First of all, smooshes and kisses to everyone who shared their own stories of official-document-related failures. I have to apologize to my husband for getting irate whenever he answers one of my own laments about my personal flaws with a consoling statement that starts with "if it makes you feel any better" and ends with his own or someone else's defects or missteps. I frequently bark something like "do you really think I'm so small and petty a person that someone else's screw-up will make me feel better about my own?" Well, friends, it turns out that I AM PRECISELY THAT SMALL AND PETTY A PERSON.
So I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening making supper, hanging with the kids and cleaning out another shelf of the downstairs storage closet (related: somebody remind me never to buy glue sticks again EVER). Then I packed my overnight bag and hugged the kids good-bye - Eve was very unhappy about this whole state of affairs (join the club). I left myself a little time for the almighty fuckery that is every hospital parking lot, since I'd never actually parked there. As usual, the signs were less than no help, and I drove around getting increasingly annoyed and worried, ending up at the delivery entrance and in the staff parking lot before I found a geriatric pick-up 15-minute spot and went in to ask the lady at information where the hell I was supposed to park. She was very nice and called me 'Sweetie', which I might have found funny at any other time but at this point it was REALLY NICE, okay? Turns out I was confused because I could park right near the front door. At a hospital. I mean, what the hell kind of sense does THAT make?
I went up to the Sleep Lab and rang the doorbell. The technician, a nice friendly man named Fraser, let me in and took me right to my room. Without asking for my Health Card. I asked him - begged him, really - to look at my Health Card, but he really wasn't interested in anything but getting down to business (when I told this to Hannah, she sent me this link, which thank goodness I didn't have in my head right then, because things were weird enough.)
I changed into my pajamas - shorts, tank top and a sports bra because I didn't want the infrared camera to catch my boob falling out and commit suicide by blown fuse or something. Then we went across the hall so Fraser could attach seventeen sensors to various body parts, after using a swab to scrape off four or five layers of skin first. While he was doing this, I was beside two computers that were monitoring the brain waves of Snoring Woman and Coughing Man. Snoring Woman was off in Dreamland, but Coughing Man was having trouble drifting off, and I kept asking Fraser if he was asleep yet, and he would show me which brain waves meant what, which was cool.
Fraser said that if they found evidence of Sleep Apnea, they would have me back to spend another night and try a CPAP machine, which made me die inside a little. Then he said that if the readings were bad enough that they were absolutely sure what the doctor would say, they could possibly wake me up after a couple hours and try the machine tonight. He asked if this would be agreeable to me and I said something noncommittal like 'OH HELL YES'. Then he said not to worry if they didn't do it tonight, it didn't mean there was no evidence of apnea, just that they had to wait for the doctor. I was pretty confident I'd be seeing Fraser again in a couple of hours.
We went back to my room and he plugged all the sensors into a little machine on the bedside table and then strapped a thing around my head with nasal prongs and a thing in front of my mouth to monitor breathing. Then he left and I laid there feeling stupid and uncomfortable for a couple of hours. Then I fell asleep.
Some unspecified amount of time later, Fraser knocked on the door, came in and said "yeah, we're gonna try the machine because my head is about to explode from watching you almost sleep for ten or fifteen seconds and then gasp yourself awake", or something to that effect. So now I had seventeen sensors plus a mask over my nose and 'headgear' to secure it, which was just a strap, but I think I actually whimpered when he said "we secure it with this headgear".
It took me even longer to fall asleep. Fraser woke me up at six and said things were definitely better with the mask. Then he gave me a ridiculous survey to fill out, asking how long I thought it had taken me to fall asleep, how many times I thought I'd woken up, what I remembered about my dreams and if I remembered what had woken me up this morning (I wrote "Fraser - duh!" - try not to judge, I was working on about 3.5 hours of sleep).
So now I contact a supplier and borrow a machine for a month and then decide if I want to buy one. This is pretty much a no-brainer, although I confess I'm feeling a distinct sense of loss and grief along with the hope and gratitude. I'm not sure if this is just my personal weirdness, or if it's normal. All I could think, lying there trying to breathe more-or-less regularly, was that this is the end of sleep as a normal, natural activity. Now sleep means having this alien extrusion attached to me. I had visions of my kids being scared when they come in to wake me in the middle of the night after a bad dream. And in the unlikely (really, very extremely unlikely, well-nigh impossible) eventuality of my ending up single again, well, forget ever sleeping with anyone ever again EVER. Then again, presumably the hideous clamour of my spasmodically collapsing airways were never going to be a huge turn-on anyway. And I hardly ever find myself dozing off attractively in a flower-filled glade. And truthfully, my kids will probably think the damned machine is totally cool. So the fact is that, after I have time to get used to it, this will be a good thing. It will. Completely. Which is nice because he's good at his job and everything, but I never want to see goddamned Fraser again.