Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

December 10, 2007 at 1:50 am (The Easy Chair)

Ah, a nice laid-back Sunday. I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping today. It could be the weather. The temperature has been hovering in the mid-30s, and snow was spotted by news crews. (If it’s out there, you know they’ll find it.) It’s too bad some of that sleep couldn’t have come last night…

Providence Medical Services has been helping me out with some health issues. While my old BiPap machine has given years of valuable service, it’s getting hard to find replacement parts. For the next couple of weeks I have 100% charity, and they suggested I get a new one. Part of the procedure is to get a sleep study. Saturday night was my appointment for one.

I had one before, in 1996. I’m in a lot better health this time around. Back then I was coming out of a serious bout of alcohol and drug addiction, as well as being very sick. It was time to see how far I’ve come.

Saturdays are often nap days. If I have nothing to do, I’ll lay around sleeping, getting refreshed for the upcoming week or making up for lost sleep from the previous week. I told the doctor this, and she instructed me not to nap, and try to be as sleepy as possible come study time. This made sense. It makes for a long night if you’re stuck in one spot, attached to electrodes and unable to get up and move around. What to do? Let’s get tired.

I went to bed early Friday night, but awoke about 1 AM Instead of forcing myself to sleep, I sat up and watched Miller’s Crossing, the Coen Brothers film about Irish gangsters. (I hadn’t seen it before. With Goodfellas, Dances With Wolves, Wild at Heart, Betsy’s Wedding and Bride of Re-Animator for competition, one can see how I’d overlooked it in 1990.) So I dove in, enjoying the ’30s tough-guy dialogue.

I’d made plans to rendezvous with Mizelle on Saturday, but hadn’t heard from her. If I sat around the house, I’d end up taking a nap, so I chose to go downtown. I had some official business to take care of, but that shouldn’t take long. What to do? Inspired by Miller’s Crossing, I decided to go see No Country for Old Men.

I’d purposefully avoided any and all articles about this movie, after reading the original review. It paid off! I was riveted to the chair, needing to pee but not wanting to miss a moment. I made it to the end, raced to the bathroom and had just finished flooding the porcelain when my cell phone started vibrating.

It was Mizelle. “Where are you?” she asked.

“I just came out of the movies. Sorry you missed it. It was killer!”

We agreed to meet for buffet out in my neighborhood. I needed to go home and get bed clothes and a pillow for my ‘sleepover,’ so this made sense. I boarded the Holgate bus and sat next to a couple of cunty Sanatcon elves, who were just *so* perfect, and busied themselves pointing out the flaws of anyone out of earshot. Any beauty I saw in them quickly evaporated, and I spent the ride wondering how two ordinary-looking women could get such a high opinion of themselves. By the end of the trip, my contempt for them overshadowed any initial attraction, and I wanted to yell, “Hey, your butt’s fat!” or something else hurtful, but that would have brought me down to their level.

Mizelle and the Frenchman were nowhere in sight, so I killed time by walking to WalMart. The first thing I encountered upon entry? Three large women in motorized shopping carts, jostling for pole position. While everyone waited for them to get pointed in the proper direction, I did an about-face and got out of there. The bus stop on 82nd was less dangerous!

After about an hour, Mizelle and the Frenchman arrived. We dined on buffet and caught up on current events. (The Frenchman has a job stateside now, Baby is beating mommy up from the inside, and I heard an embarrassing story about a dead cat. Don’t ask…) I ran out of time before topics of conversation. Bro-in-law pulled up to take me to the hospital.

I’m used to going to Providence in the daytime, when it pulses with activity. Not so on a Saturday night. Security took keen interest in me, eyeballing my backpack and plastic bag full of clothes and pillow. Did he think a homeless person had come to crash for the night? He was half right. I had a home, but I’d come to crash.

I had a few minutes to kill, so I sat in the abandoned waiting room. An old woman looked for security. (“Don’t worry, he’s nearby.” I told her.) A family of ten looked for maternity. Seems another had been added to the herd. Security came by, again, giving me the look. (“WHAT?”) I sicced the old lady on him. They can keep each other occupied.

It was time. I stood in an empty hallway, waiting for someone to come get me. After a minute or two, a young woman came out, introducing herself. She led me into a large hospital room with a double bed. She had me change into bed clothes, and take a seat in a chair next to the bed when I was ready. She was monitoring me by video.

While I waited, I filled out medical forms. The last one was what drink I wanted upon release. I chose bottled water. Then my nurse-technician came in, and we were down to business.

It took about forty-five minutes to attach all the monitors and electrodes. She drew blue lines on my scalp, paper-taped tiny electrical pads to my eyelids, jaw, legs and scalp. Heart monitors and belts around my lungs to check breathing. It looked like psychedelic spaghetti attached to a little black box about 4″ X 6″. An oxygen monitor was clamped onto my right index finger, and I was ready for bed.

I felt like the monster in Young Frankenstein. (Can I sing and dance for you?) After all the Coen Brothers films, it also felt a bit like being prepped for the electric chair. But hey, they promised me bottled water in the morning, so I must not be doomed!

I started to drift off at 10:40 PM, so I killed the TV and was soon asleep. Easy, right?

I awoke at 12:10 AM.

I laid there forever, it seemed. I had no trouble keeping amused, but it defeated the purpose to lay there awake all night. On an average Saturday at this time I’d be awake, watching late night TV and contemplating Ben & Jerry’s. Usually if I have trouble sleeping, a couple puffs of my little green friend and I’m out like a light, but they wouldn’t understand, so I persevered, using meditation to nod back out. I awoke briefly at 5 AM, but this was my usual sleep time, so I drifted back off. I was dreaming up a storm when the tech came in, telling me it was over.

Results? I’m doing better, but still need the machine. I should be getting a new one in the next couple of weeks.

Now, what to do at 6 AM on a Sunday? I’d planned ahead. It was one of the few open spots on her schedule, so I’d invited ThatGirl out for breakfast, on the condition that she take me home after. Since I was buying, I pleaded, wheedled and coerced her into apple pancakes at the Original Pancake House.

We were the second couple seated, and had breakfast on the table in fifteen minutes. By the time we’d finished, the typical line out the door had formed. We’d gotten lucky, and it was delicious.

We admired the chilly sunrise as we came around the Terwilliger Curves. What a beautiful Sunday! Still, it was damn cold, and she had kids to get back to. I had blue lines on my forehead, and sticky stuff in my hair and beard, (Both apple and medical flavored.) A shower and a nap seemed like a good idea. I thanked ThatGirl for keeping me company this fine day, and passed out watching Brett Favre kick football ass.

What did I accomplish the rest of the day? I watched two more blowouts in the NFL world. I saw a new episode of South Park about Guitar Hero. (Must point ThatGirl to this- her kids are old pros.) I made Monte Cristos under the watchful eye of my niece. And now I’m winding down again, getting back into my usual sleep pattern.

Except I’m not sleepy. But I bet I will be, about noon tomorow when I have to get up again. Grr…

It’s Ben & Jerry time.

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