Friday, May 1, 2009

Dr. Carlos H. Schenck, M.D. on KCBS, CBS 2

The legendary Dr. Carlos H. Schenck, M.D. himself spoke out on KCBS yesterday! If you missed the story, you can read the transcript and view the video clip by clicking on the link below:

Violent Sleep Disorder Can Make Life a Nightmare

And of course, a wealth of information can be also found at Dr. Schenck's website, There you will also find information on his books and his DVD entitled "Sleep Runners".

I've said it before and I'll say it again and again... No words could ever express my family's appreciation for Dr. Schenck's extraordinary expertise and kindness and efforts to bring light to RBD!

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Dad on KABC, ABC 7

My Dad's story aired tonight! Click on the pic below to read the transcript or view the video at the KABC-TV website by clicking here:

'Night Terrors' Often Misdiagnosed

A special thanks again to KABC-TV Eyewitness News Los Angeles for helping bring light to RBD!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

KABC-TV Brings Light to RBD!

Today my Dad was interviewed by KABC-TV Eyewitness News about his experience with RBD. My Mom and I were there for moral support and also to talk about how it's effected our family. My Dad is by no means shy, but he's quite a private person and to be perfectly honest, I never thought he'd do it. I just can not express how proud I felt of him for speaking out publicly and sharing his story. And I'm so grateful to KABC-TV for helping to increase awareness. Supposedly the segment will air sometime next week so stay tuned!

And here's Curtis posing in front of the KABC-TV Eyewitness News van!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dad's Not the Only One

So today I revisted the RBD message boards I used to post on some time ago when I was desperately searching for help and support. I hadn't been on in awhile because 1). My Dad is doing so well and 2). The boards were always pretty quiet (meaning there were never many posts in the RBD forum). But today, much to my surprise, I came across several new postings written by people in just the past few months.

One in particular really struck a chord. It was written by a man who was 62 years old and entitled "Afraid of Myself". The title alone broke my heart because for so long I know that's how my Dad felt. In the post this man described several violent episodes that had occurred over the years, said he's at the point where he's afraid to go to sleep, and then went on to question what could contribute to him having RBD. He questioned everything from his childhood to issues of guilt to stress at work. I remember several doctors suggesting the possibility that my Dad's RBD was due to unresolved psychological issues, stress, pent-up anger, etc. And though I'm not discounting the fact that those kinds of things can exacerbate RBD episodes, the research proves over and over again that they are by no means the cause.

I responded to the man that wrote the post. I wrote several things, but most of all I just tried to offer some support and encouragement to get help and not give up hope. If there's one thing I've learned throughout my Dad's experience, it's that you have to be proactive and keep searching and pushing forward until you find someone that can help. We found that in Dr. Avidan and hopefully the more light that is shed on RBD, the more other people will be able to find the help they need and deserve.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Protecting Himself

Whenever I tell my Dad's story, the part that really fascinates people is when they hear about how he would restrain himself to go to sleep. He did this in an effort to protect himself and over time he learned what worked and what didn't. I speak in the past-tense because since my Dad's new treatment began in September 2008 things have changed (for the better I'm thrilled to report!). A picture's worth a thousand words, so here we go...

This was my Dad's bedroom. Basically, it's just a mattress on the floor. Furniture, lamps, TV, etc. had to be removed because the more barren the room, the safer. Hanging to the side of the bed are his wrists restraints. Not pictured is a little night-light he kept on in case he awoke during the night. Often when he awoke from an RBD episode in pitch darkness he was frightened and disoriented. The night-light seems to help.

This is the strap my Dad used to restrain himself to the bed. It went all the way under and around the mattress and he would fasten it around his chest, much like a seatbelt.

These are the wrist and ankle restraints and ski gloves my Dad wore. The gloves were worn to protect his hands in case he pounded and punched the hard wood floor during an RBD episode. He's busted open his knuckles and barely been able close his hands from the pain on numerous occasions while trying to fight off someone attacking him in his dreams.

These are his wrist and ankle restraints, worn just like handcuffs around his wrists and ankles. He made them himself out of nylon webbing, leather and padding. The wrist restraints are the only thing my Dad still wears. And at this point it's not so much out of necessity, but for his own peace of mind. Remember, a common thread amongst people with RBD is the feeling of being afraid of hurting themselves.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

RBD Safety Suggestions

Because one of the main symptoms of RBD is violent movement during sleep, one of the most important things is to take proper safety precautions. This article discusses RBD and presents some good suggestions for doing just that.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: Acting Out Your Dreams

All sleep disorders are inconvenient and often debilitating because we need sleep to function properly. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, however, is one of the most difficult sleep disorders to live with.


Friday, March 20, 2009

How Bad Did it Get?

I'm often asked what kinds of things my Dad has done during an RBD episode. Here's a sampling...

• He's jumped through a first floor window.

• He's suffered numerous cuts and gashes on his head from hurling himself out of bed.

• He's pounded, punched and beaten the floor and the walls to the extent that he severely busted up his knuckles and bruised his hands.

• He's yelled and screamed so loudly that he's woken the neighbors.

• He's gone head-first through a screen.

• He's woken up so disoriented and panicked that he thought he was losing his mind.

• He's thrown furniture (couches, chairs, lamps, tables, etc.) and hurled a TV across the room that was so heavy he could barely move it when he was awake.

• And most devastating of all to him, is that he's come very close to harming my Mom (
unknowingly and unintentionally of course), when they were sharing a bed.