Thursday, October 03, 2019

Going Under

Down to where the lights are low,
to a place where all the mutants go - "Going Under" by DEVO
I have never been a good sleeper. I tend to wake up at the slightest noise or disruption. Which is horribly ironic considering the decibel level of my prodigious snoring. My wife found this irony not just mildly amusing, but troubling because by her accounting, there were several instances each night where I would stop breathing for a minute or so. Maybe I was listening for that lone intruder and I didn't want my own respiration to interfere with my detection skills.
Or maybe I have sleep apnea.
If you've heard the term and wondered what this new fad is all about let me first assure you it has nothing to do with gluten. Instead, it is a condition in which the floppy bits inside your mouth like that big ol' tongue slides back into your throat and blocks your airway. A few seconds of this and one tends to emit a snork or two and comes back awake, at least long enough to open up the throat again. The report I received after a night's study of my own sleep patterns suggested this was happening to me hundreds of times a night. Which probably accounts for the way I was able to keep track of all those external interruptions: I was gasping for air.
So I was assigned a mask. A rather silly contraption that covers my nose and inflates my head overnight as I attempt to sleep through these intermittent interruptions. All that air keeps my airway open and allows me to drop into a deeper sleep. A deeper sleep where I won't be bothered by the occasional burglar or boogeyman. A deeper sleep where I hope not to wake up dead one morning.
My wife commented on our first couple of nights with the mask by saying that it was somewhat distressing because after all these years she has become accustomed to my nighttime gurgles. Trying to drift off next to this quiet rush or forced oxygen was difficult. As the old time westerns used to have it: "A little too quiet."
For me, I was aware of the face hugging device off and on throughout the night, and hyper-aware of my own breathing. But somewhere in there I went away and even though I was being assisted by a machine I went to sleep. Or maybe because I was being assisted by a machine. And somewhere in the darkness, I worried that there was someone lurking. Waiting to put a kink in my hose.

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