Rocking the Sleep Lab

I’m coming to you this morning straight off a 10 hour visit to the sleep lab and my morning run.

Of  course this would be the only morning ever that there was a hot guy using the circuit equipment on the path by lake where I run.You see, as luck would have it, today I didn’t wear my cute pink and white ball cap to hide my sexy bed head.  Because of my soiree a la sleep lab, I skipped the hat in favour of a headband so I didn’t get that sticky uber-icky gel that was left in my hair on my cute little cap. I also have a burned patch of skin by my left eye,which should heal up in time for my child’s wedding. My child is 12.

Regardless of thinking that OHIP approval for sleep tests was approved over one too many bourbons and a greasy padded handshake in a dark hotel lounge, I conceeded to going at my doctor’s third request.  I was so prepared for my sleep test. I was going to rock the sleep lab. I was going to prove that this was all bunk. I had been up since 8am, peeled, chopped and preserved almost 150lbs of tomatoes.  I ate a healthy dinner of fish and green beans.  My timing was fabulous. I rolled into the parking lot just five minutes before last beddy-bye call with my own orthopaedic pillow, cool jammies and my bed time cup of tea (thank you to the Tim Horton’s that I found on my way to the lab). Hey, parking spot #108. Eight is my lucky number. “Hmm. A good omen.This is going to be a great night”, I thought to myself.

You see, when I’m anxious I can’t fall asleep. I can’t stay asleep, and my mind whirrs with what if’s; what’s my bank balance, did I lock the door, does the cat have water, did I close the bird-cage, did I lock the car…..My goal was to keep tonight pretty low-key. I had worked all day to physically tire myself out, and it was time to trick my girl-brain into being calm, in the moment, and relaxed.

A lovely attendant met me at the door and escorted me to my room. Bed 5. Warm, granny like wallpapered walls and beige bedding were waiting for me. I filled out a two page form, and then settled in with my much beloved Globe and Mail. Relaxing in my jammies, I peeled the lid thingy back off of the top of my tea and took a big sip. Coffee?! COFFEE?! Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. Oh ebony elixir of  boundless energy, tonight was not your night to appear in my boudoir. Tonight I needed to soothe myself to sleep with tea.

Rocking the Sleep Lab; Take Two – I settled in with my much beloved Globe and Mail. As always, I started with the Style Section and then moved on to Arts, and Travel. I pulled the footstool over. Wait, that wasn’t a footstool. It was a step used for short(er) people to get up onto the examination bed. Waaaait a minute here. Upon closer inspection, this was an examination room that moonlights as a sleep room. Ew! What kind of germs are in here? Ick.

I padded to the kitchen in my slippers, hoping there would be some tea and a man from the cover of a romance novel in there. There was tea. Good enough. I’ll take that. As I waited for the kettle to boil, I read the signs on the fridge. “Do Not Use – For Office Use Only”, “How to Properly Pack Vaccines”, “Narcolepsy Hotline”, what? My mind flashed back to the intern I knew who claimed he had narcolepsy after repeatedly falling asleep while working.

Narcolepsy? Holy mackerel, the people in here could have real sleep issues. I think I’m ok, and kind of humouring my family physician by doing this, but what if I was in here with a bunch of sleepwalkers, sleepsexomaniacs and people with night terrors? Crap. None of these fancy shmancy doors locked. Maybe I’d better ask for earplugs. Hell, maybe I’d better take some of the jelly-lube looking stuff off the carts in the hallway just in case Mr. Wonderful Sleep Sex Offender wanders in during the night. This might be slightly more entertaining than I had anticipated.

 Uneasy about sleeping in an unlocked room with other people’s germs and potential weirdos roaming the halls, I decided to go to the washroom and get ready for bed. My girl brain was anything but mellow.

As I brushed my teeth I heard my Romeo in the next bathroom clearing the phlegm from his throat and blowing his nose like a war cry.  I guess tonight wasn’t going to be my magical-unexpectedly-meeting-the-man-of-my-dreams-night. Not unless I liked short fat men with mucus. Here’s a tip fellas;when you’re in a public space keep the phlegm clearing and nose honking on the down-low. Not that my fuzzy pink slippers and surgical green jammies were going to drive any man to the edge of desire.

Walking back to my room through the dimly lit hallway, I passed a few stainless steel carts with wires and tape and all kinds of goopy gels and lotions set out.  That’s when it dawned on me that I forgot to tell them I’m allergic to surgical adhesives (This morning the left side of my face looks like I fell on the stove because of that lovely, oh-so-gentle-adhesive). My little lab lady wired me up. A series of alcohol wipes, exfoliating the area where the electrode attached, drying the area, and attaching an electrode with some goop and a large piece of tape. 18 in total. 

They’re so smart. They dude you up with the wires, and let you carry on reading or whatever you’re doing, and say they’ll be back in half an hour “to put you to bed”. Heck, I haven’t been put to bed since I was a kid. This was kinda nice being looked after so thoughtfully.

Half an hour later she came back with more wires and straps. Don’t get kinky on me here, it was nothing  that exciting. Two breathing things that cut off your breathing (one at the chest, and one at the waist), and a lovely tube with nasal canulas to measure your intake of air. How the hell can they get an accurate reading of  intake of O2 when your nasal passages are jammed with plastic? After making me thoroughly uncomfortable, I was “put to bed”, and oh yes ma’am, one other thing, let me tie this heart rate monitor to your finger.

Besides the wires and tape all over my body and in my hair, I was coping with wearing underwear and pants. That alone can keep me up all night. Fabulous. I was so relaxed it’s just impossible to describe. What with all of these wires and things to strangle yourself with during the night, how could a person not sleep well in this environment? This had to be epitome of evidence-based research and testing. There are a lot of bank accounts getting morbidly obese from this.

True to form, about two hours after going to bed, I woke up. I had to get up, but first I had to ring the bell and wait to be unplugged. I now knew what it would feel like when I was too old to get out of bed myself. I’ll definitely need diapers.

This morning, I awoke to a gentle voice saying, “Good morning ma’am, are you awake?”.

Who knows what will come of this.  Definitely a sell job on some sleep contraption, but maybe I can hope for a little more? Maybe a better sleep, and more energy throughout the day? Maybe a more bubbly and energetic me? Maybe it will all boil down to embracing the miserable bitch that I can be, and finding a man who can not only tolerate it, but think it’s charming? Maybe.

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