Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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April 1, 2014

The stuff dreams are made of

ASHLAND — My dreams are usually pretty much the same, populated with people I know and loosely grounded in reality. But I had a doozy the other night. Maybe it was the result of taking a dose of medicine for my aching knees or the culmination of a day of not-so-wise eating. Or it could be that my subconscious was trying to tell me something. I just know I prefer it to be a one-time experience.

Someone wise in the interpretation of dreams could probably figure me out. I dream in color and the one that recurs most starts at my late mother’s big house which morphs into an even bigger house with a fantastic hidden bedroom at the very top.

I like that dream. I wake up with a strong memory of it and don’t mind returning over and over to that mystery house.

The other night’s dream was just plain weird. It started with me going to the hospital for either tests or some small surgery. Whatever the reason, I was kept overnight.

My family came to visit, which was great. The fantasy stuff was very nice, making sure I had warm blankets and repeatedly offering me fresh coffee.

(Which proves it’s a dream, right?)

Best of all was that I was allowed pets with me as I recovered. I had Batman, the black girl kitty with me, and Fluffy, the poodle from my children’s growing-up years.

They were even allowed to get on the bed with me. The nurses kept my door shut all the time which I figured was to make sure the animals didn’t escape.

Whatever the problem was, the doctor advised that it would be best for me to stay a day or two more. Quite honestly, it was kinda nice there. The food was good and when the kids came to visit, they brought me snacks and stayed just the right amount of time.

Funny thing is that I hardly ever saw the doctor. I never left the room for X-rays or anything like that either. But I was enjoying my stay, especially since I had the cat and dog for company.

In the way of a good made-for-TV movie, my dream had a plot twist. I gradually realized that the hospital I was in wasn’t any I’d been in before, and I’ve spent time in my share of them.

The staff seemed awfully calm and considerate when they came in my room, too. The nurses were cheerful when they came in with my pills morning and night, always taking care to close the door, like I said.

I gradually came to realize that my children always talked to someone in the hall before they came in. And they were unusually careful in keeping their conversation light and cheery.

The tip-off came when it dawned on me that no one ever spoke to Batman or Fluffy but me, and they never got fed. After a few days of the closed doors and pills, the truth became apparent:

Batman, real as she is, wasn’t with me. And the long-dead dog cuddling up to me was imaginary.

Which meant that I was being kept under observation because I’d finally gone around the bend and been sent for a stay in a psych ward.

Naturally, in my dream, I demanded my freedom and got it despite my children’s reservations. I woke up missing our dear little Fluffy and a sudden urge to make a new will with Batman as sole beneficiary.

CATHIE SHAFFER, executive editor of The Greenup News, can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net

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