Thursday, September 5, 2013

To Sleep. Not.

Last week's Wall Street Journal brought yet another article on sleep disorders into our living room.  This one led readers to the news that there was new and exciting breakthroughs in the management of Sleep Apnea.  A new device will soon appear in the market, one that does not employ face masks.  This new CPap machine consists of a device that the user places in the mouth.  Oh, wonderful.  One of the women interviewed for the article is thrilled with the news.  She looks forward to the day when she no longer wakes up with marks on her face, residual proof that she wore her mask all night.  I should be so lucky.  If I wore my CPap mask long enough to make marks, I would paint my face green to show off.  I want to use the machine properly, it's just that I have so many other sleep issues and getting comfortable with a hose protruding from my nose just makes it so much harder.  I can only imagine sleeping with a device in my mouth. My fear of choking would out rule my fear of dying from Apnea.

This is not the first time I am writing about sleep.  More specifically, I write about my lack of sleep and the spectrum of sleep associated problems that I do battle with most nights.  You name the problem, I own it.
I'm not sure when it all started but I've been dealing with this for many, many years and it seems to be getting worse.  I really do not like to complain but what's a girl to do?  I have so many extra hours in my day, I might as well fill them with something.

Okay, so I have a well-documented case of Sleep Apnea.  I took the test, went to the sleep lab twice, once for evaluation and then again to sleep with the CPap machine.  Slept like a baby both times by the way.  Was it the Benadryl or was it the mattress at the lab?  Hmmmmm.  Anyway, I've been "using" my little bedside machine for well over two years.  I'm not sure of how many hours I've logged on but I do know that when I was alone in Italy, I never slept without it.  After all, if I woke up dead, who'd know?  Was it that fear or was it the nice, comfy bed and duvet?  Or, the nice dark room and complete silence until.....the construction under my bedroom window started.  Classic "can't win for losing" situation.  Most days, they started drilling into rock no later than six in the morning. Rock, I do not exaggerate.

So, why the lack of compliance now?  You try falling asleep with two rubber "pillows" stuck up your nostrils and call me in the morning.  If you manage to fall asleep, let me know if the machine gave you a sinus headache too?  Full disclosure here....I wake up with sinus style headaches a lot.  Nothing new again.  Have for years.  Post nasal drip until at least lunch time.  Add that to the list of sleep disturbers.

Alas, were it only for the Apnea problem, I might not be re-writing a blog post about my sleep issues.  No, it goes way beyond that.  For instance, I use not one, but sometimes three different pillows during the night.  I keep them handy, next to the bed so if you sleep over and wander, you have been warned.  Tripping over them has been a bone of contention for my husband on his nightly bathroom visits.  You may recall from earlier musings, these trips and the snoring/talking in his sleep, are not helping me.  Did I tell you that my
father used to wake my up with a bugle if I slept "late"....past seven on a Saturday.  Hmmmm. Men, they don't seem to get it.  I'd like to be one for at least one night.  I have no idea of what it feels like to have a restful night, to wake up refreshed.  Maybe a sex change would allow for that experience.

So, moving right along from pillows.....I also need at least two rooms every night.  I play musical beds. Here again, nothing new.  Have done that since my twenties so we can't say that I have anything new on my mind that causes me to drift from room to room, bed to recliner to sofa to bed.  I wake myself up with trying to fall asleep as I chose my resting place.  This makes overnight visits and house guest visits rather difficult.  We only have two "bedrooms" and one of them is our very little "family" room where we watch T.V. and use our desks.  The livingroom sofa is but a love seat and I'm not exactly petite.  I can't come up with many more excuses for turning down kind friends who plea "come visit us, we have the room".  I will have to start being very honest because I can't do it. Another problem, I'm up with the birds.  No matter how late I get to bed, I rarely can stay in bed beyond 5:30.  If I do, my entire body starts to ache and my hands get numb.  Yes, I have tried.  And yes, I know I do generally turn in too early. I'm tired early and on to the next problem.

I can't sit.  That is, I can't sit still.  Watching T.V. at night?  Can't do more than an hour if I get that far.  I fidget.  I cross and uncross my ankles.  My back hurts.  My attention span wanes.  I start to doze off and when I do that, I really have a problem falling asleep.  Kava tea?  I'm too worn out in the evening to get up to make a cup.  Coffee?  You have got to be kidding.  Benadryl, Ativan, Melatonin, Lavender, Valerian, and the latest, "Calms".  Homeopathics, pharmaceuticals, myths, beliefs, what works for one, not for the other.  I've tried them all.  All of the above plus black blinds in the bedroom (they look creepy during the day!).  Nada.
My friends send me articles on the promotion of sleep, they tell me what they have discovered to have been helpful for them.  I buy new pillows.  I tired the disposable things that you bite on at night to keep from grinding teeth (could not get through an hour with those). Nada.

Another day has started. It's almost 7:30.  I've put my extra time to good use, writing about it all makes it better or is it that it's always better when I'm not trying to sleep?  Who wouldn't feel better at the end of a horror show?

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