I got only 4.5 hours sleep Tuesday night not only because I couldn’t get to sleep what with all the burping and farting from breathing in air from my sleep apnea mask but also because my brain has taken it into its head, for about a year now, that I am supposed to wake up at 5 am. And by 5 am, that’s what I mean. I will wake, look at the clock and it will not be 459 or 501; no, it will be exactly 5. How my brain should know while I am completely unconscious that it should be 5 I don’t know. But it does, right down to the second, apparently.
So Wednesday morning found me with a cup of coffee at about 520, with it being completely dark outside, sitting in front of the computer, burping and farting, while looking around the web for some way I might relieve myself of the same. I found that on sleep apnea bulletin boards the topic of breathing in air came up quite a bit, though people tended not to speak of farting but of “breaking wind” or as suffering “wind” as a result of breathing in air. Honestly I don’t know what produces such prudery; frankly I think calling farts “wind” is an insult to wind, which usually, at least does not stink.
But while there was much talk of wind, I could find no solution to it. I found talk of elevating the upper body, and of not eating three hours before you start breathing in that sleep apnea air, and also of loading up on Gas-x and stuff like that. These seemed to me desperation measures, rather ad hoc with more hope behind them than any solid grasp of the situation. One clear thing did emerge though more people seemed to suffer this air inhalation problem if the machine that blows the air into the mask was set at a high calibration.
Yes, these machines are calibrated, based on a sleep apnea study, to the needs of the individual sufferer. While you are sleeping, during the sleep study, you are monitored by any manner of wires stuck to many parts of your body, and when you show signs of sleep apnea the techs who stay up all night doing this stuff monkey around with the calibration of the machine to see how much “wind” the person needs to make the sleep apnea episode go away. Some people, I was amazed to see have their machines calibrated to 25 and above. To me that is unimaginable and would be the same as having a small hurricane blowing in your face all night long. No wonder these people have “wind.” How they get through a night I can’t imagine.
My machine which sits atop a desk next to my bed was originally calibrated to a mere 8. Later, without a doctor’s prescription, a tech who knew how to do it, calibrated my machine up to 10. But honestly, I didn’t think the calibration was too high. Though perhaps my machine was defective. How the hell would I know? Then I saw they had come up with a whole other line of cpap air blowing machines called autocpap machines. These have little computers in them that monitor your in and out breathing as you sleep and actually auto adjust to your “wind” needs depending upon whether you are having sleep apnea episodes (these it can detect because no air comes out of a person at all, at least from the mouth and nostrils while an episode is taking place.)
I decided that I wanted one of those machines; they cost over 500 dollars, but what the hell. The only problem was to get one I actually, if you can believe it, needed a prescription from a doctors.
These doctors have gone ape-shit crazy with their prescription pads; but of course their livelihood depends on those little pads. If they didn’t have those, people wouldn’t go to see them at all expect for real important stuff like open gaping wounds or heart attack. Otherwise doctors are a pretty useless bunch. So they exercise as much as possible the tyranny of the prescription pad.
Above: Ellwood in a very light rain plus snowy egret on seventh hole.