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Perchance to Dream

June 29, 2013

Some years ago, my friend Joe suggested that I might have sleep apnea.  He has it, and uses, at least sometimes, a device called CPAP, which fits over the nose or mouth or both – I’m not sure, and, I think, forces air into his nose or mouth while he sleeps, which evidently keeps the airway open, and the airway closing while one sleeps, is, as I understand it, what sleep apnea is.  As a result of sleep apnea, the airway closes, and one starts awake…and opens one’s airway.  As I understand it, and as I’ve experienced it, one isn’t necessarily consciously aware that one has awakened, but, evidently, it repeats throughout one’s sleep, even hundreds of times during the night, thereby robbing one of the deep sleep that’s needed to be fully rested.

At the time,  I went to my doctor, and he made the calls necessary for me to get a sleep test, paid for by my health insurance.  So I went to the sleep center, as it was called, at night, if I recall correctly, and went to bed and to sleep, monitored by a technician.  After awhile, he awakened me, told me that I seemed to have a mild case of sleep apnea, and fitted the CPAP to my face, then allowed me to go back to sleep.  Except that the CPAP seemed to me to be suffocating me.  After awhile I told him that I couldn’t sleep this way.  He told me that I had been asleep.  I may have tried again, but as far as I was concerned, I couldn’t fall asleep with this thing on my face, and by now I was exhausted, and I just got up and went home.

Now, about 5 years later, I think the sleep apnea has gotten worse.  In order to get the CPAP I need a prescription.  In order to get a prescription I need to repeat (and complete) the sleep test.  So my doctor is looking into whether my insurance will pay for it again.  If not, I’ll look into how much it costs and pay for it myself, if that’s allowed and it doesn’t cost too much.  Because I really think it’s effecting me on a daily basis.

I get very, very tired during the day.  Often I get so sleepy I have a hard time staying awake.  I am afraid this has caused me to really curtail my activities.  It’s not that I’m necessarily lethargic, but I do feel as though I don’t have much energy.

If I do get the CPAP or some other device prescribed, and if it helps me, that’d be terrific; but I’m a bit afraid that if that happens, I’ll grieve over the years that have gone by when I was living at reduced energy and probably not doing things I might have enjoyed, and/or that might have helped me advance in various areas that I’m interested in, especially my career.  It’s an odd fear.  Fear that I’ll discover I’ve missed out on a part of my life, even while I’m regaining the time that’s ahead.  Yet the fear, or at least concern, is there.


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