Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wake Up Call

29 mornings ago, I woke up a new woman.  Refreshed.  Energetic.  Clear-headed.  Awake.  

And I made it past 10 AM without needing a nap. 
Me and naps.  We go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Napping was just something I always did – as soon as I was done classes or work, I’d go home and fall asleep in a bean bag chair, a recliner, a couch, a futon, a bed, or a papasan that was probably a stupid purchase but that I had to have.  It kinda became a joke actually, how much I napped, especially on the weekends when I would nap at mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and early evening.    

I thought I was just lazy.  Which was weird because I didn’t feel like I was lazy.
At least I could function.

I never seemed to have much get up and go.  And when I got up and went, it wasn’t for long and it usually ended up with me napping on the couch.
At every doctor’s appointment that I’ve had since college, they would ask how I was feeling.  And I would say – great, except that I always feel tired.  Blood tests indicated that I was perfectly healthy. In college, my doctor told me that it was normal to be tired – I was carrying a full course load and working almost full-time.  After college, it was because I worked third shift.  When I started back to grad school it was because once again I was working and going to school.  When grad school was over, it was because I worked a lot.  Then it was because I got a new job and I was learning the ropes. 

It just seemed like it was just supposed to be this way.  This was just who I was.  But I watched friends and colleagues who worked the same amount I did, some who were juggling kids and jobs and 102 other obligations and who didn’t seem to need a nap when they got home from grocery shopping.
Bt at least I could function. 
Last summer, at my mom's urging, I went for a sleep study to find out if I had sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is apparently a common problem for people with my syndrome on account of our small airways but I don’t follow the message boards like my mom does so what did I know?  So, I went on two nights and had my sleep observed which was all sorts of fun, I can assure you.  Afterwards, I was diagnosed with a mild case of sleep apnea – 7 apnea episodes or something. 

That’s so mild, I scoffed; seriously, why bother?  Then a lady at work told me that they were diagnosing everyone with sleep apnea these days.  And that’s all I needed to hear because I like my medical conditions to be unique.  1 in 50,000 unique, you know. 
Besides, I was functioning. 

Things started to change a few months ago.  It was harder to get out of bed.  It was harder to make it through the day.  It was harder to do much of anything.  Weekends turned into more naps than being awake.  I couldn’t even stay away to watch 48 Hours Mystery on Saturday nights.  I started to have headaches a lot.   I felt like I was walking around in a fog most of the time.

Quite frankly, I felt like I couldn’t get my shit together. 
I started to try to eat better.  Take walks at lunch time.  Try vitamins (again).  Go to sleep at the same time every night.  But nothing seemed to be working.  If anything, my need to nap seemed to be increasing.   

Then one Sunday, I woke up and didn’t want to get out of bed at all.  What was the point?  I’d just be napping in an hour anyway. 
I have a friend who has said about me that I don’t do anything until I’m ready.  And when I’m ready, I’m ready.  After that Sunday, I knew I was ready to make a change. 

I called the sleep doctor who renewed my never-filled prescription and 30 days ago, I brought home a CPAP machine to use when I sleep.  I asked the technician if I should use the CPAP when I nap – not just at night.  He told me that I wouldn’t be napping once I started CPAP therapy.  I rolled my eyes skeptically and then yawned.   

The first night, I only used the machine for three hours - not much but the results were astounding.  When I woke up, it was like I had slept for days.  My head was clear and I had energy to spare.  The spring that had been missing from my step was back and more springier than ever.  Everything seemed brighter, crisper in a way.  And I was famished.  I ate so much those first two days! 

It's been 29 nights and I've been feeling better every day. 

Those naps?  They are few and far between. 

Now, I’m not only functioning - I’m wide awake. 

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