Darth, I get it.

I completely understand.

You were cranky, tired, mean and vengeful for a reason.

You had sleep apnea. I can see why you'd have your breathing machine on at night but don't understand how you could stand it on all day, maybe you liked the way it made your voice sound -all bassy, resonant and inhale-y.

Not sure what the statistics are for people dying from sleep apnea, probably not that many, I wonder how many people were killed as a result of someone's sleep disorder. It's no fun to wake up tired, crabby, tired, everyday especially when you think you just slept through eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. It's enough to make you want to kill.

Perception vs reality.

A sleep study is a mild form of torture. Imagine a floor in an old office tower with multiple examining rooms all beautifully appointed with double beds and romantic florescent lighting. Once you get in your p.j.s they Franken-wire your entire body with archaic methods like sticking toothpaste in your hair to hold the probes on. Probes are placed all over your head, face, chin, jaw, neck, heart arms and legs. Two straps go over your waist and chest and a heart rate sensor is clipped to your finger. Each probe has multiple wires that lead back to some kind of a CPU, beside the bed which in turn sends the signals to some room where supposedly someone stays awake all night watching the signals. I imagine it looks like the bridge of the Enterprise. 

     I also imagine Scotty telling Kirk, 'the engines canna take it!'. Every twitch registers, wakefulness is timed and calculated. An infrared eye stares at you from above and the room's audio is also recorded. 

As I lay there uncomfortably trying to fall asleep, thoughts raced through my mind. What if they count the number of times I fart? What if I have to get up to go to the bathroom? 

Igor's disjointed tinny voice pipes in through a speaker, "Call me if you need to visit the bathroom, I will unhook you, just say my name, I'll hear you." (Say my name? Really? Lie here and just declare, "I need to go".)

 What if the probes can READ MY MIND and Igor and his Franken-buddies are sitting together laughing and placing bets on how many times Gotye will grind through my teeth and mind maddeningly keeping me awake! Can THEY HEAR MY THOUGHTS? Did I think of anything racist, rude, evil, etc? Do my thoughts offend, whoever you are? WAIT! I am totally lying in an office in the downtown core on the tenth floor in a bed I can't get used to and my thoughts won't turn off! Is this real life?

I try to toss and turn but my movements are met with resistance, millions of wires try to pull me back but I drag them over to my side with me. The adhesive on my neck bandage is starting to itch, the probes continue to pull back stubbornly. 

"If you want me to sleep I have to get comfortable and that means tossing and turning 'til I find the best position, get it!" I internally lecture the probes and wires. I imagine the wakeful probe watchers snickering at my attempts at comfort. Finally, things loosen up, I feel my mind settling, drifting to...

Igor walks in the room and plugs me back in.

I'm wide awake again. Wondering if I'll just stay awake and ruin the study.

"We never got a sleep reading, Cap'n, but you should check out what she was thinking all night."

"Dammit, Scotty. Not another night of Gotye! I hate that song!"

(You didn't have to count me out...)

"We gave it our best, sir."

(Some BUDDDEEEE!)

I give up trying to sleep and will Igor to come in and unhook me. No response. Igor must have fallen asleep.

"I have to go to the bathroom" I state as if Igor is beside me.

No response.

"I have to go to the baffroom" I call out like a potty-training toddler.

Igor arrives. Unplugs me and stuffs the miles of wires into my waist band. I go into the brightly florescent-lit hallway and do my business, looking up for signs of an infrared eyeball or a microphone. I try to pee quietly.

Back in bed the wires are untangled and plugged back in, I settle in for more hours of wakeful, teeth-grinding, fun.

Finally after hours of lying awake waiting Igor walks in unplugs me and sends me on my way. I try to scrub the toothpaste off my face, it smears around instead. I pat the top of my head and there's more toothpaste pushing through my hair. It's five am, I've been awake all night and now I have to ride public transportation home with a full head of toothpaste. Talk about your ride of shame. The only good news is that no one is awake enough to notice.

Weeks later I'm back at the clinic for a follow up.

"It took you 39 minutes to fall asleep" the doctor reported.

"But I didn't sleep at all".

"Yes, you slept for five hours" he said a little too smugly. 

I gave him the side eye and sneered. He said there were some signs of insomnia. (Really) and when I slept I snored. (Sure, uh huh). 

"And you stopped breathing approximately 13 times per hour" he declared a little too triumphantly. 

"So you have sleep apnea" 

Not a surprise. The husband said at night I had bouts of complete silence followed by loud gasps like I was struggling for air and very LOUD snoring. 

We ended the appointment with another one set for that night to try at CPAP machine to register the differences. Great. Another night of Igor, probes and now a lovelySnuffleupagus mask.

"Just like somebody that I used to know" he whistled as I walked out.
Jun 9, 2012

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