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Ridiculous sleep apnea machine alienates wife, brings peace
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If you know someone who voluntarily uses a sleep apnea machine, it can be baffling. If you use one yourself, you understand. - photo by Steve Eaton
Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and discovering someone has attached a leaf blower to your face and left it on. Now imagine being grateful they did.

Welcome to the world of CPAP machines. CPAP stands for Crushing Pride at an Alarming Pace. Once you put on a CPAP mask, you can no longer evoke anything but pity. You must accept the reality that if you need a sleep apnea machine, no one will ever hug you again as you fall asleep unless, of course, your wife is an intensive care nurse who really loves her job.

People who agree to use CPAP machines, as I have, are desperate. They get beyond tired in the day. They are alone because you can never complain about being tired and get sympathy or understanding. Try it. Next time you are in a meeting with three or more people, mention to them that you are feeling dead tired, really tired. They will all top your story with their own.

You couldnt sleep for one night? Try two years! I havent had a good nights sleep in two years.

We have decided that important and successful people dont have time for sleep.

There are two scientific ways you can determine if you have sleep apnea:

1. Ask one of your less-empathetic friends to sit by your bed and wait for your alarm to go off. When it does, have him give you two choices. You can get up right at that moment, or you can sleep for 10 more minutes but he will turn on Rush Limbaugh at full volume and beat you with a bat during that 10 minutes. If you opt for the mental and physical beating, you probably have sleep apnea.

2. You can go in for an all-night test in which they wire you up with tubes and sensors and all manner of futuristic things and then challenge you to sleep while strangers stare at you all night. If you agree to this and are willing to pay your part of the massive bill, you probably have sleep apnea.

Two days ago, I came home and discovered that my usually good dog Sundance was accidentally locked in our bedroom for about an hour while I was gone. He showed his anger by chewing holes in a wide assortment of things and gnawing through the straps that normally hold my leaf blower to my face.

After getting past this annoying setback, I decided this was an opportunity to prove once and for all that I was beyond the sleep machine. If I can go to the gym and work out five times a week, for crying out loud, I can certainly breathe on my own at night, I thought.

I discovered negative sleep. Thats sleep that is so bad that its worse than no sleep at all. I eventually got up after waking up suddenly gasping for air 250 times. I did not feel refreshed. I spent the rest of the day having short out-of-body experiences, being severely startled every time anyone spoke to me and wondering if I was somehow stuck in a very boring, unending dream.

I found myself standing in a store where they sell elevated potties, walkers and all the supplies you would need to be one of the cool guys in a nursing home. I found the sleep apnea masks and discovered a brochure that showed a very handsome, fit man with a long tube stuck to the center of his face like he was a human/ elephant hybrid from the future. His incredibly beautiful wife was snuggled up to him like she had died and gone to heaven because she was with the worlds most attractive elephant man. Obviously she was pretending to be an intensive care nurse.

You dont just walk in and buy the equipment you need when it comes to sleep apnea stuff because the people who sell it are planning to sell it to you over and over again for the rest of your life because they think your insurance company will pay for all of this. Its designed to wear out quickly. You go into an office like you are going to try to negotiate a good deal on a car. It takes a long time. I didnt mind; I just sat down in front of my sales guy and let my spirit wander off in the store riding the little electric scooters about. He eventually stopped talking to me because it scared him and me too much.

Now Im awake and grateful to be alive. Im still tired but I could change the station if someone turned on a radio, and I would not allow anyone, friend or foe, to come into my house who was smiling and carrying a bat. You can call me old. You can call me feeble. Just dont take way my leaf blower. And dont wake me up in the morning.

I wonder if John Lennon secretly had a sleep apnea machine that he hid when he did his famous bed-ins with Yoko. He and Paul McCartney did, after all, write these words:

Please, don't wake me. No, don't shake me. Leave me where I am. I'm only sleeping.

I can relate, only I would sing, All I am saying is give the machine a chance.
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