CPAP Hell…o

“Beauty is pain,” Mom once told me. The opposite can also be true: Feeling good sometimes requires a gal to endure a few humiliating moments. So when I got tired of listening to my husband complain about (a) my snoring and (b) my tendency to hold my breath in my sleep,  I went in to the sleep lab to get tested for sleep apnea. Never in my life have I felt so beautiful. See?

cpap.jpg

The doctor confirmed my husband’s suspicion that I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in years, and so I agreed to get the CPAP machine to complement the appliance I already wear on my teeth each night. The med tech informed me that this Philips Dream Station Auto model is top-of-the line, with a built-in monitor that can tell if and how long I am wearing my gear, and whether I had any more gasping episodes. Not at all creepy!

“You’ll feel so much better!” the doctor assured me.

“You’ll have more energy!” my husband added. (This was less than convincing. He’s had a CPAP for years, and he has the sleep habits of a giraffe.)

“Mommy, you look weird!” This last one, from the mouth of teenaged babes, was in retrospect the closest to the truth. At the sight of me in my new CPAP, the dogs jumped off the bed and hid in their crates. Well, if I had to wear this contraption on my face, at least I could move my legs.

Last night was my first night with the headgear. I felt like an astronaut, with all the tubes and air blowing up my nose. I couldn’t talk (thanks to the mouth gear), and couldn’t find a comfortable spot on my side that wouldn’t crush the tube. So I laid on my back, closed my eyes . . . and soon it was morning.

I couldn’t move. My back muscles were rioting, and it felt like someone had punched me in the nose. I’d had wild dreams (and not the good kind) in riotous Technicolor all night. In short, I felt 100x worse than the night before.

Craig was sympathetic. “You haven’t had enough REM sleep for years, honey. Your body is just getting used to it. Don’t give up!”  He hauled me out of bed, maneuvered me to the bathroom, and went to get the kids off to school. Bless him.

I took a long, hot shower and after awhile I could move enough to get dressed. The dogs now circled me in full-blown panic over the groans that had escaped from me during the Battle of the Bath. One of them is sitting on my feet as I type this, the other just beside my chair, on full alert. Me, I’m still on the fence about the machine. I don’t think I’m thinking any more clearly than I was two days ago. Then again, maybe brain fuzz is just a symptom of middle age, and I should get used to it.

At least the machine keeps the dogs off the bed . . . and inspires my husband to get up with the kids! Maybe that’s worth a little of my dignity, too.

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