Song of Simon News, CPAP Madness, and a Tribute to Valerie…

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Hey everyone. I just got an email from the artist that is doing the cover for “Song of Simon.” She sent me the final draft, and I like it a lot. It’s a different interpretation from how I pictured Simon–the boy looks more Latino than Irish–but there is a haunted look in his eyes that perfectly describes who Simon is. I am not too concerned with details. Details are less important than Truth. Also, I wouldn’t want to interfere with another artist’s interpretation. Seeing other people interpret your work is part of the fun (See my post on Fan Fiction).

On Wednesday I finally got a CPAP Machine to help with my Sleep Apnea. The doctor said to try it a little at a time to get used to it, so I used it for an hour during the day yesterday. I used it for an hour this morning, and I was almost able to fall asleep. Maybe tonight I can go all the way and actually get to sleep. It makes me sad that I can’t wear my glasses with it on though. I need the full mask, and it just wasn’t made for glasses. Oh well, don’t need glasses to sleep.

Next Wednesday, Mercy College is giving out a small award in Valerie’s name. I think that the award goes to either the top student in the writing department, or the winning story in a contest. Either way, I am happy about it. Even if years in the future, people no longer know who she was, she will still be helping her students. I remember when I was a senior, I was runner up for a similar contest. I only won a gift certificate, but it gave me the confidence I needed. Maybe my writing wasn’t as terrible as I thought. The encouragement is more valuable than the prize.

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Stupid Sleep Apnea: CPAP Panic.

Last night I had my second sleep study for sleep apnea. This is the one where they put the vader mask on your face and shoot air down your throat. Needless to say it was as horrible as it sounds.

Lung problems run in my family. My grandfather had COPD. My mother had sleep apnea, my brother too. In addition to apnea, I also have asthma. I’m happy to say that my asthma isn’t as bad as it used to be, but i still carry around a rescue inhaler in case of emergency. The sleep tech thinks that I have had apnea since a young age because it is so bad at this point. He called it “old man apnea.”

The test was an ordeal, and I wonder if I will be able to handle the machine. Bascially, a masked is sealed onto your face, a tube forces compressed air into your airway, keeping it open. the thing is that the pressure is very strong, and it takes quite the effort to exhale. It feels like you are being strangled at first, even though you aren’t.

The first 5 minutes are the worst. I said to the tech, “it feels like I’m choking.” He said “don’t worry, I got ya. all your levels are normal, your heart rate is fine, blood oxygen is fine. Your brain is always trying to protect your airflow, so it is making you panic. Just keep telling yourself that you’re not choking, and you’ll be fine.”

So that’s what I did. I sat on the bed and watched RAW (a pretty lame episode, although I did like Ryback’s monologue, it actually made sense) and tried to calm myself.

It didn’t work.

While I did eventually adjust to the pressure, it took 3 hours before I fell asleep. In those three hours, I walked through a shadow of terror and self-loathing. I despaired at being 36 and needing a ventilator-lite to survive. I felt like I was old and dying, that the meat of my life was past me and I only had bones left to gnaw on. Worst of all, when I pictured myself on the bed with that thing pumping air down my throat, I kept drifting back to Valerie and those last days in the hospital. The worst moments of my life revisited over and over. Is that what I have to look forward to? It’s not bad enough that I think about her every waking moment, are the sleeping moments taken too?

I slept for about 4 hours, and I did wake refreshed. I’ve been very productive today as well, so maybe there is something to this treatment. It’s on me, I suppose. I am the one that has to adjust. But I wonder why I bother. What do I have to look forward to anyway? My best days are behind me. I knew that even before they hooked a tube to my throat.

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