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There is Always Something Else

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Well, during the two days I was in the psycho ward of our local hospital having my medication crisis, the nurses and aids noticed that I was snoring with great volume and that I would stop breathing, scaring the socks off them, then gasp and sit up and start breathing again. Personally, I don’t remember any of that. I thought I was getting two of the best nights of sleep that I had gotten in ages. Really, the best. In ages.

As a result of this thunderous tumult in the night, I was signed up for a “Sleep Study.” As a result, I found myself re-entering the hospital I had just left a few days ago, clutching my slippers and favorite pj’s, ready to sleep the night away. After I’d filled out all the paperwork and signed God knows what away (my rights, my money, my house?), I watched a less than riveting DVD on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and what the signs and symptoms were. All going to plan so far, yawn.

Then my sweet little technician came in. She was very kind, and she stuck a whole lot of leads on me. All over my head, my jaw, neck, EKG leads on my back and chest, little belts with sensors around my chest and stomach, and leads on my shins. I am now attached to this box where all the leads...lead, which can be plugged and unplugged, if I need to go to the bathroom or something. Of course, the very moment she mentioned the bathroom, my bladder demanded immediate attention, so I got to practice with them before I had to go in the middle of the night. 

The box is sort of hanging off your shoulder on a strap, and you gently (because you don’t want to dislodge them) take the many, many wires off to one side, sit down, and pee approximately three drops. Thanks bladder! I went back and lay down, and she plugged in the box, along with a little thing that went in my nose that nearly drove me mad, and a clip on my finger they call a PulseOx, which measures my pulse and the oxygen levels in my blood. Then we turned off everything in the room, and she left (after calibrating all the leads), to await my sleep.

And wait. And wait. And wait some more. I lay in that bed for almost four hours trying to force myself to go to sleep (we all know how well that works), shifting and turning and trying not to screw up the machinery. In a wonderful circumstance, it appeared that all the plumbing in the hospital came through the ceiling of my room. So every toilet flush was mine to enjoy. Because I was away from home, I also heard every voice, every door, every footstep, absolutely everything that happened. All I had to do to pass this test was sleep. And I was failing!

At about one in the morning, I asked to be unplugged again, and toddled off to the toilet. This time I really DID have to go, and when I came out, I asked for a lamp and my book. I’d brought the most boring book EVER with me, and with the help of it and the light, I fell asleep. So, in a strange place, WITH the light on, I was fine. I was having exceedingly vivid dreams when my tech woke me up at five in the morning.

Well, unofficially, I appear to have sleep apnea of some kind. I’m starting to feel like there is no end to the stuff I’m going to have. I’m only forty-two after all. I have LOADS of time to be diagnosed with stuff. But, I guess for now, this is what I have to work on. I’m going to end up in one of those sexy, sexy plastic C-PAP masks, that forces your dropping tongue and tissues to stay up, and keeps your person oxygenated. I hear rumors that it can diminish depression too. And that I may experience my first real night’s sleep in ages—something to look forward to definitely, as I’m nodding off over my laptop typing this. 

I’ll have to sleep another night at the hospital if I do get a C-PAP, so they can “titrate” it. I can hardly wait. 

Good times.


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