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» Thursday, March 03, 2011Sleepy in Situ
I am so struggling to stay awake today.
James was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 24 years ago. It got him into a lot of trouble at work, because his idiot boss believed he was staying up nights drinking or some fool thing. The first thing he tried was the surgery, in which they remove your uvula and tighten the tissues in your throat (the collapsing of these tissues causes the apnea). They also moved his jaw forward something like a quarter of an inch to enlarge his airway. Unfortunately the surgery back then had a fail rate of 75 percent, and by 1990 his had failed. He started nodding off at work again and his boss refused to understand because "you had the surgery; you should be cured." He didn't understand that James could sleep twelve hours and would still be nodding off because he was waking up multiple times a night.
(I remember our honeymoon trip—the honeymoon was wonderful, but the drive was a nightmare. When I was driving, he would get in the passenger seat and fall asleep. When he drove, I couldn't sleep; I had to keep up a running patter or give him fruit or snacks or a drink to keep him awake at the wheel. He did actually fall asleep at the wheel at least once—thank God we were at a stop light at the time.)
So the CPAP machine was a godsend; the next trip we took in 1991 was like night and day.
Recently something has gone wrong; it started gradually around or after vacation, but James is now exhibiting the same symptoms he had back in the 80s and the early 90s. He can't sit in his chair without falling asleep, he can't sleep at night, and he just looks bad to me. He had to wait until last month just to get an appointment at the Sleep Clinic, where they told him the machine he has was working fine, so it couldn't have been damaged on the trip (besides, we had it as carry-on, unless the stupid TSA broke it when they had to take it out and turn it on), and then not until yesterday did they do something about it: they gave him a loaner machine that was supposed to measure what pressure he needed, and it even had a finger clamp, I guess to measure his pulse and maybe his blood oxygen.
Damned if I know how it got any readings on him at all; it felt like we were up half the night. The mask seemed better, but there was some other gadget with a light on it. James turned it upside down on the headboard of the bed, but it got turned over during the night and was always blinking. The mask also had a chin strap to keep his mouth closed, but it slipped right off his head (really stupid design). He has to bring the loaner back this afternoon and God knows what will happen after that, but it needs taking care of now. Every night he doesn't sleep properly isn't good for him, and it breaks my heart seeing him so groggy and struggling.