I can sleep on my left side.
I hadn't been able to do that in years - so many years that I can't remember when the first year was, or how long it took to realize that I might never sleep on that side again. All I know is that I used to try to ignore the clicking in my sternum, or near it; and I used to shift around and try to find a position where I could breathe without that soft click-click, shift-release, on and off with each and every breath; and it didn't hurt, exactly, but it felt very wrong, like it would certainly be hurting later if I let it carry on.
My theory was that some cartilage had been damaged somehow, so my rib cage wasn't quite as solid as it should be. And I didn't think cartilage could heal. So I slept on my right side.
I have never been able to sleep on my belly. On my back, yes, long ago, and still sometimes when I let down my guard. You see, a long time ago I woke suddenly, frantically, sitting straight up in bed from a dream of falling backwards, backwards, into blackness. I think it happened more than once, and then I just didn't sleep on my back unless I rolled there in my sleep without noticing. These days it's not that dreadful dream that wakes me, but the sound of my snoring.
It troubled me a little, having only one position to sleep in, especially when a limb would sleep longer, numb and prickling. Still, I lived with it.
And then I made a change in my life, a change that had nothing to do with the clicking in my chest - at least not as far as I was aware.
And some months later (a year, maybe?) I noticed that I was lying on my left, and my chest wasn't clicking. The click came back sometimes, gently, and I was patient, just trying that side for a little while each evening, turning back if the click returned. Finally it stayed away.
What a sweet moment that was, when I woke and realized that I was lying on my left side.
2 months ago