“So I smoke another cigarette, as the sun rose over the city, but it didn’t shine on me. Sleep has never made me happy. What’s left for me here? Another lonely winter night, street lights and a sleepless dream.” – Restless by The Broadways
I kept thinking about how I wanted to start this post. The lyrical quote above will suffice, however what I really wanted to say was, I NEED TO FUCKING SLEEP. I could just end it there. End of post. I will have to come back and delete these few sentences, unless by the end of writing this post, I am passed the hell out on this keyboard and drooling all over the space bar. I mean what I really need is a self induced state of torpor and a summer long hibernation. But things never seem to work out they way I expect them.
The problem with my sleep happens to do with a little thing called obstructive sleep apnea. I mentioned this in one of my first posts. I don’t know exactly when it started, I always snored to some extent, and instinctively always slept on my side. Sleeping on my back has occasionally left me with a swollen uvula which is incredibly annoying. At any rate, I know that about 5 years ago, I started getting very tired during the day, especially at work. At the time, I was sleeping a full night, and I was also abstaining from all mind altering chemicals, including alcohol, however I did take a psychotropic cocktail of antidepressant drugs each day.
Occasional day time fatigue is not uncommon, but this was day in and day out of nodding out at work. It effected everything, and still does. After going to a doctor, participating in a sleep study, I was diagnosed. I asked my most recent ex at the time, why she didn’t tell me I stopped breathing in my sleep and she said she thought it was a side effect of my medication. I think she was waiting for me to die so she could harvest my organs and sell them on the black market. After all, I do have a ginormous heart.
When talking to someone about this condition and the weight it holds on my soul and being, they usually say, “well, get more sleep.” “You should exercise more so you can sleep.” “Go to bed earlier.” among other ill informed banalities. They don’t realize that “apnea” means temporary cessation from breathing. It’s like drowning in ones sleep. Depending on the frequency of my apneas, my body is in a constant state of heightened arousal, and not the fun kind. It’s easy to tell when I am fighting for air in my sleep because it comes out in my dreams. Every dream has this huge sense of urgency, like the world is going to collapse any second. I’ve had dreams where my dog is attacked, or another one where I was gunning down this smoking hot chick, in the shallows of a tropical beach and all of the sudden huge snakes were in the water with us. Basically, I ask myself, was something crazy happening? Oh it was, then you were choking son.
Also, while I agree the epidemic of poor sleepers resulting in the cash cow that is sleep drug industry is a self fulfilling prophecy, my disorder is different. It’s not a matter of being able to fall asleep. I can do that standing up, and often times when I really need sleep, I do it in a recliner or chair because sleeping at a 30 degree angle helps alleviate some of the pressure on the air duct, which is where my problem lies. According to my quirky sleep doctor, there are four generalized types of throats based on their tissue content. As we are all aware, no blow job was created equal, the same thing goes for throats. I have been blessed with a stage 4 type throat. I tried to find some images but came up empty. Stage 4 is a fleshy ass mouth. I had approached the doctor to get some sort of oral appliance that would alleviate my symptoms but according to him, because of my fleshy gullet, it would not work. My only option is a constant positive air pressure (CPAP) machine, and I just can’t sleep with that thing. I find it on the floor in the morning.
All this really means is, No REM sleep for me. Or, when I do get it, it amounts to around 35-45 minutes for an 8 hour sleep period. Sleep deprivation has been linked to reduced cognitive function, irritability, hallucinations. In fact, here check out this image from wikipedia on sleep deprivation and I’ll save my breath:
My body just shuts down. I unwillingly fight it off during the day time when I’m working, but after hours it’s a whole different ball game. The chair by my computer is common place for me to wake up, as well as the couch. Last night, I was laying on the floor messing with my dog, and that’s exactly where I woke up a few hours later, face down, on the carpet.
Even though I have been losing weight, getting in shape, you know, living the dream, it is quite possible I won’t ever be rid of this condition. That is fucking terrible. It is possible I could reduce the impact of this on my sleep by losing more weight and playing the didgeridoo, but there’s a reason I call it a didgeridon’t. Also, reducing my alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking would help too, but if I am choking in my goddamn sleep, who fucking cares? I do find some humor in a girl waking up naked in my bed, only to find my dog there with her and I am asleep in a chair in the living room. I have to find some light in a shitty situation.