GOD CONSTANTLY GIVES ME NEW EXPERIENCES–here is one
June 19, 2012
I had been through this before: I remember the test well even though it happened 10 years ago. The directions told me to not take anything to help me sleep and I dutiful obeyed that rule, although I was sorry later. There were small stickers stuck all over my face and neck, two straps around my chest and belly, all attached to a wad of cords which connected to a machine; two nasal canulas in my nose and an annoying cord attached to my finger. I am suppose to sleep like this? You have got to be kidding! I brought a book to read but it was too far away and I could not get at it, so I remember trying to sleep on my own with no distractions. I struggled for hours, trying everything I knew of, to fall asleep. Finally I called out into the air: “Can someone help me up to the bathroom?” I thought that if I got up to the bathroom, I could come back to bed and get a fresh start. When they came, they had to un-hook all the tabs all over my body. What a pain! Normally at home when I get up in the middle of the night, it’s a 2 second deal and then I can quickly come back to bed, roll over, and sleep to my heart’s content.
When she came to help me up, I asked, “I have not been able to sleep very well, what time is it?”
She responded, “6 AM!”
I was dumbfounded. “Did you get any information?”
“A little bit. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.”
I left that place feeling very dejected. My doctor decided I did have mild sleep apnea and wanted to prescribe a C-PAP machine—No thank you—they are cumbersome and bulky and no one in their right mind would use that—how un-romantic! I remembered the CPap machine my friend used and his mucus was gunking it up and it was gross.
What a pain—I never wanted to go through that again. I have dealt with the loud snoring for years, although I did not know this was going on. Lloyd usually sleeps in another bedroom because he tells me I have sleep difficulties but never told me how loud it was. CHANGE OF PLANS: This past month, when I traveled to Sacramento to visit my sister Aileen, she and I slept in rooms close to each other and she told me she had to move 3 rooms away from me so she could sleep. My snoring was as loud as a mack truck. I went to a doctor to try and figure out if I have sleep apnea. I pushed and pushed for an appointment as soon as possible (I am traveling with Jess and Lloyd at the end of July to Washington DC and want to be a good roommate.)
I finally got my test, which was last night (June 19, 2012).
I was prepared this time. I brought NyQuil to help me sleep. (who cares what the rules say?); I brought 4 pillows: one for between my legs; one for my arm to rest on and two squishy pillows for my head—I would be in dream heaven! I had a book with my own night light attached so when I wanted to turn the light off, no problem! Then I could go to sleep at my leisure. I brought reading glasses and ear plugs. I would enter dream-land quickly.
I entered the sleep lab—they had a beautiful double bed with soft sheets and a nice comforter—the AC was on at just the perfect temperature. I had no nap during the day so I would be tired. I could face the music of sleeping in a strange bed with all the cords and bulk, no problem.
My lab tech was named Carol and she told me bless you every time she looked at me. I liked her because she was sweet, and with all the “blessings” I was sure she would be praying for me.
“Angel, do you understand what ‘sleep apnea’ is?
“Good, then I won’t have to explain that but sweepea, if I notice that you are having sleep apnea, I will come in the middle of the night to place a CPap machine on your nose. This machine is very uncomfortable for most people. But Pumpkin, the first time you wear it, I will help you to find a good fit and it will quickly grow on you.”
I started giggling. “Did she just call me Pumpkin??”
“Bless your little heart, my little cutie patootie” she continued,
(I started choking, but under my breath of course.)
She began putting on all the leads all over my body: “One time a very heavy set man came in, bless his little heart. He was so obese that he could not sleep in the bed—had to sleep in the upright chair. He told me he had not slept in probably 15 years. During the night, he was snoring as loud as a freight train! But he would stop breathing for up to two minutes and have arrhythmias and tachycardia like you would not believe. When he went into atrial fibrillation, I got the defibrillator out, thinking I may need it.”
I was thinking, “good thing I was a nurse and actually understand her!!”
“Then all of a sudden he would gasp and begin breathing again. When I finally brought him the CPap machine, I attached it to his face and I no sooner left the room than he was sleeping again.” This time, however, he stayed in sinus rhythm. Swee-pea, it was a miracle. He remained in REM sleep the rest of the four hours. When he woke up that morning, he asked me what I had done to knock him out, because he felt like a million bucks! He slept for the first time in a long while and felt great.”
My eyes were beginning to droop and I was wishing I could just go to bed and forget all this chatter (that’s good, right?).
Carol finished putting on the final cords to my body (not much has changed since the last time I was here except that the two nasal canulas into my nose did not actually touch my nostrils and were much more comfortable. If I concentrated, I could forget about them. I went to bed in my nestle of pillows and coverings and despite the menagerie of cords, was as comfortable as a clam (almost anyway). The annoying cord to the prong connected to my thumb was too short and every time I rolled over, it pulled, requiring that I not move that arm much and I had to keep it bent. That was annoying!
My ear plugs in my ear, all cords attached to my body, my glasses on, Nyquil consumed, my book propped up, night light on, everything in place, I embarked on reading my very wonderful novel about the Holocaust. The Germans were chasing my friends in the book. (I am wondering if that was the best choice for a book?—It was not boring and would not put me to sleep.) Never mind, I was enjoying it. I read for a time and felt drowsy so I put it aside and closed my eyes.
All of a sudden, every breath became noticeable. “Lord I prayed, please let me sleep.” I thought of my daughter who is pregnant and due any day. The doctors are threatening that she have a CSection because they think the baby is too big. ‘Lord, please let the baby come tonight—I told her to not have the baby tonight but if it will help her to not have to have a CSection, then can you help her deliver tonight?’ I thought of people in the High Parks Fire—so many homes lost. I prayed for them. Then my prayers became more difficult. ‘I am breathing, oops I felt like I stopped breathing’—perhaps I have sleep apnea like that man and they are noticing my heart going into weird fibrillations, but I have never had heart problems before. ‘Come on Margie.’ I told myself, ‘sleep.’ Then I began to feel my heart in my chest—the prong on my neck was measuring that I think and it was measuring the tops of my air waves too, perhaps signaling if my tongue dropped back into my throat. –hmmm I think I feel my tongue drop back.—I think I stopped breathing….a panic feeling. ‘Margie calm down, this is only a test, nothing hurts, you are comfortable.’ Then my groin itched, then my nose. Ooooh, I have to get my hand past all the cords to scratch. OK, done, now back to sleep—sleep? When will it come? What is the anatomy of sleep? How does one sleep? Who knows? I called out into the air, “Carol, can you come help me get up to the bathroom?”
This is the same scenario as last time –maybe it is 6 am and the test is over? No, its only 11:30—good, then I can have a brand new start and really be able to sleep again. This time she did not have to take all the tubes off. She only unhooked one bulky box, gave it to me and I traipsed to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror. Ooohhhh, I look awful—oh well I am not on stage, its OK—do my business and then back to bed. I asked Carol to grab my book off the floor, where it had fallen.
“Sure, I will do that for you Snuggle Muffin.”
“Seriously? How many names does she have for me?” I started to laugh, but tried to hide it. I don’t think she noticed. She was really rather charming in a weird kind of way.
Ok, my reading glasses are no where to be found, so I used my bi-focals (more difficult to read—now I have to tilt my head up to read out of the lower lenses.) Oh well, I make due. My ear plugs are buried so even though I hear people laughing outside my door I try to ignore it. My night light and book are in order and I commence to make myself comfortable, still on my right side. I cannot move much but if I can get to sleep quickly, then I don’t have to worry about getting a sore hip. I am coming to the end of my book. What was I thinking? I should have brought a thicker book. The book is fascinating. My eyes begin to droop. Great timing! Close to the end, I lay down the book, and once again try to enter into the state of dreaming.
“Come on body, start sleeping, REM sleep is the goal here.” Oooh, I am not comfortable. I roll over and this time the annoying thumb cord pulls far enough that I can move that hand to the other side. I re-position myself. I only have 4 hours left to sleep—they told me they would wake me up at 5 am. “Why did they tell me that? Lord sweet Jesus, have mercy on this poor soul—give me sleep, precious sleep.” Nothing! No response. 3 hours left in the night. Perhaps I can’t sleep because I don’t have a good relationship with God? Perhaps I don’t know how to express myself to him. Then I start signing—oops everytime I move she knows it. Big brother is watching me. I feel myself snore. Then I startle. Perhaps I cannot relax because I have some un-resolved problem that I have not made known, causing me to feel nervous all the time. Huuuuh, this is annoying and frustrating. I have too much happening in my brain. C’mon, stop thinking brain. 2 hours left in the night. Relax……no thinking for a few minutes…then I breathe and then I think I stopped breathing….1 hour left, then I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling. Did she notice? Did I sleep? Can she see my thoughts?
All of a sudden the door opens. Carolyn comes in: “Sweet sugarplumb, I think its time to turn off the test—you slept about an hour during the night but had a real problem getting out of stage one sleep.”
I was right! Big Brother was watching me! “Did you get any information?”
“Yes, but it was very sporadic, your doctor will be able to tell you more. I am so sorry sweet pea.” Hmmmm…I have heard this before. (not the sweet pea part, but the other—now I am not laughing.)
I am annoyed, so annoyed, another failed sleep test. Now when I go to Washington DC in July, my daughter and husband will have to endure the endless night of snoring—the only thing left to do is lose weight—last summer when I lost 10 pounds, Lloyd did not notice the snoring so much. Can I do it? I have no will power. Lord, when you close a door (CPap machine,) you open another—please help me.
“My Lord and my God, your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105