Monday, October 3, 2011

Sleep Study, Part the Second

Suppose you were a dog, and suppose somebody grabbed your snout, stuck it in their mouth and then blew a continuous stream of warm, fetid air into your nostrils for the next eight hours. That's pretty much what happened to me last Thursday night, except for the dog and snout part. Yes, that's right. Five months after I had Sleep Study,  Part the First, I finally got around to Sleep Study, Part the Second.

If you read the earlier post, you'll remember I promised a follow up report. The thing is, I hated the first part of the test so much that I did everything I could to avoid setting up the second part. But my daughters were not amused, and my doctor was not amused, and especially the people who stand to make money by renting me their equipment were not amused, so I finally bit the bullet and went in for the rest of it.

The preparation was much the same. It started in a small torture chamber where they loaded me up with twenty pounds of wires and electrodes placed every few inches all over my body, with the technicians taking special pains to both glue and duct tape them to the hairiest parts. Yeah, that included my lower legs. How electrodes attached to my lower legs can help them detect sleep apnea, a breathing issue, is beyond me, but what do I know? I wasn't complaining. At least they didn't use pop rivets this time.

Once they got me all wired up we returned to my room for the mask fitting. The bed had already been turned down, but, sadly, there was no chocolate mint on the pillow. I blew off the poor service and allowed the tech to stick the mask onto my face and adjust the straps to the point that they dug into my skin deep enough to cause gangrene. The seal would be better that way, he told me. I'm pretty sure he expected me to believe that.

"You'll feel a slight rush of air when I turn the machine on," the guy said. Right. And I'm sure when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were strapped into their respective electric chairs, somebody told them, " You'll feel a slight tingle."

He flipped the switch. Hurricane Katrina blew up my nose and out my mouth.

"You've got to keep your mouth closed," he said.

I closed my mouth. My head asploded.

Ten minutes later, I finally figured out how to breathe with the gear on. The technician turned out the light, and wished me a good night's sleep. He retired to his SEEKRUT HIED OWT where he proceeded to watch me all night when he wasn't videotaping me for whatever kinky website they sell those things to.

I'll say this. The experience wasn't particularly pleasant, but I was somehow able to sleep all the way through with that stuff covering my nose except for one interruption when the tech guy had to come in and retighten the mask. He didn't re-tuck me in and he didn't give me a good night kiss, which was, I believe, best for both of us.

He woke me up about 6:30 and, after de-masking, de-wiring, de-hairing my body and making me fill out thirty seven forms in three different languages (French, Italian and Hebrew) they sent me on my way.

So now I'm waiting for the insurance company to approve the system the doctor ordered. Like all insurance companies, they are in no hurry to comply, but I expect they will eventually. When they do, I'll have to use the system all the time or they'll take it away. They'll check. I know they will.

The good news is that I've talked to a number of people who are wired into a CPAP machine every night. They tell me that 1) you do get used to it, and 2) I should expect to have weird, bizarre dreams. As a writer of horror stories, I'm all about weird and bizarre dreams. So I'll let you know if I get any good stories out of it.


The machine arrives Friday. Pray for me.