Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Sleep Lab

Last night was my night at the sleep lab. It is a strange place where people watch you sleep and count how many times you turn and check to make sure you are breathing.

I guess that last one is a good thing.

Thankfully, my sleep technician was a great guy named Eric who hails from Peru where he was trained and practiced as a medical doctor. However, since it would take a lot of work and money to get certified in the US, he now helps people sleep better. And for that I am very thankful.

(He has also climbed Machu Pichu five times, which, although fascinating, is not critical for this story.)

Also, he told me that if I ever needed anything in the night that all I had to do is turn on my light and clap three times and he would come running. In my mind, all I could think about was the crazy old woman who used The Clapper before she went to bed. Do you remember this?

(That is an extremely awkward video. God bless 1989.)

Now, I am not going to lie to you: it was not the best sleep of my life. Nope. I had ten electrodes taped to my head, two on my chest, two on my legs and a pulse/ox thing on my finger. And then, at 2:00 a.m., Eric came in to tell me that I needed to strap the breathing mask to my face because apparently I forget to breathe sometimes.

Here I am pre-breathing mask:


(Obviously an Instagram filter was needed.)

(The guys are already lining up outside of my door.)

The second half of my night's sleep was noticeably different from the first half. For one, I had a constant flow of air forcing itself into my lungs. While that may seem uncomfortable, it was actually rather peaceful, like someone or something was taking over for a while and all I needed to do was rest.

(I am pretty sure there is a Biblical principle in that somewhere.)

Secondly, whenever I took a deep breath, my toes and fingers would tingle. Granted, that may mean I have an unexplained health condition, but to me, it signified the fact that my extremities were finally getting the oxygen they needed.

At 6:20, Eric came in to wake me up and told me I slept like a soldier, hardly moving at all. I think subconsciously I was afraid I would strangle myself with the wires. It was a legitimate concern. By 6:45, I was de-wired and had unofficially (from a technician) yet officially (from a Peruvian doctor) been told that I am going to need a machine to help me sleep at night...for the rest of my days.


However, I am choosing to see the positive in this: people pay big money to go to oxygen bars so they look refreshed and rejuvenated. I will have that for 8 hours a night, every night. It's how I roll now.

Plus, my heart will be healthier, I will have more energy, my metabolism will rev up (can I get a gigantic HALLELUJAH for this one?) and I will have my Halloween costume ready to go: Darth Vader's mother.