Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another Night Without Sleep

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.


Anonymous said...

I have sleep apnea also and Im having some issues falling asleep tonite too. The "Elephant with Trunk" look is the only way to go. Not using the machine is just leaving yourself open for more medical problems down the road, high blood pressure being one. I cant even fall asleep without the cpap so its a no brainer for me.And at least your married, you've never had to explain to anyone why you look like an astronaut when you want to fall asleep.


darkside777 said...

A kitten...that would be better than an elephant or scuba gear...

You have what Uncle Junior on the Sopranos had...

1) your husband loves you very much and cares about you.

2) you are beautiful no matter how you look in my book. You are still and have always been in my book.

3) ok, are you working on my new BAG ( ;) ) love you to pieces!


Anonymous said...

Ahi pobrecita!

As much as I can figure, (and as a Gay man), I say make lemonade out of lemons and figure out some way to sexualize the machine! I'm sure there's some way to sexually stimuate your eposo with the tubing, no?

Anyway, let me know how it goes before I buy my own machine!

HAHA! El Joto Loco De Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

Whatever makes you healthy and stay alive, who cares what you look like? Love you girl. Angie

Pyrophorus said...

I have sleep apnea as well...but could never pull myself to wear that machine on my face. It is hard enough to fall asleep as it is let alone with that contraption hooked to my face. I say go with the strips.

Anonymous said...

what about a bag with day of dead materials?

scott said...

Hi Alice! This story brought back (bad) memories of when I was a sleep tech!!! trying to fit patients with the masks was a nightmare for me!! good luck!!!