Editor’s note: Jeff is a little tired and grumpy this morning after his sleep study, so he will not put up with bullshit. He expects you to find every joke funny and to leave plenty of comments. What an ass.
I’m back from my latest sleep study and boy am I tired. The irony isn’t lost on me.
Just to backtrack for a moment, I have sleep apnea and occasionally the various doctors in my life send me to a sleep clinic so they can monitor my sleep and make little notes on my sleep patterns – such as do I breathe while I sleep. Each visit has been rather interesting and you can read about two of my prior visits here and here.
This was my first visit to a new sleep clinic, so I was looking forward to the lovely amenities the sleep clinic offered. My previous clinic had free wifi, an ensuite bathroom with shower, a TV, a large bed (though not comfy), and I chose my bed time. Not quite the Hilton, but better than the Super 8 Motel.
I should have known I was in trouble right from the beginning. The nurse arrived in the waiting room to collect my health card. (For you American folks reading this, that’s because we have socialized medicine and we need a health card to show we’re not American.) I asked her if there was free wifi and she said yes there was and the password was the phone number to the clinic. “Oh, and what’s that?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she said and offered to look it up. Strike one. She didn’t know the phone number of the clinic she worked at. A comforting thought. I suddenly became proud of her for finding her office each night.
A few minutes later, she returned to the waiting room and called out my name by reading from my health card – but just my middle and last name. I looked at her and smiled and said she kind of missed the name at the far left of my health card. She looked puzzled and then realized her mistake. I hope I taught her a life lesson about how one reads from left to right as opposed to somewhere-in-the-middle-to-right.
Perhaps she was just tired. Strike two.
As I was being led to my room, she pointed out the communal bathroom/shower --- grrrrr! – and communal sink to get a glass of water -- grrrr! – and my room with no TV – grrrrr! – and then she asked what time I went to bed. I told her midnight and she said that was great – she’ll come in at 1030pm to
shut off the lights with a wake up time of 6am. We were getting close to this being *worse* than a Super 8 Motel…
After wandering down the hall to get a drink of water and waiting in line to use the washroom, the same nurse that had greeted me in the waiting room came in and explained she was going to be the one wiring me up. This is the nurse that didn’t know the phone number and couldn’t read my name on the health card. Now she was going to attach electrodes to my skull. Couldn’t wait.
First, she explained, she needed to use an exfoliant on little patches of my face and scalp to create a better signal for the electrodes. I jokingly told her she didn’t need to use electrodes because I broadcast in the FM signal band. She didn’t get it. I then jokingly said if she’s exfoliating small portions of my face, can she just exfoliate my entire face and maybe she can do my fingers and toes after.
She didn’t get that either.
After spending a good 5 minutes exfoliating seemingly random patches of skin on my face and scalp, she then took some paste and covered those clean spots and attached electrodes to them. There were 3 on my scalp, 3 on my chin, a couple under my eyes, and a partridge in a pear tree.
She then had me stand up and extend my arms to my sides. Apparently we were about to do some calisthenics before bed time. A second nurse wandered in explaining she was here to assist the first nurse and hey, that works for me! Two nurses fawning over me, attaching electrodes to my body? It’s kinda hot in a way…sort of.
While I was standing there, the first nurse was explaining how she’d be wrapping some bands around my chest. At the same time, the second nurse was behind me, putting on gloves. I’ve always found the concept of nurses wearing gloves to be odd. I’m not sure if they’re doing it for my protection or their own. “Oh my gosh! Look at him! I don’t want to get whatever the fuck he has! I’m going to put on these gloves and heck, we’ll put on this mask and full body armour just for good measure.”
So, being (semi) kinky guy that I am, I said out loud: “I’m standing here with my arms extended at my sides and there’s a nurse behind me putting on gloves. I saw a movie like this once.” They both laughed. I also wondered if they were going to spend the night sending shocks to my brain.
The second nurse noticed that the first nurse was putting some of the electrodes in the wrong spot. Strike three. They actually had a slight argument in front of me about whether certain electrodes were supposed to be attached to the top of my head or slightly to the side. I wanted to tell them to flip a coin and get on with it already, but again, I was already nervous about them shocking me all night.
Finally, they were done! I was wired up with no place to go. They gently laid me down in bed, wires dangling everywhere. My feet were totally hanging off the edge of the bed. Apparently the sleep clinic normally only dealt with small people.
The pillows were also fun.. As I laid down on them, they felt like they were literally deflating. I went from having two fluffy pillows beneath my head to these two dimensional, paper-thin wafers. I’ve seen soft pillows before, but this was ridiculous. I would’ve had a bigger bump beneath me if I was laying on two saltine crackers! These pillows were so thin, I could fold them up and take them away with me in my wallet. They were pocket pillows!
My CPAP mask was on, I was laying down, and that first nurse announced that she was now going to turn on the CPAP machine. She asked if I was ready. If I was prepared. That I should take a deep breath first. (Note: I’ve been using a CPAP machine for 5 years and she was aware of this.) She pushed the button and…
A loud whooshing sound came out of the machine. Why? Because she hadn’t attached the air hose from the machine to my mask.
Because of how I was laying down, all I saw was some frantic scrambling and mumbling. The second nurse glided in and calmly told the first nurse to turn off the CPAP machine and attach the hose. Meanwhile I’m thinking: “And that’s a wrap, folks! Can I get this order to go? I think I’m done here.”
They finally hooked me up – properly – got the machine going, and I spent the next 7+ hours being woken up periodically because of loose wires; my cold feet sliding off the bed and outside of the covers; the oxygen meter on my finger sliding off; and almost choking myself to death everytime I tried to roll over.
Basically your standard play party.
I was so tired this morning that as I was leaving the clinic, I almost walked into a mirror by the entrance that was a reflection of the parking lot. And now here I am writing this.
I’m afraid to shower because I fear that the first nurse accidentally left a few wires and electrodes strapped to my body and I’ll be found dead days later in some sort of bizarre post-sleep clinic aftercare accident.
Laugh, dammit! That was funny.
What an ass.