I’ve always had trouble sleeping. Although I get tired and am quick to doze off, staying asleep is another matter. Last year I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which means that I stop breathing several times during the night for no discernable reason and I (hopefully) wake up, gasping for air. I’m literally suffocating while I sleep and it makes it tough to get a good night’s rest.
My husband finally got me to go see a doctor since he was getting tired of having to wake me every time he would hear me stop breathing. After going to the Kaiser sleep lab and undergoing various tests, I was prescribed a Cpap machine.
It’s quite a little contraption. You attach a nose and mouthpiece over your face with straps around your head and a chin strap keeps you from breathing through your mouth. When you turn it on, the machine regulates the flow of air to keep your nasal passages open through the night, forcing you to breathe. It’s restrictive enough to be bondage gear but it’s just not sexy, unless you have a fetish for scuba gear or elephants.
It’s not so much that I mind the little elephant trunk or having to plug in the machine every night but the darn thing kept leaving welts on my face. I either had to tighten the elastic strap so much that I got a headache and a big red imprint of the mask all around my nose and mouth or, if I loosened it, the air blew up into my eyes and all over my face. So the Cpap machine got phased out.
Back when I was touring with Stay At Home Bomb, my bandmates became aware of my sleeping issues. They didn't seem to be as worried about my gasping for breath as they were about my snoring. I blame it on my mom, who passed this endearing little genetic trait onto me. My mom used to snore like a lioness and now her little cub is all grown up and does the same. My bandmates used to demand that I wear nasal strips called Breathe Right.
They must have been designed by an architect because it would take a sophisticated builder's mind to invent something that turns a little strip of tape over the bridge of my nose into a powerful device that can make my nostrils flare out like an angry bull's. Cosmetic considerations aside, the Breathe Right strips seemed to help keep me from snoring so I wore them. Anyway, because the strips help with the snoring and because the snoring seems to precede the sleep apnea, I’m left with an unfortunate choice: either look like a bull with my nostrils flared out by the strips or look like an elephant with my trunk attached. Maybe I should take a poll. Which looks cuter in pajamas, a bull or an elephant?
Sometimes it's not the breathing problems that keep me awake, sometimes I stay up because I’m thinking about my next craft project or a new song, or bills I have to pay, or I’m busy figuring out how to adjust a sewing pattern and I can’t seem to stop myself from thinking about all these things at 3:00 in the morning. And sometimes I just stay up writing senseless blog entries.