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Sleepless in Smithfield ... and learning

April 22, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

I have been learning many health tips from "The Doctor's" show, featuring Travis Stork, the emergency room doctor with looks that could pass for an actor, as one of the panelists. But I am gaining the medical information from watching the show at 1:30 a.m. No I didn't hit the wrong computer keyboard key. It is a.m.

It's not that I stay up just for that reason. I seem to awaken around that time each night and know from previous experiences that I am going to stay awake until about 3 a.m. So, I turn on the television, hoping it will lull me back to dreamland.

It just doesn't happen. Neither does reading a boring or not so boring book or getting up to do a few meaningless chores. I'm awake and just have to deal with it.

I have tried making the bedroom pitch black, as has been suggested on "The Doctor's" but having a dog who feels the need to have a potty break at least once during the night makes it tricky navigating around the room in the darkness to get downstairs. And I had one bump on the forehead that was slow to go away from hitting into a door at the home of our son, Jay. This occurred from walking about in the darkness, I might add.

At times when the bedroom has been darkened, I lie there and watch the patterns on the ceiling between the slats in the blinds as cars pass by. Also listening to noises of the insects of the night is another pastime. Some make the weirdest sounds.

I will not take over-the-counter sleeping medication more than once or twice a week. This is done only after I am running into walls and falling asleep at my work desk from being sleep deprived.

Then I decide I need at least five good hours of sleep. Five straight hours sounds good to me as I fitfully doze for about two hours, awaken, then go about the same process several hours later. I learned from "The Doctor's" that five hours is not enough, and those who sleep very few hours tend toward being diabetic. Yikes, another health problem to worry about.

I had observed something I thought could be a lifesaver on the drug store shelf, as the advertisement read "Breathe better. Sleep better." What could be better than that?

It was for nasal strips called Breathe Right Advanced, and it looked easy enough. Just plaster the strips to your nose and fall right off to slumberland. Wonderful!

Right at the start I knew this was not going to be easy. I peeled the paper from the back of a strip that rather resembled a butterfly. The instructions told the user to place the shorter top band on the midline of the nose, not too close to the tip.

Without my glasses, because they would interfere with the placement of the strip, I read this as not too close to the lip, and this threw me for a second. OK, I got the proper placement of the top strips and tried to get them to stick to my nose. All they wanted to do was stick straight out like the wings on a model airplane!

I took the strip off and bent it in the middle to make a tent. Now it stuck, but it looked like the bill of a chicken with that little bump on the top of its beak. And besides, when I was in a half sitting-up position to watch television until I drifted off, the bump obstructed my vision a bit.

That finally took care of the top strip, but the lower strip that was supposed to open the nasal passages more completely wanted to do the same thing, stand out like wings as the ones above had done.

I pinched them down tightly, with the thought that when I let loose that they would stay. One side would cooperate and the other would not.

I finally got them stuck but in reading further into the instructions, the user was directed to use warm water to remove the strips and to do it slowly as improper removal could irritate the skin. I didn't seem to have the removal problem at that moment though. I just needed them to stay put.

When I walked out of the bathroom, Ozzie looked up at me and had the good grace to look down in a hurry as if to stifle a giggle. I was glad that Lamont was already asleep.

I don't know if the exertion of getting that nasal strip affixed to my nose tired me out or what, but guess what? I did not awaken to see the medical show. I did see the last hour of the news show with Rob Nelson and Paula Faris though. That was at 4 a.m. At least I got five hours of steady sleep and even dozed a bit more until it was time to get up. Then I had a hard time getting the strips off my nose, and it left a red spot.

Will I use them again? Probably. I won't do it every night. It is too nerve-wracking to get all the strips attached in the right spots. And who knows, maybe some night Lamont won't be asleep when I accomplish the job, and he and Ozzie can snicker together at my "clownish" looks.


I wanted to alert anyone who cares to see my two oldest granddaughters on television that they are traveling by bus with the Worthington Christian School Choir to New York City and have big plans to appear in the crowd outside of the "Today Show" on Friday, or Saturday if the bus is too late for the first day.

The students have all purchased school shirts alike and will have signs announcing their presence.

They have been looking forward to this visit for weeks. I hope they have an enjoyable time. There will be Amber, a brunette with long flowing hair, a junior, and Jessie with lighter hair, a freshman.

When they get back, Amber will be practicing for the school play, "The Musical," where she has two solos. This will be May 10-12 at the school. She has a wonderful voice, but she did not get it from her grandmother McCoy.


I attended the first birthday of Autumn Grafton on April 7 at the Friendship Park shelter. She really dug into the small cake that her parents Joell and Lee had for her to enjoy. I think I have finally gotten familiar with calling her Autumn.

Knowing that her name was a season, I was calling her Summer during her first Jefferson County Fair visit. It was a grandmother, Mary Ellen Grafton, who corrected me. My excuse was, " I knew it was some season." Her other grandparents are Joel and Debbie Bensie.

And while I am on the subject of the Graftons, Mary Ellen is working very hard on the Jefferson County Farm Soiree that will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Zalenski's.

Reservations are still open, so you can call the bureau office at (740) 266-6603 for tickets, which are $12 for farm bureau members and $15 for nonmembers.

The promotion and education members will be wearing old-time hats and ask that anyone with one in their closet to wear it also.

Shirley Griffin will be the speaker, talking about the problem that all women seem to have at times - "I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear." It should be an enjoyable time. There will be plenty of door prizes and a Chinese auction as well.

Back to the party, it's ironic that I should see my nephew, Tom Toth, at the party. We live next door and never run into each other there. I met his girl- friend, Nicki, as well. I truly have to apologize because she said she thought I knew her aunt, Angela Lanham, and my most terrible senior moment occurred right then because I could not think of any Angela that I might know.

It dawned on me as I was driving home that she probably meant Angel Lanham, a lady who was a complete angel to my mother-in-law, Bessie, for many years. She would call her each evening to see if she were doing well and did shopping chores for her. I'm so sorry, Angel.


Again I have to mention the death of someone I knew very well in my youth, Lana Padolsky McQuaid. She was four years younger than I but we were good friends.

The family moved to Michigan, and I did not see her again until the Apple Festival in 2006 when she came to Smithfield from her Tappan-area home and looked me up.

She was recovering from a slight stroke but was getting along very well at the time of the festival. My sympathies go out to her husband, Ralph, and her son, David, and a grandson by the same name.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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