Too Much, Too Many, Too Little

Last night’s supper at 8:30 was followed by the usual evening dosage of medications before bedtime: metformin, atorvastatin, amlodipine besylate and alprazolam, all swallowed down by two large glasses of iced coffee (not decaf) which my daughter had prepared for me in a large pitcher in the refrigerator. Too much coffee!!!

Later, I read information on the computer for part two of an article that I was preparing to write. Bedtime at 1:30 in the morning. Tossed and turned, overcome with past memories.

Too many memories.

All this combined to give me  too little sleep…. Almost no sleep at all.

And now, at 4:30 in the morning I am sitting at my computer once again, having just taken the usual morning dosage of medications: myrbetriq, glipizide, sertraline and a daily small aspirin. Nine pills daily.

I asked my son (who is also my doctor) what did patients do before all these medications were invented.

“Simple,” he replied. “They died.”

Too much coffee. Too little sleep. And too many memories. Our Israeli-born Canaan dog sleeps on the bed next to mine…on the bed upon which my beloved wife of 56 happy years of marriage, died from dreadful months of suffering from pancreatic cancer two years ago.

I remember everything about our lives together. She was my light. Without her I walk in darkness with very little meaning or purpose in my life.

Now at the ungodly hour of 4:30 in the morning I am attempting to complete thoughts for this article, my 711th to be published, and sending it off to my editor in Jerusalem hoping that she will not fall asleep reading it!

In another week, a new year will be ushered in. The year 2019 (may it be for a blessing) will see me at age 86, my children at ages 58, 57 and 52 and my grandchildren at ages 23, 20 and 18. The six of them are God’s great gift to me. They call me every day to ask how I feel,  how did I sleep (I don’t tell them that I didn’t) and did I eat properly and exercise. They visit me as often as their work and family schedules allow. I know how blessed I am and in my morning prayers I give thanks to God for them.

I also have pleasant memories of some of the more than 3,500 students I taught over a period of 50 years. One of them, David, is a world-famous archaeologist of the Near East and a renowned scholar of ancient Babylonian and Assyrian cuneiform languages, an author of more than 20 books. He e-mails me every day, forwarding articles he thinks may be of interest to me. I like his jokes best of all.

And I often see Shellie and Cindy, two 60ish grandmothers, who were my students in 1957-1959. They remind me, when we see one another, of things I said and did in the classroom.  (I had hoped they had forgotten!!)

In recent times, prior to my retirement in 2006, I remember Arthur very well. He was the son of a Russian Jewish mother and a Christian Armenian father and often shared adventures he had while traveling with his father to visit family in Armenia.

Arthur was a tall, handsome 18 year-old student with movie-star good looks and a big bright smile. He was a devoted student who took his lessons seriously and who brought me a great deal of pleasure.

Each day, at the end of our class, he would follow me into my office to continue a conversation, whether on the subjects of Hebrew language which he studied or about some Jewish religious practices or customs. Arthur was eager to learn as much as he could.

One day, I invited him to be my lunch guest at a nearby restaurant. While we were waiting for the meals to be served we talked. (I don’t remember about what).  But an elderly woman sitting at the next table turned to us and said “it’s so nice to see a father and his son sitting and talking together.”

Arthur and I  both laughed and I said to him, “Don’t call me Daddy, because I am not going to give you an allowance!”

On another occasion, he came into my office and something happened to offend him. He walked out and never returned to my office, but he continued coming to class daily, did very well on his tests and final exam and earned a good grade.

Too many memories dull my mind. Over the last 14 years, I have learned that he is in health care in the nursing department of a very prominent large hospital. I know that he is a success and always will be, bringing happiness into the lives of the patients for whom he cares,

He is probably 32 or 33 years old by this time. I don’t know if he is married and has children. But if so, I can guarantee that he is a loving and faithful husband and an adoring father to his children.

So much for the coffee and the memories. I’m going to hop back into bed with the hope of a few more hours of sleep. I can do without the coffee and the memories. But I cannot do without sufficient sleep.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.