Thursday, February 4, 2010
But it's not all fun and games. As you'd imagine, people who suffer from apnea don't sleep very soundly. Since they are jolted awake every time their lungs frantically gasp for air, they never settle into REM sleep, the deep sleep in which our dreams are accompanied by the song "Losing My Religion." This leaves the apneapolitans exhausted all day long, and as a result, they often doze off while reading, watching TV, or typing on the compufdsoias;vl;/./..............
Sorry. Where was I?
As you may have guessed, I suffer from this disorder. That is, I used to until I decided to go to the doctor for treatment, the word "decided," of course meaning "went to the doctor because Theresa threatened to set me on fire in my sleep if I didn't." Threats like this, by the way, are not uncommon. While sleep apnea is known to create health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, most apnea-related deaths are caused by a sleep-deprived spouse or significant other murdering the apnea-sufferer in a fit of homicidal rage. Historically, the courts have considered this type of murder "totally justifiable."
The treatment for sleep apnea is a device called a CPAP machine. The CPAP (or as I affectionately refer to it, "Wheezer") is a pump, connected by a flexible plastic tube to a face mask. The mask is similar in appearance to the one worn by Maverick in the classic film Top Gun. In fact, the first night I wore it I rolled over, looked at Theresa, and said, "Tower, this is Ghostrider, requesting a fly-by."
"Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full."
After the first night with Wheezer my life was changed. I wasn't tired during the day anymore. I didn't doze off, I had more energy, and I wasn't quite the insufferable prick that I usually am. The change happened, literally, over night. Sleeping with a mask on takes some getting used to, and it's not always comfortable, but it's a hell of a lot better than being woken up by acid reflux and gagging on your own bile (another fun side effect).
All kidding aside, sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder and if left untreated can cause severe health problems. I waited far too long to get it taken care of and as a result spent two years functioning at a significantly lower level than normal. If you know someone with sleep apnea -- the guy sleeping on the couch making sounds like a constipated water buffalo, for example -- talk to him about going to the doctor. It'll be one of the most important things you ever do for him.
And if he won't listen to reason, just threaten to kill him to death. It worked for me.