Well, it was disturbing at the time, but mostly funny later.
At the time, I was living alone. I fell asleep (and consequently woke up) on my side with my arm under my pillow and under the weight of my head. Essentially, my bicep was right under my ear. My elbow was bent so that my hand was then resting on my face by reaching across the top of my head. The weight of my head completely put that arm to sleep, I mean really completely, no sensation in it whatsoever. Also, no motor control.
When I woke up, I realized there was something on my face. I reached up with my other hand to see what it was. My hand recognized it as a hand, and not just a hand but clearly a masculine hand. (Bare in mind, the not quite perfect mental function that some people have when they first awaken.) Since the “asleep” hand on my face had zero sensation of being touched, it was perfectly convincing that it was another person’s hand on my face.
So, I wake up thinking, hmmm… a strange man’s hand is on my face, that must mean that I also have a whole strange man in bed with me. (I am male also.) It was a pretty scary feeling to wake up with. It took me an agonizingly long time to figure out it was really my hand and no one else there. In reality, it was only a few seconds, but they were a long few seconds.
I haven’t done that, but I did lose a leg once. I was sitting with my legs crossed in one position for an hour furiously taking notes in a chem class. When the class ended I stood up to leave and found that my right leg was completely useless. I was sitting in the end seat, too, so a lot of people were trying to get past me, but there was no way I could get up those stairs. Not as startling as your experience, but pretty humiliating.
No, but I do have a story about fuzzy thinking about one’s body when waking from a deep sleep… I woke up about 3am on a weeknight, during my senior year of high school, and not only could I not open my eye, there were tears and goo leaking from it. My logical conclusion was that I somehow managed to pop my eye. (I’d recently dissected an eye for my anatomy class, and it certainly seemed to contain similar goo) I only got back to sleep after waking my parents who assured me that having contracted conjunctivitis was a more probable reason for the condition of my eye. Boy am I glad they were right!
While I never mistook my hand for someone else’s, I did put it to sleep so thoroughly that I somehow managed to slap myself in the face a few times before realizing what I was doing. I don’t function well out of a sound sleep…
Actually, I still distinctly remember the chain of thoughts slowly chuncking through my sleep enshrouded mind as I woke.
hmmm… there’s something on my face.
hey, its a hand.
and a man’s hand at that.
and there must be a man attatched to it.
and I live alone now (recently divorced at that point) and there was no one in the house when I went to sleep.
and then a whole cascade of:
What kind of wierdo would break in just to slip into bed with me?
Is he insane?
Am I gonna die (if I wake him up)?
I don’t remember ever confusing my hand for someone else’s, but there have been many times when I’ve woken up with an arm completely asleep. The worst part about it is that I won’t realize that I have no control over it until I am just about to rely on it for support. This usually results in a faceplant in my pillow or falling out of bed into the nearest piece of furniture.
Back in college, I came home from school one afternoon and sprawled across the bed face down. At some point, I remember feeling chilly and putting my arms underneath my body for warmth. I managed to do them both in. I realized it when the phone rang and I awoke with that odd panic you sometimes get that makes answering the phone or door or whatever seem vitally important. First of all, it’s surprising how hard it is to get up quickly without the use of your arms. Trying to answer the phone that way just cracked me up, though, and pushed the panic aside.
Okay, so maybe it would have been more interesting if I had woken up thinking there was a man lying underneath me.
Pismonque, hilarious post. Reminds me of Steven Wright who said, wouldn’t it be great if you could take your arms off? He pantomimes taking his right arm off and hanging it on a hook on the wall. Then he looks at his left arm with this confounded expression . . .
I like sleeping with one arm flung over my head, and my arm falls asleep all the time. I’ve never gotten confused as to whose limbs are whose, but I have tried to pick my arm up with the other hand and dropped it on my own face because I underestimated how heavy it is when it’s just deadweight. It’s an icky feeling–an limp, slightly clammy arm that doesn’t belong to you flopping down onto your face. . .
Right, it’s just Clinton bashing, cuz it’s not like Clinton had a reputation for sleeping around or anything like that. Besides, if W. had a handful of coke, you think he’d really be there sleeping? More likely, scotth would have been shaken awake and then asked, “Hey man, you got a little mirror around here or something?”
I once had the same experience as the OP. I woke up because I could feel this thing under my pillow. I felt it and it was cold and hard. Then I opened my eyes and picked it up. I honestly thought someone had put a severed arm under my pillow. My heart was beating at 1000 mph.
Then I woke up (pun not intended) to myself and realised that it was attached to my own body. I then proceeded to play with my dead arm until it regained feeling.
This has happened to me on several occasions. It’s scary, because every time you try to fling the “intruder’s” hand away from your face, it comes flying back. After it’s hit you on the nose a few times you come to your senses and you stop yelling “who is it???”. Within 10 minutes, your pulse is back to normal.
Not quite the whole arm problem, but lately, as I’m just lying in bed, my head on my crossed arms, I’ll feel something brush against my face. The first time, I seriously thought it was some huge bug crawling on my face, but it turned out just to be my index finger moving ever so slightly involuntarily.
It can still startle me out of a half-doze state, though.
I had that happen to me once. I woke up and couldn’t feel my arm ~ no way, no how ~ and I panicked, thinking something terrible had happened. I even considered the possibility of a stroke (even though I was only 19 or 20).
It took a good 5 minutes before I got that “tingly” feeling that you get as the blood flow starts to return to the offending (or offended?) limb.
On a side note, sometimes when I get out of the tanning booth my butt cheeks are all numb/tingly, lol.