From Where I Sit – Getting Some Sleep

My friend deserves a Purple Heart, medal of commendation, park statue, and official holiday in her name. Without (too much) complaint or concern for her own well-being she has stayed married to a husband who snores.

Snoring of epic proportions; legendary snoring. Snoring our boys still talk about from a long-ago hockey tournament road trip where in desperation his cot was rolled out into the hotel hallway. His snoring made for great, funny stories?told and retold. Funny?as long as you weren’t anywhere near the scene of the action. I’d guess he’s been snoring for at least 20 years.

Finally, as medical advances were made and awareness rose, he was tested and diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Since being outfitted with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that forces oxygen into his airway, life has changed for both of them. He longer falls asleep during the day. He can drive without tiring. She can at long last fall contentedly to sleep. In the early days of adjustment she feared he had died because he was so quiet.

We now know that sleep apnea is a serious condition affecting thousands of people and largely going untreated. We also know the frequent stoppage in breathing is hurting people and creating dire consequences including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. Falling asleep behind the wheel can have deadly results. Being older, overweight, and male; having a neck circumference over 17 and a half inches; smoking; and using alcohol or sedatives are risk factors.

Another, not often discussed, danger to the snorer is the very real risk of being smothered by your spouse. Trust me, I’ve considered it. For some reason I can no longer fall asleep quickly. Lying there for up to three hours, night after night, listening to Roy snore is taking its toll on me. And us. He claims I snore too. Perhaps. ?But has it caused you to lose even one minute of sleep?? I ask. He falls asleep within nanoseconds of going to bed. I lie there. Sometimes I watch TV; sometimes I turn on a light and read. I replay the just-ended day and plan the one to come. I clutch the hunk of amethyst that I keep under my pillow. According to The Crystal Bible it ?treats insomnia and brings restful sleep.? Roy likely owes his life to that crystal. Every so often I have to remember to cleanse the stone when it appears not to work anymore.

I know sleep disturbance happens to ?women of a certain age.? Many of my menopausal friends are having difficulty. If they manage to fall asleep quickly, they spend two or more hours awake in the middle of the night, always waking at the exact same time. Not me. It’s those first minutes/hours of listening to this guy snore. Since neither one of us is willing to move to a bed downstairs, he needs to get his butt to a doctor and get checked out. A sleep-deprived wife’s solution is a violent, illegal option from where I sit.