking medication that is supposed to control cataplexy but it doesn’t so do it so well so I simply avoid genuine laughing, frustration, anger, centre of attention /surprise situations. In social situations, I don’t even think about it anymore – sometimes I just walk away, sit down or my speech gets slurred. People don’t tend to notice. My body reacts so violently internally on external stimuli and it’s hardly visible on the outside. Occasionally, it makes me feel strange – to carry around this burden (hidden disability) because so much in our contemporary culture exists on the surface.
Except from one or two, a majority of my friends have no idea how funny I can be. I would die of laughter 😉 if I didn’t practise self-restraint! I don’t have to vocalise my sense of humour to trigger an attack. It’s enough just thinking about it. Yes, I have had to learn to control my thoughts – how? I can hear you ask. Stop your mind racing – don’t think of anything. Or if something is triggering cataplexy think of the direct opposite. Not just think the thought – you have to feel and live the opposite thought so your brain registers it as reality. It helps me sometimes when I am in public places and I can feel my muscles start to weaken.
Anyway, so two days ago I had a friend over and I laughed hard for at least 30 minutes. I had to sit/lay in my bed because otherwise I wouldn’t have been safe. Laughing, having attack after attack after attack, then back to talking, laughing, more laughing and then attack attack laughing attack…. I got completely exhausted and my brain was hurting  but it was worth it. I was elated and deliriously happy in a way I haven’t experienced for years.

Written by Queen of Sleep

June 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

ATOS HEALTHCARE Recruitment Day Picket – 14th of June 2011

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Sometimes easy to think ” What is going on in the world! Why is everything so difficult? Why isn’t anybody listening? Is it just me who can’t manage? Why does the Job Centre lose everything I send them? Why does it seems like there is a ghost in the admin-machine, regularly sending me the wrong letters and sometimes not any at all? Why is it that when I try to fill in the ATOS medical form not a single question is applicable to a neurological disorder? Why do I have to chase up committees, secretaries and call centre staff on a regular basis? Rant! Rant! Rant! All these thoughts race around in my mind and suddenly I look up at a stand outside the local Argos. It has two rather pale people in their mid 40’s-50’s distributing flyers, providing information on ‘Being a Carer’. I get a leaflet and read: ATOS Healthcare Recruitment Day Picket!  At first I am a little confused as to the meaning of the headline. The word recruitment and picket doesn’t seem to gel in my mind but then I get it. Two local charities are picketing outside the recruitment office of ATOS warning potential new employees of ATOS “about their despicable” reputation. It is obviously also an opportunity to voice a rejection of the NHS reforms currently being under scrutiny. The leaflet says that the financial crisis is being used as an excuse to drive through the ConDem government’s ideological attack on the welfare state. ATOS’s multi-million contract with the government  is to help achieve this.

The picket will take place on the 14th of June: 5pm – 8pm at Atos Origin, 4 Triton Square, Regent’s Place, NW1

For more information on the charities: IHOOP, DPAC  and many many more…

Written by Queen of Sleep

June 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

‘NHS reform is safe’ – Andrew Lansley makes private plea for Tory support | Politics | The Guardian

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‘NHS reform is safe’ – Andrew Lansley makes private plea for Tory support | Politics | The Guardian.

What an odd and contradictory situation! Is this what happens when the Tories are trying to push through a reform and have to compromise? Or are they compromising? Langsley says that no red line has been crossed and encourage Tory MP’s to support the amendments whereas Nick Clegg is celebrating a victory over the conservatives and call it muscular liberalism all the while the conservatives are sulphurously celebrating the new reform . GP’s will be handling 65% of the NHS budget deciding who will be approved for medical treatments. What will happen to decisions on orphan drugs? Do they have the expertise to be able to decide on them? From my point of view, it appears that the post-code lottery (depending on the area you live in = quality of GP) that exists in the UK in terms of the quality of care you are able to receive on the NHS is just getting worse. I had to fight for a referral to a my neurologist, my GP didn’t listen. Would the same GP have provided the recommended medication regime? Somehow, if I had stayed with this particular GP: I don’t think so!

And, we still don’t know what and how the position of  specialist research hospitals in relation to the PG Consortiae …

Written by Queen of Sleep

June 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Dangerous Dreams – Channel 4

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Dangerous Dreams – Channel 4.

This program on Channel 4 is available to stream. I apologise to anyone outside the UK if you can not watch the material. I haven’t seen it yet but will squeeze it in as son as possible. Dreams and death is a fascinating subject with room for many different types of death related experiences. I think it is quite common to dream about people who are passing over or are just about to pass over. I have many (non narcolepsy) friends that it has happened to. The first time you die in a dream or kill someone in a dream feels now, retrospectively almost like a rite of passage JUST because it is so frightening and upsetting the very first time it happens. It is always upsetting but the first time it happened to me I thought I was loosing it.

Wish you all a sunny lovely Saturday!

Sleep more Dream More, QoS

Written by Queen of Sleep

June 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

Neurology care ‘is lacking’ for UK patients

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BBC News – Neurology care ‘is lacking’ for UK patients.

I am not surprised reading the above article on the state of neurology care in the UK as the diagnosis of narcolepsy is on average delayed by 12 years.  Steve Ford, Chair of the Neurological Alliance, said: “Patients with neurological conditions need to see the right specialist at the right time in the right place, but evidence shows clearly that this isn’t happening due to poorly organised services and not enough specialist care.”

The Department of Health takes the opportunity to  say that this is a reason to push for the new NHS reform. Giving more power to GP’s  and moving decision making closer to the patient? I’m not convinced that is such a good  idea considering GP’s knowledge of narcolepsy (and other sleep disorders)  appears to be very limited. How do they envision the relationship between specialist and GP? Who will be making decisions? Who is the most suited to making decisions?

Written by Queen of Sleep

June 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

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