It has long been a goal of the Big Ugly Man Doll to experience everything life has to offer. All of it, the good, the bad, the squishy. It’s hard to claim that one is sensational if one hasn’t experienced as many sensations as possible.
To that end, some time shortly before we went to Chicago, the BUMD went for a sleep study. As you read the events that unfold below, I want you to remember that I paid money for this experience.
If you’ve never had a “Sleep Study” then you don’t know what you’re missing. Ah, the warm smells of the antiseptics they use to wire you up the monitors. Oh, the joy of sticking to the pillow as the EEG glue smears around your head. And then, the piss de resistance (and that is not a typo), the joy of having not one, not two, but three different sets of equipment attached to your schnozzolla. The theory is twofold: (1) some people stop breathing while they’re asleep and (2) that’s bad. Elements of this theory are often debated.
Now, I’m usually the last one to complain – or if not absolutely the last one, I complained about the service at lunch today, which is pretty recent – but really, the nose is a delicate instrument. Even one the size of mine, which is not inconsiderable (which is an understatement). Even so, we’ll put a tube with an oxygen sensor in one nostril, and then since we don’t actually make enough money doing sleep studies to afford reliable equipment, we’ll put another one in there – you know, in case the first one doesn’t annoy me enough, or malfunctions, or gets lost in the forests of hair that grow like a triple-canopy jungle up there in the Caverns of Darkness.
Once I’m frigged, rigged, and wired for sound, they deliver the punch line: OK, go to sleep. Right – I’ll just nod off here, shall I? I’m taped and glued up to wires on my legs, arms, chest, neck, back, temples, and hair; I’ve got elastic bands around my chest (big) and belly (bigger!) to monitor my breathing, and you’re watching me with a closed-circuit television, infrared, and a microphone over the bed. (OK, so it’s a lot like a Thursday downtown, but that’s another story…)
“Well sir, is there anything I can do to ‘help’ you get to sleep?”
She’s not really asking me this, right? I’ve had this dream before, so I know I must be sleeping. “Well, a sponge bath would be really nice right about now…”
“Sure, just one moment, honey.” She ducks out (which is doubtless noted on the system monitoring my breathing), and in a few minutes the door creaks open in a slow, sultry manner.
“Youse need cleaned?” asks the biggest guy I’ve seen on the ward so far. His nametag identifies him as ‘Bob Have A Nice Day’ and he’s carrying a 10-gallon bucket, sloshing with what something gray that I’ll just hope was water, and a huge mop.
“Nope, thanks, I’m, uh, I’m good. All good here. Nope, clean as a whistle here, thanks anyway, though, um, Bob.” I don’t like this dream anymore.
“Have a nice day,” he mutters in a cheerful monotone, wandering off.
Having surprised all parties by actually falling asleep, despite visions of Bob pole-dancing with his mop rolling through my subconscious, I woke abruptly when the cheerful tech came in to see if I needed anything else, such as having a CPAP machine rigged up to – you guessed it– my poor overtaxed, oversized schnozz. Oh wait, this wasn’t an option, she’d decided I damn well did need to experience it. I figured if I yelled she’d be back with Bob Have A Nice Day, so I held still while she Velcro-ed my nose to the hose.
The hose, if you’re not familiar with a CPAP system, is connected to a machine that’s usually used to test wind resistance and velocity for aircraft. This is to ensure that you don’t stop breathing while you’re asleep. The theory is that as you sleep, the constant wind will push your airway open and you won’t stop breathing. The reality is that as you struggle to breathe around the four sensors already stuck up your nose and struggle not to drown in the gale-force winds being piped into your sinuses, you’re not going to fall asleep. There’s no danger that I will stop breathing while sleeping. I may try to kill myself with all these cords, but I will not stop breathing while sleeping.
Right. When you’re tired enough, you can fall asleep on a roller coaster. (OK, I was drunk that time, but you know what I mean.) Having surprised all parties by actually falling asleep again, despite the wind machine in my nose blowing cold dry air on my throat, I was woken at 5am by the tech returning to tell me I’d survived, time to go, please unhook and get the heck out. A quick shower and I was a free man, free at last. I went home, made a nice pot of coffee, and promptly went to sleep.
Check another experience off the list.