My goal is to write a blog post almost everyday. My reality lately is that I blog a couple of times a month. What is the disconnect? I have somehow let the mundane (but necessary) tasks of my daily life overtake every spare moment of time. So, my new goal is to make sure that I blog twice a week, on whatever topic is making my cake rise that day (cake, huh? First day of a new diet maybe? Yup, you betcha! But don’t worry, no matter how much weight I lose, I’ll still be extra, um, fluffy). And today, a recent medical test and my experience with it is making me laugh, so I’m sharing it with you
I recently went for a sleep study. Not for fame or money (I keep getting rejected for drug studies. The pay is awesome but they are so totally serious when they say you MUST be an habitual user of X,Y, or Z to qualify and they actually check to make sure. Geez, trust issues much pharmaceutical company?) but rather because I snore and keep my husband awake. And I’m tired all the time, no matter how much sleep I think I get. And it’s not just “I have a lot of people and house to take care of” tired. It’s deep down into my bones exhausted. And despite what my I.D. may say, I am just too damned young to be this damned tired. And it also upsets Mr. K.B. and I to no end (for different reasons, I’m sure, but upset nonetheless.) And the snoring embarrasses me and makes me feel sad, bad, and mad. So instead of hiding it any longer, I’m talking about it so maybe it will cease to be my ‘dirty little secret’ and will no longer have the power to reduce my self-worth and self-image. Of course, I’m opening myself up for teasing and ridicule, but being a life-long member in the ‘fat kid’ club, I’m used to bearing the brunt of other people’s insecurities. But, as usual, I digress.
A short yet worthwhile visit to an ENT specialist in Newmarket (she was young, professional, knowledgeable and prompt, and I SO totally dig that in a doctor, if you need her name, let me know and I’ll find it for you) revealed that I have a severely (and rather stupidly) deviated septum (for reals though, not like one of those Hollywood starlet “deviated septum conditions” that necessitate a nose job AND a boob job AND a tad of liposuction for good measure. Nope, this here is the real deal peeps , no boob jobs included. Boo.) Before deciding to perform the non-cosmetic surgery to repair the septum, the doctor ordered a sleep study to rule out other possible issues. So her office arranged it with the lab and the lab called me with the appointment time and place.
I arrived at the lab in Richmond Hill (Oak Ridges, more specifically) and in relatively short order discovered that sleep studies are NOT conducive to a restful night’s sleep. At all. Like, not even a little bit. And, no, there were no children screaming for me in the middle of the night, or feral cats yowling their horny-cat mating calls outside and scaring the poorly sleeping crap out of me. There were no dishes to do to keep me from going to bed early. Worry not though, because there were other, previously unmentioned hurdles to a comfortable sleep built-into the process for which I was unprepared. But that won’t happen to you. Because you have me and I’m an excellent guinea pig (even though those scare the holy crap out of me too) and I’m here to share my experiences with you. So you’re far more prepared for what is involved in said “sleep” study. Now, I should preface with this little tidbit, just so that everything is on the up and up. Ready, here is my confession:
I suffer from a mild (self-diagnosed) case of narcolepsy (NOT necrophilia – that shit is GROSS and ain’t nobody got time for that here), which, to me, means that I can fall asleep under even the most inappropriate and adverse conditions. So I did sleep, as directed by the technician, and likely provided all kinds of fan-tabulous data. I mean, the narcolepsy means that I am an Olympian caliber sleeper. Subway sleepers? Please, they are complete amateurs, waking up constantly checking for their stop. People who snooze at work? Aside from looking to get fired, are not all that uncommon or spectacular. Falling asleep DURING an in-person conversation? Nodding off while in ANY position, vertical or horizontal? Unable to stay mildly alert at a funeral? That is getting much closer to what I’m talking about. Now, back to the whole sleep study thing.
Now, I am yet to receive the results, but this I can tell you: 1) that glue goop that they use to stick the multiple electrodes to your head with mess with your ‘do for days afterwards (unless you are bald, then, yay you!); 2) Even though they set the room up to LOOK like a hotel, they totally FROWN upon middle-of-the-night room service calls for champagne and Pringles; 3) These studies are not designed for those among us who still retain a shred of vanity or dignity. They are WATCH YOU SLEEP. They wake you at 6 a.m. to strip you of your wires and you look like Medusa lost a wrestling match with a towel-adverse toddler (those are the slipperiest kind!). They have spent the last eight hours watching you drool, listening to you snore, talk, cry, thrash about, laugh, grunt, scratch your ass, whatever you do in your unconscious state, they’ve seen it.
Once the wires are removed (30 minutes to hook up and takes less than five to rip them all off) the technician will remove the velco-fastened straps from around your mid-section and give you a clipboard and a pen. After you finish the questionnaire about your experience at the Pseudo-Hilton-esque resort, they hand you a coupon for a muffin and a coffee or tea, redeemable at the coffee shop in the lobby (no substitutions please), and tell you to take your time leaving. They tell you that you may shower “if you like” but the reality is, your hair is completely fucked, so showering prior to leaving is only pretending to be optional. Two pieces of advice here: Plan on showering. And plan on shit going wrong.
Now, should you have mistakenly packed the wrong hair care products in your reusable shopping bag (like maybe I did), and you unknowingly wash your hair with body wash (fuck nuggets, those stupid bottles all look-alike!) only to realize that no amount of conditioner is going to fix the combined assault of the goop and the body wash, know that you can pull the whole rasta-looking rats nest into a ‘no-pull’ elastic (um, yeah, right!). Then, throw on your clothes, do a final once over to make sure that you are not leaving anything behind and you book it out the door. Head down, to the elevator, you do not want to see anyone and you definitely do not want anyone to see you. You’re still sticky from variously slathered goop and seemingly randomly applied industrial-strength medical tape that only Goo Gone and a course of dermabrasion will dissolve, and let’s be real – you’re still mostly asleep, so making new friends in the elevator is just not on your radar.
Get downstairs, claim your free muffin (I decided to forgo the tea, since I am clumsy, needed to drive Mr. K.B.’s car home and was, as previously alluded to, still significantly asleep, and I knew that I still had a bottle of Diet Pepsi waiting for me in the frost covered car, but you may be in better shape than I, or at least less-accident prone). Tip: Remember your to bring sunglasses! That oh-so-romantic sunrise on your honeymoon in Hawaii is completely fucking retina burning on the 6:30 in the morning drive home from a sleep study. Next, make it home (how? I dunno, these are only suggestions), jump back in the shower, this time with the correct products (and lots of them!), un-goo and de-tangle your hair as much as possible, then apply whatever lotions, potions and magical elixirs you use to make yourself gorgeous again (in my case, it’s more to stop the children from recoiling in terror at the sight of me *grin*) and get back to the business of being MUM. Or WIFE. Or MISTRESS. Whatever it is you do between bathroom breaks.
So, what did this whole experience teach me? Well, simply put, sleep studies are not for those vain in nature, meek in constitution or dignified in life. They are for those of us who have been striped of our dignity in a medical setting before (um, childbirth anyone? A nice and comfy colonoscopy, maybe?). The sleep study method of data collection is perfect for those of us who have been seen by strangers at our worst, in the most terrifically bad artificial lighting (um, yes, back to that whole childbirth in a hospital setting thing) and have proven ourselves to have the fierceness of spirit needed to expose ourselves and our bodies to the complete loss of power and control that something like, I don’t know, pregnancy and childbirth do. Hmmm, reading this, you would never guess that I totally loved being pregnant, but I did. I just am not delusional about just how little say I had in my body during the process.
At the end of the day, I am glad that I went for the study (these are my thoughts BEFORE receiving the results of said study), because taking care of myself and my health IS taking care of my family and their health. So, if you or your s.o. snore or have other sleep disturbances, do consider investigating it further. It may be something simple and totally fixable. And totally not worth avoiding just to maintain the illusion of still being in possession of a scrap of vanity and a shred of dignity. Let’s be real. Living life stole those two characteristics from you a LONG time ago, my friends.