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.