Checking My Zzzzz’s

One particular greeting card used to tickle daughter Boo and me so much that any time we saw it, we’d clean out the entire stock.  On the front is a kentaurides.  (That’s a female centaur, but I don’t know if it’s singular or plural.  Google doesn’t know everything.)   She’s wearing a pearl necklace and high-heeled pumps, and carrying a patent leather purse.

The message inside reads, “Much has happened since last we spoke.”  

That says it all for my summer vacation.

This isn’t the card, but a photo I found on the internet of a 4th century mosaic tile.  Sag those bosoms three breast-fed babies worth, pudge up the stomach, and get those upper arms flapping in the breeze, and I could use it to obtain a voter registration ID.  In Pennsylvania.

I’ll tell you more about the eventful summer in other posts.  (As Dorothy Boyd told Jerry Maguire, we all have our own sad stories.)

This is about my Tuesday night sleepover.

One of my doctors (yeah, I have “staff” now!) sent me to the local Sleep Center to be tested for sleep apnea after Dearly Beloved ratted out my snoring to said doctor.

The room was surprisingly nice.  Flat screen TV, DVD player, even an oscillating fan for white noise. ( I used to love to sleep with a fan on before I married DB, who needs tomb-like quiet.)

The invitation (okay, the instruction sheet) said no sleeping in only underwear, which seemed an unnecessary statement, considering the camera pointed at the bed and a technologist who planned to watch me all night.   I’d packed both pajamas and gown, since I wasn’t sure what they’d be sticking where and I wanted to be prepared for anything.

Instructions had specified freshly shampooed but not conditioned hair, a prescription for enough static electricity to turn my hair into a dandelion.  It crossed my mind that I might fry my wired self when I walked across the carpet and reached for the doorknob.

Check-in was at 7:45 PM.  Upon investigation,  I noticed a couple of things that were missing from the room:  a window and a bathroom.  “The facilities” were about 20 feet down the hall, shared with the three other sleeping rooms in the building.  It wasn’t so much sharing a bathroom, as it was having to trek down the hall in my gown.  I looked like a robot without its outer cover.

The form I signed,  advising me that the tape they were using could irritate my skin, was an understatement.  My face wasn’t just irritated; it was pissed off royally.  I looked like I’d been released too early from a burn unit.  It’s still peeling.

As usual for me, I babbled through the sensor attaching, telling the technician how my husband gave me a hard time about needing to pack a bag every time I went from room to room.  Later, after I laid out my paperback novel, newspaper, puzzles, knitting, water bottle, cough drops, and meds on the bedside table, she said she saw his point.

Exhibit A:  The Upper “Accessories”

I took this picture in the bathroom mirror.  The colored wires there were attached to my face and scalp.   The black belt around my chest was one of a pair.  The other was around my waist, helping to rein in the dangling wires.

Exhibit B:  The Full Monty.

Once I was all wired and plugged in, my bladder immediately demanded attention.  The technician cheerfully unplugged and wrapped the cords around my neck so that I could make the trip.

Back in the room and under the covers, the technician added one of those finger clothespins to monitor my oxygen and stuck a couple of plastic doodads in my nostrils to show I was breathing during the night.  The leg sensors dangling between my legs were especially annoying.  I kept caching them between my toes.

The technician wanted to make certain the sensors were properly placed, so she went into the Staff Only room and called out commands via the speaker beside the bed. “Close your eyelids.  Now, move your eyes right, then left.  Now up and down. Push out your stomach.”  

She could see movements behind my closed eyes?!?  Creepy!  Could she read dreams?  I  hoped I didn’t pass gas.

I turned out the light and eventually went to sleep.  Not as soundly as I do at home, but still. . . for being wired like a Rockefeller Center holiday tree, I managed to get some shut eye, at least until the technician came in at 3 AM to check the plastic doodad in my right nostril.

My bladder woke, too, so I had to be unplugged to make the run to the in-house outhouse down the hall.  By the time I was re-plugged, there was no more real sleep.  At 5:30 AM,  the tech came in to unwire me.  I completed the checkout forms and was ready to leave before 6, anxious to come home and fall into bed for some serious sleeping.

“No, Honey, you have to go home and wash your hair right away.  The goo I put on your scalp to make the sensors stick hardens fast.”

My bed at home that night felt wonderful, but I woke the next morning to find DB had fled to the guest room.

He said I’d snored.


8 thoughts on “Checking My Zzzzz’s

  1. Lunar Euphoria

    Wow! That’s a lot of wires.

    My cousin and I were talking about apnea sleep studies just last night. I didn’t picture it anything like this.

  2. Welcome back! Hope you treated yourself to a new nightie for your hospital stay! The card is too funny–I am going to have to look for it my mother would love it!

  3. dirtwom

    I can’t comment on your blog it seems. Every time I try to, I get a message from WordPress that I am not logged in. I think it has to do with our website for SAVE.

    Anyway, that must have been a terrible experience! With a bathroom 20 feet away, and being all plugged in…that would have been enough for me to have to pee every 30 minutes! That said, sleep apnea is very dangerous. Glad you did the overnighter. And, DB must be very exhausted.

  4. With all that wiring, I’m surprised you weren’t picking up radio stations from Albuquerque. I’m glad you were able to get some sleep, though. When my daughter went for a sleep study she had to leave around one in the morning, she was so freaked out. (And the fear of passing gas you mentioned probably would have kept me awake. ha)

  5. Your sleep experience was quite interesting. I also liked your reference to the kentauride, which I had never heard of before. I am using that as my fact of the day, which I send to all my children and several of my neices every day as a way of keeping in touch. Thanks for the info!

  6. Wow! That’s a whole lot of wires! I’d freak out big time! After seeing that, I’m going to just move to the guest room the next time my husband says I’m snoring.

  7. My honey is a sleep technician. Oh the stories she tells about what people believe to be appropriate attire when having a sleep study is appalling! So, for her, I thank you for thinking ahead and bringing plenty of cover up! She recently shared a story of an older gentleman who refused to sleep in anything but what God gave him… I believe I found a brillow pad in the shower the next morning…
    I feel your pain, kind of! As the “spouse” to a sleep tech I get to be the guinea pig when the lab is considering new equipment. While I don’t have apnea or any other sleeping issue I have had the undesired privilege of being hooked up in my own home and getting no sleep. I hope you slept soundly upon your arrival home!
    My best to you as you embark on this new (likely c-pap) journey…

  8. How they can conduct a proper sleep study when you’re wired for sound is beyond me! But glad you were able to get some real sleep at home. (Hope all comes out well!)

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