Sleep. Or not.

So, yeah – the Great Sleep Study adventure is officially over. Well, at least test part. I spent the night in a small hospital in a room with a double bed and a kick-ass air conditioner. They glued down all the electrodes to practically every part of my skin that wasn’t covered, and a couple of parts that WERE covered. They put not one, but two oxygen sensors in my nose (I couldn’t figure this out, and inquired about it…they said one sensor measures inhalation/exhalation cycles and the other one measures the time in between the cycles). Seems like more trouble than it’s worth, but none of it was profoundly uncomfortable, or at least not painful. Being wired up to look like Mrs. Roboto is not my idea of a fun night out.

As I’ve said before, I was obsessively anxious about the prospect of having my bladder embarrass the hell out of me during the night, but fortunately that did not happen. The most unpleasant part of the whole thing was them turning out the lights at 11pm, as though I was incarcerated (which I more or less was, being imprisoned by the wiring harness on my head and body). They ordered me to go to sleep, which was interesting since I rarely go to sleep before midnight.

I laid there for almost an hour, trying to meditate and play songs in my head. I thought about many, many useless things, including my naughty bladder. Fortunately, my bladder was well behaved that night, but…I could not stay asleep regardless. I woke up no more than a half-dozen times before they unceremoniously threw me out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:30am. The instructions had said I would have until 6:30, but…nope. It was before the sun rose, and I was NOT a happy camper. So, the nice technician unwired and unplugged me, and ta-da – all over.

I asked uf I had been breathing during the night, and commented that I was aware I woke up several times. The technician said she could not give me the results of the study, and yes she had noticed that I woke up a lot. She was cleaning off the bed and wheeling the linens out with the wires and electrodes and everything faster than I could say goodbye. On her way out, over her shoulder, her parting shot was, “You can leave whenever you want. Have a nice day!” I was dismissed, and left to remember how the hell I had gotten in there so that I could reverse my steps.

The trip home was only fifteen minutes or so, and I was inside by 5:45am. I dutifully went to the bathroom and got something to drink. I had boarded the dog because I was paranoid about her getting into something that was supposed to be one in a million odds of her getting into, so the apartment was silent. I got into bed and was sound asleep within five minutes. I slept a sleep of the dead for more than four hours, and missed an appointment with a volunteer who was going to help me haul food donations to the food bank. Dammit. Somebody at the church let him in and let him get everything, so that worked out OK, but I was duly embarrassed anyway.

It was annoying that I had slept for so long once I got home, rather than during the sleep study, but how in the world do they expect people to seamlessly descend into a deep and restful sleep in a strange place, wired up like a medieval robot, with an infrared camera that sees in the dark, and an unlocked door? I was not feeling terribly secure, and the technician did walk in at one point – waking me up – because the O2 sensor had fallen off my finger. Thanks, y’all.

I will wait to see what the doctor says. She could prescribe a CPAP, or a BIPAP, or nothing at all since I have no idea whether or not there were any indications of a problem. Whatever. I’m just glad it’s over. So is the dog, who fussed at me for over a half hour on two separate occasions after I got her home. She wasn’t terribly impressed by her sleep-away date with the kennel. Shut up, you ungrateful little cur – I bought you extra treats and new toys, and I came back to get you even though you poop all over the house. Count your blessings.

One amusing remnant of the sleep study made itself known 24 hours after it was over. I found several of the adhesive pads for the electrodes to be attached at several places on my body – two on my shoulders, one on the back of my neck, and two on my legs. The last one made itself know today, because it itched so intensely I thought I would lose my mind. When I was finally able to pull it off, it had been on there just long enough to start binding with the top layer of skin and that came off in a continuous sheer layer. It felt immediately better, though since the itching stopped. All together, I removed a total of seven and found that hilarious.

Being home now, and returning to normal routines, my anxiety over not having a job returned a bit. I went out and scanned the job search websites, and applied for a job I think I can do, but don’t really want. Actually I do want it, but I don’t believe it has a work from home option. The thought of reporting to somebody’s office is slightly nauseating, but we’ll see if anything comes of it. I have to start somewhere, and who knows what will happen. I may not even get a call-back on the application, so I don’t need to be worrying about whether there’s a work from home possibility. Even if I’m offered the job, I don’t have to take it (although at this point I probably would, just to ease some of this financial stress).

The only other notable occasion of the past few days was my preparation for the sleep study. I had to report there at 8pm on Wednesday, so I had most of the day to putz around and make myself crazy. For some reason, I was highly motivated to purchase a new pillow to bring with me to the study, and some bladder leak pads. The pads were sobering, because they resemble menstrual pads, and that is not something I care to recall. Anyway, I went to Walmart to procure those items. I had a bad feeling about that, but couldn’t figure out why. I attributed it to general anxiety about the sleep study.

On my way to the store, I somehow missed a turn and had to make a U-turn about a half-mile later. That meant I was coming at the store from a different angle, and that rattled me for some odd reason. But, I was dealing with it, and proceeded through the entrance to the Walmart parking lot. I wasn’t going very fast, since I was in a parking lot and was looking for a place to park.

There were two rather scuzzy looking guys, in masks, coming out of another store on the way to the Walmart entrance, but whatever. I continued my approach, and they started walking out of wherever they were coming from, and started on a path to cross in front of me. It was not a crosswalk. They were walking in that slow and deliberately belligerent fashion that said they didn’t care what else was in the world except themselves, and everybody could just wait for them. I was in NO mood for that, so I refused to slow down. I didn’t speed up, but I wasn’t slowing down.

The first guy was slightly faster than the second guy, and he cleared the crossing before I got there. The second guy dawdled just a little, play8ing on his phone or something, and started walking as I approached and was almost even with his shadow. I refused to slow down. It was a good day to die, I thought. He kept walking and not looking up, and then suddenly realized how close I was and backed up hastily, bending over as though he had to evade my bumper. I was miles away from him, so he was just being dramatic. I didn’t stop.

After circling a couple of times for a parking spot after I was closer to the Walmart entrance, I pulled in and opened the truck door while putting on my mask. I became aware of a figure approaching, and sure enough, it was guy #2. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, and he came up to my driver’s side window, but wisely stood back a few feet. I got out, because I figured I was going to meet anybody with the balls enough to confront me from a standing position. I think that suprised him, because he got no closer, but he started screaming.

“WHY DID YOU TRY TO RUN ME OVER!? YOU SAW ME TRYING TO CROSS AND YOU ALMOST RAN ME OVER!” I was in such a mood that I really wanted to engage with him, but thought better of it. I told him I didn’t even know who he was, which was kind of true since I had not seen his face because of the mask. It was off now, though.

“YOU MEAN YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE MY FACE? FROM RIGHT BACK THERE WHERE YOU HAD TO SEE ME AND TRIED TO RUN ME OVER!???” I said no, actually, I don’t know who the hell you are, so whatever. He went on and on about it, and by that time I had my mask firmly in place and I was tired of him screaming, so I said look…if that’s what happened, I’m sorry. OK? Then he went off AGAIN about how I hadn’t said that like I was really sorry and like I didn’t care, and I should be really glad I was a lady because…well…

Because well what, I was thinking, but I didn’t say anything. Nothing I could say would have brought him down, so I started walking toward the Walmart entrance. I was a little concerned that he might follow me and put his hands on me, because he was that mad. Fortunately, there were two police officers who were getting into their vehicle, which had been parked in the no-stopping zone at the entrance.

As the guy continued screaming at me, they went on alert and looked over in his direction. One of them looked at me, as if to say WTF, and I just shrugged and threw my hands up, like I don’t know what’s up with this guy. That was enough, because dude noticed them looking and started walking away, still yelling about how I was lucky I was a lady and I needed to learn how to drive or something. I went inside the store, but wondered if he would vandalize my truck. I figured I’d deal with that if and when I needed to.

Thank goodness that was over, I thought, but I felt awful. I felt like I probably shouldn’t have gotten so angry when he tried to cut me off by walking in front of me, and how I could have been the bigger person and taken the high road, just let him pass and driven on to do what I needed to do. I got the damned pillow, but didn’t have the heart to search for the stupid pads, so I just checked out.

I still felt awful, though, like an emotional hangover. Not a nice feeling. My truck was fine, no vandalism and no sight of dude #1 (who I think wanted none of what had unfolded earlier) or dude #2, who was probably still fuming somewhere. I proceeded toward home with my new pillow, and figured I would visit Walgreen’s later for the pads (which I did).

It still doesn’t feel good, not because I feel in any way sorry for this guy but only because I was so angry and have not been that angry for a while. The rush of adrenalin was not pleasant, and did absolutely nothing for my anxiety. It also didn’t put me in a good place to be just about to do a sleep study and controlling my bladder. Ugh. I don’t want to repeat that. I felt out of control and it wasn’t necessary. Maybe that’s why I was treated to this guy screaming and hollering like a madman, just to show me how that looks. I didn’t do that when I had the encounter with him, but I have done it in the past. And I felt exactly the same way as he did. It did neither one of us any good.

So, live and learn. My anxiety can, and does, amplify my anger. Truthfully, I don’t know if it’s the anxiety or the depression that is the amplifier, and truthfully I don’t think it really matters. I just have to cope with it. Truth be told, I’m tired of coping with all of my stuff – I want it all to just go away.. Haven’t I paid my toll on that journey?

I am whining now. Sometimes it’s just what I do. I should abandon that endeavor and go off to play with my new drone. It was just delivered yesterday, and I’ve been trying to calibrate it’s GPS and gyroscope, but I have been doing that indoors and it has not gone all that well. Tomorrow I will take it outdoors and see if that makes a difference. If it doesn’t, I will watch more YouTube videos on how to set it up and start using it. It’s a beginner drone, suitable for a first-timer like myself or a kid. Technically it is classified as a toy but it’s got some nice features. A new toy.

Toys are good. Sometimes I forget to play, and forget to learn how to do new things, so I am hoping the drone will take some of the edge off the anxiety and depression. I have my first appointment with the new psychiatrist next week, so we’ll see how that goes.

OK, one of these drone batteries is fully charged, and the other one is still trying. Hmmm. I should just leave it alone, but of course every fiber of my being wants to fiddle with it and help it somehow. I am such a pain in my own ass sometimes, causing problems that don’t have to be problems.

Off I go, into the wild blue yonder, cleverly disguised as a quad-copter drone. That’s better than weighing in on the trending debate over candy corn, and whether it’s the best Halloween candy or the worst. Yeah, the drone is just a little more interesting.

Hell yeah I want coffee! And don’t forget the creamer.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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