Last night, I went through Stage 2 of the sleep apnea examination, which featured the use of the ultra-uncomfortable Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP apparatus (disclosure: photo is not of me but of another poor soul).
Around 9:30 p.m., a technician at Long Island Hospital strapped me up with a hundred electrodes so that he could monitor my breathing, leg movements, eye movements, heart and lung activity, and oxygen levels. It took about an hour for him to put all the gear on me and we had a nice chat about websites and web design. (After telling him that I designed websites, he informed me that his fifth grade son just built his first site, which made me feel about as powerful as a wet leaf.)
The sleep technician, a black man of small build who seemed to possible be from Ghana (he only hinted at his home country), then had me watch a video about CPAP in which heavyset people from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, talked about the instantaneous benefits received after a few nights of CPAP treatment. For the unitiated, or those who haven’t clicked the link above, under the influence of CPAP, a person’s nose is fully covered by a mask which, in turn, is fully strapped around one’s head, top to bottom. There’s a big flexible tube that pops out of the mask that goes to a whirring machine and one is essentially forced to breath out of one’s nose; in this way, air is forced one’s airway passage so that breathing (and not gasping, choking, wheezing, coughing, or asphyxiation) can happen.
Anyway, I slept like a baby, waking up about 4 times during the night, which is what most babies do. Lying in the hard hospital bed, I felt like a cross between Darth Vader and a person on life support, strapped up, strapped in, strapped. When the technician turned on the lights, I greeted him and asked how he was able to stay up all night. Was it coffee? He told me that he was an M.D. in Europe and that he used to deliver babies, so he used to have to stay up all night waiting for “deliveries.” He worked as a sleep technician four nights per week while during the day he studied for his medical license in the U.S.
On my way out to the elevator, I said goodbye to the technician and my CPAP and wondered what the hell I was doing designing websites for a freakin’ living.

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