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Test Gives Writer Naptown Nap Time
My doctor recently ordered me to take a sleep test.
Let me say that again, because I'm still having trouble getting my brain wrapped around it:
I. Flunked. Sleeping.
Gee, and if ever there was something I thought I did well. ...
Actually, that was the problem. I was too good at it. Not only was I getting my customary six-and-a-half hours (usually interrupted at 3 a.m. by that which awakens men of a certain age at 3 a.m., also known as ... on second thought, never mind), I was getting in some extra snooze practice during the day. As in I couldn't get through the afternoon without spending a little time in the arms of Morpheus.
"I think you may have sleep apnea," said the doctor. "Let's get it checked."
Now, I've noticed that every time doctors are about to make your life more interesting, they use the plural form - let's get it checked, we should do some tests - as if they were going to be wearing the funny gown and shivering on the gurney right beside you. And they keep up this illusion right until the bill comes, at which point they switch back to the second person singular.
Now, the sleep tests (there were two) weren't really so bad. Basically, you go to a sleepover at a clinic that has a bunch of rooms made up to look like a motel, circa 1982 or so. It isn't the Conrad, but neither is it the No-Tell. Not with those video cameras mounted up by the ceiling.
You get into your PJs (no sleeping El Buffo; I asked), and then someone attaches about 36 miles of wire to your head. The wires are then plugged into a socket on the wall, and while you are wondering about the possibility of electrocution, they tell you to relax and go to sleep. You do as you are told, thinking that if you are electrocuted you'd rather be asleep when it happens.
Then, the next morning, they wake you up to tell you that you have sleep apnea.
That's how it worked for me, anyway.
Sleep apnea means you stop breathing during your sleep. With me it happened enough to warrant a second test, this time wearing an air mask hooked up to a pump designed to keep you breathing whether you want to or not. It's called a CPAP, which stands for Constant Pumping Annoys Partner. No, seriously, it makes a whooshing sound but it didn't seem loud to me. Then again, you have to remember that I live near a fire station, a heliport, a railroad line and directly under one of the airport's more popular flight paths.
They start on low pressure and then increase it gradually, in carefully calculated increments, going little by little up the dial until you start whistling out the other end. The proper pressure is determined by the difficulty of the tune you play. I understand mine was the “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
So now, the story goes, I'm to pick up one of these scuba mask things for home use. This, supposedly, will help me to sleep better at night (except for the 3 a.m. deal) and that, in turn, will keep me awake during the afternoons.
We'll see about that, but it won't be this afternoon. I'm sleepy. Naptime.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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