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Rude Awakening Illustration by Kayla Buium

Rude Awakening

Pills are often prescribed to seniors as a quick fix for sleep issues, but they aren’t a sustainable solution.

Georges Marcoux’s sleepless nights began with an ominous red phone. It was the 1980s, and after a decade living in Ottawa and Quebec City he had moved back to his home province of New Brunswick, to start a new job in a management position with the federal government. On his first day, he walked into his office to find a black phone on his desk and a red phone on the wall. “I asked my assistant, ‘What was that red phone for?’ And she said, ‘Well, this is [for] when the big boss calls,’” he tells me nearly forty years later.

The phone followed Marcoux into his dreams, taunting him with crimson foreboding. “Every night, I was thinking about that red phone and when that red phone was going to ring and why he [would be] calling me,” Marcoux recalls. He couldn’t sleep. After six months of fitful ...

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