So, when you have sleep apnea, like I do, you actually quit breathing while you’re sleeping. That doesn't sound good, right? Breathing is important. How do you know if you have sleep apnea? Well if you're tired all the time, wake up a lot in the middle of the night, have some other issues (sinus inflammation etc.), that will be your first clue. Get yourself to a sleep center for testing.
Let me explain the testing process. You basically go to a sleep center in a clinic or hospital like you'd go to a hotel to spend the night. You get ready for bed and then the nurses wire you up. They connect about 150 wires to your head. They stick them into your hair with what could only be described as a mixture of Neosporin and silly putty. And yes, it’s hard to get out of your hair. You're expected to ‘sleep normally’ while the wires collect the data for your sleep report. Now if anyone thinks you can sleep normally while connected to a box by 150 wires, I’m prone to hyperbole- but I am honestly not exaggerating the this part,you can check!
If it turns out that you have sleep apnea, the doctor will prescribe a machine for you called a CPAP. Okay, now let me explain a CPAP (for those who are unfamiliar). CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, I looked it up! It’s not an oxygen machine, it’s basically a fan with a hose. But here’s the thing... The machine that generates the air connects to a hose which connects to a mask, which connects to a... well, I don’t know how to describe it except that it’s like a horse bridle, but for your head. The harness keeps the mask on your face. Now just take a moment to picture that. You’re expected to sleep with a harness around your head that holds a mask in place and that mask has a plastic hose coming out of it which connects to a little machine that sits on the nightstand and is also plugged into the wall. That sentence almost made me stop breathing! You’re basically tethered to your nightstand. This is difficult for me because I didn’t even have a nightstand before I got the infernal machine. Now, not only do I have one, I’m tethered to it like a horse at a hitching post!
Imagine if you will, trying to sleep on your stomach or trying to roll over... uh, nope! Now think about having to get up in the middle of the night because you can’t remember if you locked the front door or you have to go potty? Yes, I said potty, don’t make fun.
Now for the Star Trek portion of our show. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, there's an alien race called the Borg. The Borg are a species of aliens that are basically part human and part machine... Kind of like Zombie Robots without the “I eat brains” attitude. They're also very smart... another unzombie-like quality. The zombie-ness is because they blindly follow one directive, no thinking, just doing: "MAKE MORE BORG" because evidently "resistance is futile". To “sleep” or regenerate as Trekkies would say, they plug themselves into a port using a cable that is embedded/attached/growing... who knows... out of the back of their heads. Is this sounding familiar to anyone? Can you say CPAP?.
So the other night, I woke up with this sinking feeling that I had left the front door unlocked. Without thinking, because I was ASLEEP, I jumped up with my mask-connected to the hose-connected to the machine-sitting on the nightstand-plugged into the wall. Well, this didn’t go so well. The tether pulled me back down into my seat, still half asleep and trying to figure out how to extract myself from my contraption. The easiest thing to do was to leave the mask on, but unhook the hose from it. Here’s the thing... I also wear glasses, which of course are not worn while you sleep, especially if you already have a bridled mask with a hose on your face! Let’s just say, I got the genetic short end of the stick. Add to that, I can see clearly only about five inches in front of my face. So, in the dark, sporting my fancy schmancy CPAP mask, blind as a bat, half awake, I go stumbling for the front door. Big surprise, I tripped on a dog toy and went hurdling toward the concrete walls. Yes, my house is made of concrete including the interior walls. Long story... Suffice it to say in case of tornado, COME ON OVER! So you can understand that if I’d hit the wall with full force, I’d probably have a concussion or worse... Luckily my reflexes kicked in. Probably the only thing unaffected by my shallow gene pool. I instinctively put my hands up and stopped the trajectory. Phew!
By the time I got successfully to the front door, which is approximately 40 feet from my actual bed, I had been up for about 30 minutes. At this point, some internal sensor on the CPAP realized it wasn’t turned off but also that I wasn’t connected to it anymore, so it started beeping. Still in a ‘not quite awake’ haze, I stumbled, arms forward like Frankenstein (technically Frankenstein’s monster because Frankenstein was actually the doctor’s name) more successfully back to my bedroom where I promptly and unsuccessfully tried to turn off the alarm clock. Now, I don’t know about you, but when you’re half asleep, you’ve had a near death experience, you can’t see and you're unable to turn off a shrieking machine, waking up is the only option. Resistance is futile!
Oh, and I had locked the door...
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