I've been feeling as if I've been dragged behind a '73 Pinto with a bad exhaust system over gravel roads every night. So I went to see Dougie and I told him it was hypothyroidism. Sure, he's a doctor but I looked it up online. And besides I attended Sister Mary Imabitch's Institution for Emotionally Unstable Nursing Students less than a million years ago.
But that Dougie, he's wise beyond his years. "Do you snore?" he asked.
"Evidently about three husbands worth," I replied.
He sent me to have a sleep study even though I told him I sleep all the time. I even fell asleep on the toilet at work. Twice. Not good, really. Sleep study. How tough can that be? You go to the hospital and let them watch you while you sleep. Piece of cake, right?
So I arrived at the appointed hour and two people stuck 573 electrodes on my head and body. The ones in my hair were adhered with a combination of Super Glue and Vaseline, and evidently my skin was too smooth so they had to rough it up with a wood rasp before rubbing it with alcohol in order to get the electrodes to stick to my legs, arms and chest. Then they attached sensors around my eyes and under my nose and basically any place they could find to attach sensors. Then they pointed out the camera that they'd be watching me with all night. Then they said, "Goodnight. Sleep well."
One gets really tired being dragged around by a toxin belching Ford night after night, so I went to sleep in spite of all that, until I heard a very loud, deep voice coming from the air above me.
I immediately came to a sitting position, wires and all. "You can call me Fay, God."
"Miss Campbell, sleep on your back."
I think I usually begin the night on my side, but hey when God tells you to sleep on your back, whatcha gonna do? I rolled over. By my reckoning it was about every two seconds that this repeated. Eventually I heard, "Miss Campbell!" God sounded a bit angry and I wasn't all that happy with him, either. "Sleep on your back. You stop breathing when you sleep on your back."
Say what? I thought you wanted me to breathe. I began to suspect this wasn't God at all. I rolled over. Two seconds later. . . "Miss Campbell! Damnit all anyway, I told you to sleep on your flipping back, now roll over before I come in there and start ripping those electrodes outta your hair!"
That last bit may not be an exact quote, but it had the same tone and intent. I rolled over. Again.
The result of the test was that I roused an average of 18.8 times per hour. Well, duh. Also I stopped breathing 124 times that night, but honestly, when God starts shouting you awake, I think it's a natural response. The average time of not breathing was 16 seconds and the longest was 47 seconds. Excuse me? I can't hold my breath for 47 seconds. I tried after I read the report. Couldn't I get some drain bamage from not breathing all those seconds? Why didn't the technicians or God or whoever rush in and give me some oxygen or something?
But the good news is, now I get to wear a Darth Vadar type mask at night now. The mask is attached to a hose which is attached to a pump that forces air into my mouth and nose. It also has a humidifier so my dainty little mucous membranes don't dry out. I mean, we wouldn't want this to be uncomfortable. There is a setting which will cause the pressure to sneak up on me over 20 minutes. The machine goes from 2 to 16 and evidently I need 16 to make sure I breathe. This is sort of like sticking the hose you use to fill your flat tires into your mouth and breathing naturally. There is a learning curve. And the coolest part is there is a little computer chip that allows my doctor and the insurance company (which actually runs the world) to know when I go to bed, how many times I get up to pee, how often I stop breathing, etc. How comforting is that!
But the very best news is that my pulmonologist told me I'd be a new woman once I started using this machine regularly. She didn't say who. So I told Dougie, who is a genius, a miracle worker, and a really cool guy no matter what his wife says, that I wanted to be a 30 year old, happy, healthy, slim woman with long heavy black hair, green eyes, and the IQ I actually had when I was 30. He said he'd see what he can do. I'm psyched!