Thursday, October 05, 2006

Perchance to Dream

When I state that I am God's Action Figure, I'm not joking. I wish I were.

I imagine that God has days when he's frickin' bored out of his essence and needs something to play with. Sure, He's many millenia in age, but even omnipotent beings need to be entertained from time to time.

That's where I come in.

It's not enough that I have transplanted kidneys from other healthy human beings to keep me alive. It's not enough that I suffer endlessly on Dialysis.

Now I can't sleep.

The local paper ran an article a number of weeks ago on a local sleep clinic endorsed by the National Institure of Sleepy Dudes (or whatever generic name they're attached to themselves) so I contacted them and set up an appointment.

I usually detest doctors before I even meet them. Force of habit. Years of being treated like a specimen rather than a living, breathing, ailing human being.

But Dr. A was surprisingly different. We talked at length about my personal sleep issues and what could be causing them. An overnight sleep study was set up and I merrily went on my way, hopeful for my future of counting sheep.

Since it seems that a majority of society is having sleep difficulty, the appointment wasn't for another month. I was placed on 200mg of Trazadone to help me earn some REM's while I waited patiently for them to record my every sleep movement.

I've spent a substantial slice of my life trying to remain comfortable while wires monitor my heart or feed my bloodstream while recovering from surgery. When the sleep tech begin to prepare me for all the branches of tubing that would be Super Glued to my tiny little frame, I didn't flinch.

But it did seem to take an eternity.

To give the wires attached to my head some extra added oomph, they used this gooey substance to make sure they wouldn't be yanked during sleep mode.

I don't think I have to tell you what this goo looked like in the mirror when I went to the bathroom before turning in.

The room resembled a typical stay at La Quinta. Nice, but not overly so. There was even a teddy bear on the bed mocking me as I pulled the covers back. I didn't know if the cameras were recording yet or not, but I tossed him in the corner until he was face down in the carpet.

That'll show him.

I decided to read my latest Entertainment Weekly and USA Today as I normally do to wind down. I had taken my medication when I arrived, so I was staring to doze. The fact that they were watching my every move didn't really bother me. Years of hospital dwelling cured me of that.

I notice personally that my deepest sleep usually happens between 3am and 9am when I wake.

They get you up promptly at 6am for reasons I'm not quite sure. Since they make you go to bed at 10pm, I guess mathematically it makes sense.

It would take another three weeks to get the results, but I was hopeful. I entered Dr. A's office to find a computer monitor with lines and lines of squiggles. It actually resembled one of the editing programs I used for mixing audio at work.

One line was for my brain waves, another for my leg movements. Still another recorde my snoring.

Diagnosis: Mild Sleep Apnea with Restless Leg Syndrome.

On a regular basis (and this was noted quite visibly on the screen) at almost equal intervals, my airway would narrow causing my body to snore. When I would snore heavily enough, my legs would kick and my brain would slip quickly out of slumber.

Over and over again this happened, all night long.

No wonder I'm in daze for the majority of my day.

This is where things take a terrible turn and I realize why my soul is slipping away.

Sure, the leg kicking can be medicated, but the airway problem was a little trickier.

They have a machine called a CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure that provides air pressure throughout the night to keep my airway clear, open and resistant to narrowing during sleep apnea.

The most frightening postscript to this is as I age, this problem is only going to get worse.

A Dialysis machine to keep me alive. A CPAP machine to help me sleep.

I'm slowly losing my humanity to technological achievement.

And it bothers me to no end.

But at least I'll get a good night sleep. That can only help me deal with the former while benefitting from the latter.

And that's how I'm going to look at it for now.

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