I’ve been sleepy since I was 16 years old. The first doctor I saw, during cross country season my Junior Year of High School, dismissed my complaints. “Look,” he leaned forward, his hands resting on this thighs, smelling of soap, “You’re not tired. You can’t be tired. You run 5 miles a day and get straight A’s. You’re not tired.”
But I *WAS* tired.
I continued to be tired and get dismissed for the next 19 years. I slept through college. Literally. I fell asleep regularly on my books in the library, drooling between pages of my Physics book. I went to bed at 9PM every night and fell asleep during movies my roommates and I would rent. I took three hour naps regularly and barely made it through until evening.
After having our daughter, I was attempting sleep following the 24 hours of labor, emergency C-section, medicated debacle. My oxygen monitor kept rining and a nurse would have to run in and reset it. I was frustrated, tired, and not able to sleep after 30 hours of exhaustion. “Has anyone ever talked to you about Sleep Apnea?” one nurse finally asked. “No?”
In fact, nobody would talk to me about it again for years to come. Doctors explored yeast imbalance, gluten intolerance, PCOS, Chronic Fatigue and so on. I’ve taken hormones and pills. I’ve done diet after diet to increase energy.
Still, though, I was sleepy.
At the urging of a very dear friend, I signed up for a sleep study. She’s probably the seventeenth person to tell me to do it, but it stuck. She’s just sort of that influential. Or that good at nagging. Either way.
I went in, got hooked up to a thousand wires and went to sleep. I say “sleep” not in a traditional sense but in a “wow, this is a lot of crap hooked up to me and I CAN’T ROLL OVER WHERE AM I WHY IS THIS UP MY NOSE” sort of way. Apparently it was just enough, though, for them to get a read on my sleeping habits.
The next morning I was standing talking to some random dude checking me out (literal and figurative here) at the grocery store. As he scanned the items in to the cart, he was staring at my boobs. I got annoyed, made light small talk and walked away thinking what a perv he was.
I got in the car, looked in the mirror and found what one may think is a hicky but by some sort of big mouthed gorilla.
It was the remaining redness from the wires the previous night.
Later in the afternoon I headed in to get my final diagnoses. Apnea. I have Sleep Apnea. I stop breathing TWENTY-SIX times an hour. Idealy you stop breathing, oh you know, NEVER. But apparently anything less than 5 times an hour is acceptable.
No wonder I’ve been tired for 20 years. Twenty. Years.
“You’ll be wearing a what to bed?” Mr. Flinger asks when I tell him the diagnoses. “A CPAP machine” I say. He looks at me and I know what he’s thinking, “You mean, like the thing Baby O had hooked up to him when he was in the NICU?” “Ayup” I reply. “Wow.. um.. that’s.. uh.. sexy…”
I realize I’m going to look like something out of some sci-fi movie at night now. “Hey Baby, come on over here and.. wait, hangon.. let me move my mask, oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you with that tube… oh hangon, the air is blowing on us, just a sec….” I get that I’m at my mid-thirty sexual peak and I’m royally screwed, not in the good way, of having any normal nights again.
But you know? Maybe I can use that. Something out of a sci-fi movie, eh?
Yea, that works.