Taking a breather

mirageswift.jpgLast night was my second sleep study, and it was way better than the first one. First, this technician wasn’t taking out decades of aggression on my skin with liquid sandpaper. No, he was rather agreeable and went way beyond the call of duty to make me comfortable. Get this: he helped me get my hair into a proper ponytail at just the right angle so that I could sleep comfortably. This is not small feat.

You see, the elelctrodes affixed to the scalp during a sleep study rely on a clean, unvarnished head of hair. That means no styling products. And on me, no styling prodcuts produces a bozo-like fluff of hair that quite resembles a pomeranian with dreads. Seriously. But this technician carefully parted my hair and carefully smoothed it down and ever-so-gently held it up as I wrapped it into a bun at just the right angle so as to not detach the electrodes and fit between the straps of my sexy CPAP mask. He deserves an award, really.

So. Part of last night’s goal was to have me choose which style of mask I liked. I happen to know there are literally hundreds of masks to choose from, but the tech only brought two in. (immediately, I wanted to see ALL my options. I mean, that’s like showing me two dresses and telling me to choose one for prom. Uh, no. You MIGHT get a decision from me after I’ve tried on about 100 dresses!) He had one mask that covers the nose completely, and one that has little prongs that go in each nostril and sits underneath the nose above the upper lip. The tech explained that he had tried them both, and that he preferred the one that covers the entire nose. Upon looking at both masks, however, I knew immediately that I couldn’t deal with a big plastic cone sitting atop my nose all night. I thought it would be hot and cumbersome and send me into a fit of hysteria. I opted for the pronged-nose-insert approach.

And I tell you, it wasn’t half bad! He set the mask on my face and let me get used to it. Then he said he’d turn on the machine and let me see what the air feels like. I was scared to death. Having suffered from asthma for most of my childhood, I’m not one to remain calm when the inability to breath sets in. He gave me a 4-second warning that the air would start, and when it did, I ran through a series of emotions in about half a second. First, the air started blowing and I inhaled. (Not bad!) Then I tried to exhale. (I can’t find words to describe how weird that felt). Inhaled again. (ok, this is easy!) Exhaled. (I think I get the rhythm now). And then I tried to say to the tech, “this isn’t so bad” and the very moment I opened my mouth, the pressurized air that was whirring through my nose came streaming out of my mouth. I couldn’t speak! It was like having a wind tunnel run through my face. I gasped, choked, shut my trap, and began breathing normally again. Lesson learned: no talking with the mask on!

Once I got the hang of it, I settled into bed and the tech turned the machine back on. In about 10 minutes, I was able to fall right to sleep. I did wake up a few times as they increased the air pressure, but overall it was a very restful night’s sleep. My only complaint is that I couldn’t take a machine home with me this morning! Instead, it will take about 10 days for the doctors and insurance companies to get it straightened out and the equipment delivered. I’m excited! I hope the machine comes in black & stainless steel to match our other appliances….

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