Thursday, November 07, 2019


My wife and I are currently on a path to limit the possibility that neither one of us will suffocate under the weight of their tongues of a certain age in our sleep. We are doing this with the aid of machines that inflate us not unlike Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. Each night, we kiss each other goodnight and then strap these ersatz Alien face hugger masks onto the front of our faces and wait for the rush of oxygen. Maybe there's some nitrous in there, or maybe once my sinuses are properly inflated and my mouth's soft tissue is flattened properly, I have been sleeping more deeply. Which was the suggested outcome for this particular therapy.
Success, right?
Well, there is the struggle to keep a plastic cone affixed to your face while the rest of your skull is politely compressed by a series of straps that were obviously designed with comfort in mind, but the mild bondage aspect and the potential for suffocation sits just off camera, pointing and laughing. And there is one thing that makes that anxiety disappear: The chance to be rewarded by your air app the following morning. A month into my CPAP experience, I earned a Gold Badge. How does one measure up to such a lofty standard? By using the machine as recommended by your physician. I am nothing if not good at surrendering to a routine, so I was set up for success. Even though I find the periodic hissing or intermittent whisper of air shooting up onto my eyebrow from an improper seal distracting, I am now dedicated to getting a good score every single morning.
You might think that it is overtly compulsive to continue, after a month, to check the results from the prior night's sleep on my phone. And you would be right. I am hopelessly devoted to watching that little dial spring from zero blue to the deep orange of the nineties and the ever-elusive one hundred. My wife and I compared scores, initially, but my over-commitment to holding still for an entire night while being injected with what I hope is oxygen fits a little too precisely into my "good patient" model. I need that ridiculous level of approval.
For now.
Eventually I hope to be freed from the app and enjoy the results of a good night's sleep without this video game enticement.
For now, I'll just have to sleep on it.

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