Journey to the Bottom of the Sleep Lab

I joke sometimes that I could sleep for England (or Germany, as the case may be)–I think that claim is in question! Or else the line on the instructions about most people forgetting about the wires is bunk.

Self, overnight bag, pillow, and purse appeared in the basement sleep lab promptly at 8 pm, as requested. I changed into my PJs as soon as I could, because I wasn’t sure when they’d be hooking me up. As it turned out, someone was in pretty quickly to do my intake, what little was left after my initial consultation. I had taken my medication early, expecting that I would be asked to get hooked up and try to sleep at an absurd hour. Sure enough, around nine-thirty, there I was in an exam room, getting globs of paste daubed on my head, and EEG leads pressed into them. The strange thing was that I was pretty drowsy at that point, but I’d gone the whole day without napping, and I’d been reading quietly without any music. Then they hooked me into the machine, told me how to get their attention, dimmed the lights, and left.

And I tried to sleep. I swear I did. But oh, do you know how hard that is on a mattress Papa Bear would’ve found firm? I toss and turn a lot before I actually get comfortable in my own bed. I also sleep in a much more natural environment than, well, a box underneath a suite of offices. (I am now more sure than ever that I wish to be cremated, by the way.) I’m used to open windows, or at least a view of the night–my dim blue fairy lights–my cats, my God, I missed my cats! So I hunched in on myself and clutched my bear, waiting for sleep to come. When it did, I dreamed I was in the sleep lab and dreaming. Yes, within the dream. And then I woke, anxious enough to need a bit of Ativan. More sleep. More dreams. Not long enough. I hate going to sleep so early that if I do wake, it’s only two or three in the morning. I’m not sure I did dream the last time. I just lay on my back and waited, dozing. I should have passed through some kind of dreaming sleep to get to my oblivion, and I usually know whether I’ve dreamed or not, even if I don’t recall what it was. I don’t think I dreamed.

So I was insufferably perky at five in the morning, when they came to let me out.

They’d stuck leads on my face, even, so there was no avoiding at least a brisk washing of the face with hand soap. I also brushed my teeth, because I hate feeling all scummy-mouthed, and it’s ever so much easier to face the morning with minty-fresh breath. I packed up, went upstairs to wait for my mother, and promptly managed to forget my pillow in the lobby. Oops. Well, they’ve fetched it for when I go back in two weeks.

My cats missed me as much as I missed them. Trixie in particular was right there waiting for me when I stumbled through the door. She ran ahead of me when she saw I was making for the stairs, assuming–correctly–I wanted my own bed, my own blankets, and my nice, open space, including the gentle morning breeze. I slept until eleven or so. Then I ran a bath and scrubbed the rest of the glop off my head, specifically out of my hair. If you have never seen my hair, rest assured that this was some effort. I actually combed it through to be sure. I even used my sulfate-laden clarifying shampoo. Much as I adore my Tea Tree Triple Threat, it would not have done the job. Because I stripped my poor hair of all its natural oils, I did remember to condition. My curls have bounced back nicely, in case you were wondering.

I cannot wait to see what the sleep psych thinks of my EEG. Sky tells me I’m the oddest sleeper he knows. The evening nurse seemed astonished when I described my dreams. Apropos of nothing, I may see her again soon–she’s with the roller derby, and she says if I’m a terror at floor hockey, I ought to strap on some padding and a pair of skates. Either way, she’s friends with my friend Bob, which made me smile. Truly a small world, and I don’t object a bit. She also assured me she understood about my right to privacy, which was quite nice of her, even if I’m sitting here blogging all about it anyway!

Stir-fry tonight. My father’s doctor recently told him he was going to get diabetes if he didn’t change his diet, and lo and behold, up he pops with a sugar reading of 285. The sweating and thirst were a dead giveaway–even for July, his was excessive. He is now well and truly diabetic, and going on a low-glycemic-index diet whether he likes it or not. It’s also likely he’ll go on medication, and he is getting a tester. So. Stir-fry. And he will take care to eat more chicken and veg than noodles. (Leaving them for me! Yay!)

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