The Mask

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.

Photo courtesy of kendallkirkham

To paraphrase Tim Gunn, I’m gonna “make it work, people.”


2 responses

  1. Tee hee. Love Tim Gunn. I want to be friends with him. I’m glad your test went well! Like anything, you will get used to the mask over time. When they come to your house to set up the machine, make sure they explain everything clearly. This didn’t happen for my dad the first time, and the settings were all wrong for quite a while.

    1. Thanks! They are coming on Thursday, so I will listen very carefully and ask questions.

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