So much for waking up refreshed.
To wake up, one needs to have been asleep. And during last night’s sleep clinic combination of treats, sleep was not something I got a lot of.
I got glued and taped and wired within an inch of my life once again. But this time, the tech getting me set up said I had to leave my hair down. And this did not seem like much of a problem until they put The Mask on.
The mask is much like an oxygen mask you see in the movies, except bigger and harder, with 4 straps wrapping round your head to keep it in place, and a big hose hanging off the front. So, not only do I have wires everywhere, but I have them tangled in my long hair which, when the mask went on, was pinned to my neck and face and made me hot and itchy all night.
The machine the mask and hose are attached to blows pressurized air into your mouth and nose all night. Which is not bad, once you get used to it — unless you have to yawn, in which case it makes your ears pop and hurt. But goodness knows, you wouldn’t feel the need to yawn while going to bed, right? Also, you cannot even touch your face or talk or move without breaking the seal between mask and skin and changing the pressure. Well, for someone with allergies, who has to sneeze and blow her nose, and also who now has hair taped and pressed to her face thanks to Mr. Friendly Sadisto-Tech, I was miserable and hot and itchy. And had a desperate pain in my sinuses because, hey, pressurized air blowing up them and no way to blow…
But I tried to lay still on my back and deal.
I had longer wires this time, so I did not feel pinned to the bed, so I could move a bit. Until about 30 minutes in, when the wire taped in the middle of my forehead somehow got snagged. And then I was pinned.
The seal to the mask had leaks everywhere from my fussing and moving, and most of the night I had air blowing in my eyes, so they began to dry out. I had a headache of epic proportions, and they keep the room so damn hot… Two hours passed before I finally said I. Have. Had. It.
Now, I’m supposed to be on camera and miked in case I should need anything. Yet, for two hours of misery, the tech didn’t come in. Even when I called — which through a hard plastic mask is not easy — nothing. I was sitting up in bed and cursing a blue streak before he came in.
“Having trouble getting to sleep?” asked Mr. Friendly Sadisto-Tech, as the smell of cigarette smoke wafted over me.
Jeez… Ya think, buddy?
I asked to take a couple of Tylenol for my shrieking headache, which were in my bag ,which he so graciously handed to me. He asked if I need a sleeping pill, which he could call and get a prescription for. I said, no… I’ll try to get to sleep on just the Tylenol.
After 10 more minutes, I realized that the point of no return is coming. They need 4 hours of sleep for valid results, and there were only 5 hours and a bit left. I called for the sleeping pill. Because I didn’t want to have to go through this AGAIN.
So, after the pill, I slept. Not well, I believe, because I dreamt a lot about masks and how they kept changing size and I could not make each size work, and I began to feel like I was drowning. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, these nonrestful dreams coincided with the fact that the mask had come loose, or I had been pulling at it to try to refit it in my sleep — TWICE. Twice Mr. Friendly Sadisto-Tech came in and readjusted things. I went back to sleep both times, but was still fighting the fight against the parade of masks.
Finally, at around 5, I woke up, and dozed a bit, but had the driest mouth ever known to man. I eventually just said “Fuck it, get me out of here.” I made myself wake up fully so Mr. Friendly Sadisto-Tech would come and release me from all the tangle of wires and masks of somnolent hell. He came in and loosened the glue and quickly ripped tape off my face and neck and head, like some sort of bizarre torture. I was now, to add to sleepy, sore and pissed off.
I got the hell out as quick as humanly possible, and got into my car.
Now, here’s the scary part: This is a sleep clinic, where people go for sleep disorders. They’re generally not getting good sleep, at the clinic or otherwise. Sometimes, they’re given sleeping pills. And then, they’re unceremoniously chucked out en masse at 5:30 am — sleep deprived and possibly under the influence of a prescribed drug.
After bumping (gently) into the pay parking kiosk as I pulled out of the parking lot, I became acutely aware that I was not acutely aware. And also, that they should NOT be sending people out to drive after these things.
But I made it home safe and sound. I showered the glue out of my hair and the tape residue off my stinging skin, and crawled into bed.
So much for a miracle fix.
I woke up later this morning, and cried long and hard at the thought of 40 more years of being tired, for the rest of my life not ever knowing what it’s like to feel rested. I am more exhausted than I have been in a long time.
Maybe I’ll just go back to bed.