We have this policy where I work that says if I’m out sick for three days, I have to get a note from a doctor saying I’m okay to come to work. I had a cold. I missed three days. I made an appointment to see a doctor.
They took some vitals. I was fine, cold-wise, but my BP was off the chart. We’re talking in the 210s. The doctor asked me a bunch of questions. Do I drink? Yes, but not more than a couple of beers per week; usually a couple of beers every other week. Do I exercise? Yes, but not very strenuously. I walk about 40 miles per week (81,500 steps per week back then). History of high BP in my family? Yes. But no history myself. I’ve never hit numbers above normal.
She ordered some bloodwork. There was nothing to indicate I should have high BP, although my LDLs were high normal and my HDL low normal, and my blood sugar was “pre diabetic.”
I was immediately put on medication to manage the blood sugar. I immediately modified my diet to get rid of most of my empty carbs, mostly rice and bread. I got some BP meds, and orders to come back every X weeks until I got it down to acceptable.
How well do you sleep? my doctor asked. I’ve had sleep issues all my life. How many hours do you usually get? Um. Five and a half to six? Why so few? Because I’m immature and irresponsible. Do you snore? Like a madman, although that wasn’t always the case. Do you wake up gasping for air? Yes, pretty often. Do you wake up with headaches? Frequently.
She set up an appointment for a sleep study. I knew it already; had suspected it for years. Sleep apnea.
I slept in a sleep lab at the hospital. First for a few hours for observations, to see if I had sleep apnea. Then for a few hours more with a CPAP machine attached to my face, so they could try different levels of air pressure to see what worked best for me.
A few days later, I had a machine, a small thing you plug into the wall, about the size and shape of a loaf of pumpernickel. Connecting the device to a mask covering my face and mouth, a long plastic tube. There’s a reservoir for water, so the air going into my lungs is humid enough not to dry me out.
This is my life now. A friend tells me something about the construction of Asian men’s skulls and throats makes us more likely to have sleep apnea. I admit that while there’s no Mrs. in my life right now, I’m a little worried about the sexiness of this if there should ever be one.
My boss says you never know. There’s surely a woman out there with a Darth Vader fetish; she’s waiting for me to find her.
A friend assures me that Bane is sexier in bed than a snorer.
My BP was coming down, but during the holidays I kinda let everything go, diet-wise. So I haven’t been back to check my numbers, despite calls from the HMO to make appointments. One reason I’m typing this up now is to remind myself that I need to do it already.
First thing Thursday. Or Friday.