Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me
Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.
The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping
I’ve been feeling quite fatigued the past few months, to the point where I have an almost irresistable urge to have a nap, every single afternoon. I don’t know if I somehow fell into the European way of living after the cruise, or if I’m just getting accustomed to being an old fart.
Either way, it’s been prevalent enough that I mentioned it to my doctor, who promptly suggested a sleep study. I’ve participated in a sleep study before, but it was at least a decade ago, so I’d forgotten most of it…well, aside from the go in and sleep part.
Last night, I did the sleep study again.
The first hurdle to cross was, I had to pass at least three Tim Horton’s along the way to the sleep clinic and it seemed each one called my name just a little bit louder. I wouldn’t be lying when I told you I had the “You’ve always got time for Tim Horton’s” jingle bouncing around in my head all the way there.
I parked and headed in. There was a creepy old guy there ahead of me. How creepy? You know in those movies that take place in Transylvania or some place like that, and the hero always encounters an old woman who’s creepy and has a bad eye? The old woman from the movie Drag Me To Hell fits the bill nicely.
Yeah, well, that was this creepy old guy, right down to the bad eye. I’m not even kidding.
When I came in, there was a TV on up in the corner, but he just sat, staring off in a different direction. Sort of toward me, but not quite. I said hi to him. He said nothing back.
Then a couple more guys showed up, not creepy, but also a solid decade or two older. So, even though I was the youngest guy there, scenarios went through my head. Creepy old guy takes over other old guys’ minds then come after the younger dude to…
I don’t even want to think about it.
The only advantage I figured I had was, he was heavier and they put him on the first floor and I was up on the second. I would have heard him tromping up the stairs.
Anyway, we hung out in the waiting room watching possibly one of the stupidest excuses for reality television show. House Hunters International. Seriously, who the hell wants to watch people go through three or four houses and pick one? Just don’t get it.
I was so happy when the staff dude came along to collect us. Then as we walked up the stairs, I saw the Tim Horton’s cup of coffee in his hand. “You’re teasing me, aren’t you?” I said. He just laughed.
Because I was the first one going to bed, I was the first to get wired up.
Now, for those of you who have never done a sleep study, there’s no way to adequately describe exactly how much they wire you up for one of these things. So, instead, I took some pics:
To get those wires to stick to my scalp, they have to use substantial amounts of goopty-goo that’s actually conductive gel. He took one look at my stubbled face and slathered it all over my chin too. The he stuck the leads in, then glued it all down with generous helpings of tape.
I also got the tubes in the nose so they’d know if I stopped breathing. Got a couple of leads near my eyes so they could measure R.E.M. (rapid eye movement, not the band from Athens, Georgia) and more to see if I ground my teeth and more to watch for swallowing.
After about a half hour of getting wired up worse than the Terminator, I got to head off and read for a while. When I was ready for bed, I just needed to let him know and that would start Round Two of the wiring procedure.
After reading for about a half hour, he was just about wiring up Guy Number Two. I let him know I was ready to be tucked in, and he said, “Okay, I’ll be there in a minute. Do you want to use the washroom one more time?” Then, he added a strong, “Please.” Not, “please?” but “please.”
He didn’t want me having to get up in the middle of the night, needing a late-night tinkle when I was wired up like a Christmas tree.
Finally, I was ready. He pulled back the covers, I laid down, then he jacked in the various leads to a couple of boxes beside the bed. then he taped a small piece to the end of my left index finger that glowed red. It would let him know how oxygenated I was. I thought it made me look like E.T.
He said he just needed to test a couple more things, and I would hear him over the speaker. He left the room, and I heard him heading downstairs. Then, after checking to see if I could hear him on the speaker, he had me lay with my eyes open, then with them closed, then looking up, then down, then up then down. Switch to looking left to right, back to left, back to right. Then breathe deeply, in and out. Then hold my breath for ten seconds. Then breathe normally. Then, not breathe, but move my stomach in and out (which took me a second or two to actually get working). Finally, I was to move my feet, first pointing my toes downward, then up, down then up.
Apparently all was well. Then it was time to sleep. Even with all these leads, I was still surprisingly mobile, and could sleep on either side. I sometimes sleep on my stomach as well, but that just wasn’t comfortable for me.
I have to say, on an average night at home, I can drop off pretty quickly. The Wife gets pissed at times, because it typically goes something like:
Me: “‘Night, honey.”
The Wife: “Night, babe.”
Me: “Love you.”
The Wife: “Love you too.”
But not last night. I started on my back and it wasn’t bad, but I usually fall asleep on my side. So I moved to my left side. That stupid tube going from nose to ear to throat was making itself known by digging into my cheek a bit. Then, of course, along come the thoughts. What if I can’t fall asleep? What if I’m up all night?
Then the dude in the room next to me started snoring. Not loud, but enough to hear it. I felt the frustration the Wife likely feels when I drop off in seconds. Bastard. I was still wide awake. Tired, but wide awake.
So, back to my back. Though it feels like I didn’t fall asleep there, I very likely did. Then I woke up again. Over to the right side. Tubes digging. Not comfortable. More discouraging thoughts. I should have read more, made myself really tired.
Back to the back.
And so on, through much of the night.
I knew wake up was around six in the morning, but being in a room with no windows, I had no idea what time it was. I had decided before going to bed that I would not use the desk clock feature on my phone, because I didn’t really want to know what time it was if I couldn’t sleep, and I’m glad I did.
But it’s interesting, because, of course, the dude watching the monitors knows exactly when I’m awake. So, when I woke up and rolled over, I heard him on the small speaker. “Good morning! Right on time. It’s 5:58. Just relax and I’ll be in soon.”
Yup, that’s me. It doesn’t matter what time I need to get up, I usually wake up a minute or two prior to the alarm going off. Good to see it still worked here as well.
He came in, unjacked me and we headed back into the room where he dewired me and handed me a small towel and facecloth to scrub some of that goopty-goo off. I went into the bathroom and, looking in the mirror, realized exactly how inadequate one little facecloth was going to be for the task.
I scrubbed it off my chin and anywhere else it was visible, then ran my hands under the water and finger-brushed my hair back. It was only 7:00 am and it was a ten-minute drive home. I had planned on grabbing a coffee on the way, but nope, it was straight home and right into the shower.
On the way out, I got an appointment card for about a month from now, when I’ll get my results. I already know what they’ll be. “You sleep fine, and if you want to get rid of that snore, lose forty pounds.”
Mark my words. In the meantime, I wait.
And now, here I sit, tired as hell. Though I can honestly say that I got wired on a Saturday night, and had to sleep it off.
Time for a nap.