Last night I slept at a hospital sleep clinic wearing a plastic cone over my nose, elastic headgear bands on my head, and electrodes all over my body. Yet, the lovely tech Iva said that I slept soundly, perhaps more soundly than I have slept in years.
I was really frightened of wearing a mask over my face. When I was at 4-H camp somewhere in the 1960s, I got in too deep in the swimming pool, panicked, and couldn’t swim my way back. I had to be pulled out of the pool. Then, when our kids were little, we took them to a water park. Once again, I got out too deep, but this time got below the crowded mass of inner tubes in the wave pool. I could not get purchase on the pool floor and could not get myself up through the inner tubes. A very aware lifeguard saw me trying to bob up, and once again, I was saved. Is it any wonder that I don’t like to have things covering my nose and mouth?
I’ve always wanted to be able to snorkel and scuba dive. The thought of seeing the underwater world holds such a pull for me, but believe me, I’ve tried. I just can’t do it. And my fears have manifested in how I raised my children. My son has never forgiven me for making him wear a life belt when he was diving off the boat in Jamaica.
When I was younger, I loved the challenge of jumping off a diving board. We’re not talking about the diving board on the pool edge, we’re talking about the high dives. I would go plummeting into the water, and then immediately would frantically claw my way to the top. The rush was worth it.
Now, not so much. My darling husband knew I was scared about this and he went with me to help me get comfortable with the mask so that I could fall asleep. We discussed taking a photo of me for the blog covered in electrodes and mask, but vetoed it. You will just have to imagine how lovely I looked. When it became clear I could handle it, he went home. What a treasure he is!
I am surprised that I did handle it as well as I did. Perhaps the alternative of continuing sleep apnea and eventual heart problems is even more scary than wearing the mask. I just know that I was determined.
I have been supported in this by many friends; thanks to all of you who offered advice and stories of positive outcomes.