Sleepless in a Sleep Clinic

apnea“I think you have it,” said the doctor.” We just need to see how much.”

What he was referring to is the 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 didn’t look a whole lot like any motel room I’ve 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 didn’t finish quickly I might not have any brain waves.

“Now you can relax a while,” advised the technician.

“Oh, goody.”

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. That’s 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 me.

“Now sleep!”



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 me.

“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 o’clock in the morning, I finally dozed off into an uneasy, dream-filled, slumber, while my brain waves scribbled hate messages on the technician’s 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 I’d 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 didn’t care at this point.

I have a feeling I flunked my sleep apnea test. I bet I’ll get an A+ in insomnia, however. I don’t know why they call it sleep clinic. As far as I’m concerned, it should be called a “sleepless” clinic.

©2003 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
This entry was posted in Health, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Sleepless in a Sleep Clinic

  1. Oh lord, you hit this nail on the head! i am impressed you got that gunk out of your hair, I could have poured straight lye on it and it still wouldn’t come out!! I was diagnosed with it in 2007- my husband has never gotten used to it ! in fact it took me a while- I call it my ‘snorkel’- the first one back then – those machines looked like refurbished hair dryers with the tubing attached to a head contraption. The last time I went they said I needed a new study- I said ‘look my husband is out there in the lobby and he has never been on board with this’ …pained looks! but they didn’t press it… It does help though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. energywriter says:

    Welcome to my world. I use a cpap machine and wonder what would happen should I meet the man of my dreams. “Oh, honey, let me cuddle up to your face mask.” sd

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Sheila, This post is exactly what my “sleep test” experience was last year. It turns out I have severe sleep apnea. I stop breathing 41 times an hour. The Cpap machine has been a god send!!! Best sleep I have had in 20 years!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. George says:

    Those sleep apnea tests make you look like something out of a sci-fi movie. How they expect anyone to sleep comfortably is beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband has sleep issues. Neither of us think it is apnea because he doesn’t stop breathing. He just doesn’t sleep much. he wakes up and is up for hours. I’d like him to go to a sleep clinic (for decades now) but he resists it. I hope he doesn’t see your blog or that will cement it (although I think that was already done). A co-worker of his died in a freak accident while using an apnea mask. There was a carbon dioxide leak and the mask concentrated it. He was the only fatality. Good luck and I hope they find an easy answer for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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