Tuesday, June 28, 2005

my skull is badly written

My skull, if I'm to believe the blue pencil that was all over it last night, is badly written. It needs a lot of edits.

For some time, I've known that I snored. And I've also known that I occasionally stop breathing while I sleep. I haven't worried about it too much. But the very beautiful woman whom I love and whose bed I occasionally get to share pointed out to me that sleep apnea can be a very serious issue. So I talked to my doctor about it. And last night, I got to participate in a sleep study at the hospital. Fun!

I shaved my head a little over a week ago. I'd been thinking about doing it for a couple years and finally, it was just so damned muggy that I thought, to hell with it, I'm doing it. The guy who had to attach all the sensors to me was delighted with this. He was showing a trainee how they do everything, so my head apparently made for an ideal show and tell object.

Before attaching all of these wonderful little sensors, they take a blue pencil and draw all over the place. They take measurements and line up their markings like carpenters getting ready to run planks through a circular saw. And because my scalp doesn't have any follicular camouflage, the marks were all abundantly clear. I wanted to borrow the pencil from him and write "stet" in huge letters, lest another hospital worker might be an editorial type ready to delete at each marking.

They also make a few markings on the chest and legs (neither of which were shaved, "were" being the operative word here--I now have a few bare patches where I was previously hirsute, bording on Yeti-like). Once all the markings are made, they use this god-awful paste to attach all the sensors. The wires from all of the sensors on the head are bundled together into something resembling a giant dred. They then run to a box hanging against one's chest that looks much like--well, let's just say it's a good thing I didn't need to go through airport security.

The most entertaining part of the evening? I didn't think they'd go for it, being hospital folks and all, but when everything was completed (except for the box being plugged in), I mentioned that I usually have a cigarette or two before bed. Surprisingly, this isn't a problem. So, in my jammies (which I don't typically wear) and wearing my "Terminal Man" get-up, I ambled down and out of the entrance to the hospital. An elderly lady looked very afraid, but had just enough courage to ask, wide-eyed, "Are you escaping?" If I was truly evil, I'd have told her that I was, in fact, escaping, and what my destination was. But she didn't look like her heart would've handled it well, so I explained that I was just having a cigarette before the beginning of a sleep study. I don't know if she believed me.

I don't yet know the results of the study. Apparently, the people who conduct the studies are not the same people who make the diagnoses. So I have to wait for some other doctors to confirm what I already know--that I have sleep apnea. It seems likely that I'll have to go in to spend another night to be fitted with a proper mask. My kids, I'm sure, will find their father breathing like Darth Vader eminently entertaining. Do I live an exciting life or what?


At 6:57 AM, Blogger k1tchenwitch said...

This is just crying out to be written as a story ~ what a strange experience. And I laughed out loud (which I really needed right about now, thankyou) at the little old lady asking if you were escaping. Hope everything turns out okay!

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Breezy said...

*evil eye*
You still haven't quit!!!!

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Sharon Hurlbut said...

Hey Dave! My husband was diagnosed with sleep apnea 3 years ago and got one of those masks. It made a world of difference, both to him and me. It allowed him to get actual sleep, so he no longer moved through the world as a zombie. And as strange as it is to be sleeping next to Darth Vader, it's better than sleeping four rooms away from one another. I hope it works as well for you!

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Dave Clapper said...

Glad I could provide a laugh, Theresa! Miss seeing you around!

I know, I know, Breezy. One thing at a time. Quitting's on the agenda, though. :)

And thanks, Sharon! I'm really hoping this'll help.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger katrina said...

Good luck! And your girlfriend sounds like a lovely woman who really cares about you.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Dave Clapper said...

Thanks, Katrina. And yes, she's a terrific woman, beautiful inside and out. I'm a very, very lucky guy.


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