Thursday, December 9, 2010
I complain to my doctor, “I don’t sleep so well.” He tells me that as you get older, you don’t need as much sleep as you used to. OK, not the answer I wanted, but I’ll make a note of it. “Oh, also, my wife says that I snore – really loudly. She is leaving the room in the middle of the night to go to another bedroom.” The doctor says that these days, a lot of couples sleep in separate bedrooms. OK, that’s not the answer I wanted either. I don’t feel real good about inadvertently sending my wife to “Exile Island” every night.
“What are my options?” The doctor tells me that there is a device that blows air on your face, and stops you from snoring. I think my doctor is kidding me. How could some air, being blown on your face, stop you from snoring? There is also a surgical procedure where they cut out your tonsils, or freeze off part of your soft palate, or remove a little bit of your tongue, or inject some little foam things in your soft palate to make it firmer. Of course, after surgery, there is no guarantee that the snoring will stop completely. You could also lose your sense of taste, or even worse, it might be really painful to swallow for a seemingly endless amount of time – and afterward, if you’re not happy with the results, you can never go back to the way it was. When it comes to surgery, that’s the deal breaker for me. I guess I’ll have to look at this air pump thing.
The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device.
Does it work? I would say, for the most part, yes. But there are a few things that they don’t tell you about the whole CPAP experience.
One: Make sure you show your family what you look like while wearing the mask before you first use it. Life is scary enough without having to see your Dad lying in bed with an air hose attached to his face. Let’s not frighten the kids unnecessarily.
Two: Remember to take it with you when you go on vacation. Yes, that means the cruise ship and the hotel. It kind of defeats the purpose when you travel without it, and the only place your family members can hide from the snoring is in the bathroom. (Yes, I speak from experience.)
Three: While on that vacation or trip, make sure you take the device out of its case before you go through the airport security checkpoint. It seems, (I’m not quite sure why), that the TSA agents don’t like to find any surprise electrical devices with wires and tubes. Failing this step could find you in the secondary search section for an undetermined amount of time. (Yes, I’ve experienced this too.)
I’m still not a great sleeper, but I am a quieter sleeper. I would prefer to not have to use the CPAP, but it’s nice to not be the butt of all the snoring jokes anymore. Those are now pointed at my Mother-in-law, which gives me a weird sense of satisfaction.