in a Sleep Clinic
"I think you have it," said the doctor. "We
just need to see how much."
What he was referring to is a state-of-the-art illness
called sleep apnea. In seems the only way to find out if you
have it is to spend a night in a sleep clinic. Now a sleep
clinic is not like a hospital. Your room is supposed to look
like a motel room so you feel at ease and are able to sleep
normally while they "monitor" you.
My room didnít look a whole lot like any motel room Iíve
ever been in, but why argue? Obviously they are not going to
redecorate just for me. I sat down on the sofa that was so slick
I had to brace myself to keep from sliding off. What do they do?
Wax the upholstery?
The sleep technician came in to "wire" me. This
involved having receptors glued on my scalp and forehead with
long wires running out to "monitor my brain waves."
The fumes from the glue he used were so overpowering that I was
afraid if he didnít finish quickly I might not have any brain
"Now you can relax a while," advised the
I watched the required video about sleep apnea in which fat
old men snored while their wives proclaimed the virtues of
having them sleep wearing an air mask. The apparatus looked a
whole lot like a gas mask to me. How anyone could sleep with
that contraption on was beyond me.
"There goes any hope for a romantic relationship that I
might have ever had," I thought.
Eventually, I figured I might as well go on to bed and get it
over with. Before my head could hit the pillow, the technician
appeared to "finish wiring" me. Thatís when I
realized that I was on candid camera. I began to understand how
a rat in a cage feels.
Wires were taped to my body and legs. "My, God," I
thought, "I hope they are not going to electro-shock
me." As I stared at the camera on the ceiling, the tech
informed me about the live microphone over the bed. Wires were
running everywhere and all of them were eventually attached to
I tossed and turned pulling the wires with me. The oxygen
monitor glowed in the dark, so I put my luminous finger under
the cover. The harder I tried to go to sleep, the tenser I
became. The pillow was too firm and the mattress too soft. The
wires were hanging all over me like a string of Christmas tree
lights. The room was stuffy and my bladder was calling out to
"How can anybody possibly sleep under these
conditions?" I wondered. Tossing and turning I was soon
wound up in wires like a kitten in a ball of yarn.
Sometime about four oíclock in the morning, I finally dozed
off into an uneasy, dream-filled, slumber, while my brain waves
scribbled hate messages on the technicianís monitor screen.
At last the night from hell was over. The tape holding the
wires in place was ripped away, and I wondered if the ones in my
hair would also be jerked away and how Iíd like being bald.
But some sort of solvent was used to dissolve the glue, leaving
my hair in an icky mess.
"You need to shampoo," said the tech. Fine with me,
except there was no shampoo and no hot water in the shower. I
finally washed my hair under the faucet in the sink using a bar
of soap. It had to dry naturally as I did not think about
bringing a hair dryer. I also found I had no toothpaste. After
only two hours of sleep all night, however, I really didnít
care at this point.
I have a feeling I flunked my sleep apnea test. I bet Iíll
get an A+ in insomnia, however. I donít know why they call it
sleep clinic. As far as I'm concerned, it should be called a