Christmas Dreams

I dream big.  Both pairs of socks that I started on my trip to Montana, along with a scarf for myself, were going to be finished.  Additionally, I was doing a fixer upper on my condo – new carpeting on the stairs from the basement to the living area, new carpeting on the stairs from the living area to the master bedroom, new paint on the master bedroom walls and the lower bedroom walls, new paint on the master bedroom bath, new paint and flooring in the basement, as well as hauling away a ton of stuff I hadn’t looked at in 20 years.  As you can see, this work needed to be done:

Eww! (Master bedroom carpet)

Eww! (Master bedroom carpet)

Fix me! (wall in master bedroom)

Fix me! (wall in master bedroom)

Basement stairs

Basement stairs

Of course, when you’re working with contractors, nothing goes completely on schedule.  The work got started a day late, took longer than anticipated, and had to ultimately be juggled with other contractual commitments.  It’s done now, but the bedrooms still need to be organized and pictures hung.

The socks are done too.  As is my standard modus operandi, each person got 1 sock in their Christmas package.  They laughed.  I laughed with them.  Grrrr!  I said!  I was sure these would be finished.

There were a couple of things I didn’t count on.

In November, I saw a Pulmonologist for a chronic cough I had been experiencing.  He sent me for a lung function test, which came back positive for asthma.  REALLY?  Asthma, now, after all these years without it?  I got a couple of inhalers and that’s really all I can say about that, except that the cough is much improved (YAY yell my co-workers and friends) and the rest is still a work in process.  But that’s not what really kept me from finishing the socks.

I had another niggling problem.  I kept falling asleep at inopportune times, like when I would be knitting on socks (one sock was particularly victimized by this and required ripping back a few inches, so that explains why that sock didn’t get finished!).  I was particularly bothered by this nodding off, especially since it seemed to be getting worse.  And I knew it was because I wasn’t sleeping well at night.  I was pretty sure I was waking up every 30 minutes or less, and at least every time I turned over in bed.  But when I first brought it up to my doctor a year ago he just said it was normal to nod off when you got older.  Hmmmm. . . .

I brought it up to the Pulmonologist and he said we should do a sleep study.  I managed to sneak this in on the night before New Years’ Eve.  I was told to be there at 9 pm and that they would expect me to go to bed by 10:30 (I had told them this was my normal bedtime).  They had me fill out paperwork, and then had me get hooked up to a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine and wear it for 30 minutes in case I needed it for the second half of my sleep study.  At 10:30 they came in to unhook the CPAP machine and told me that they were having some equipment problems, that a technician had been called, and that it would likely be a couple of hours before the sleep study could begin.  As a result, because they needed me there for six hours, they would not be waking me up until 7:30.  At 1:00 they came in to attach all the monitors on me, and by 1:30 I was tucked into my bed.  😦  Let me just say:  Given that I was already tired, by this point I was beyond tired.  But when the lights went out, and despite the fact that the bed was extremely comfortable, I’m pretty sure that for the first three hours I pretty much just laid there.  I was cold, and my nose monitor came out, so the nurse had to come back in and fix that.  But, even though I felt that I had not slept in that three hours, I must have, because at the end of the three hours I was awakened and told they needed to put me on the CPAP machine.

At first, I had the sensation that I couldn’t catch my breath. I tried to breathe through my mouth but got a gush of air through my nose.  (You’re not supposed to breathe through your mouth when the CPAP is on.)  I sat straight up in bed, but found I was okay.  I laid back down but felt that breathless feeling again.  Again, I sat straight up in bed.  This time the nurse came on the intercom and asked if I was okay.  I said I was feeling kind of out of breath and could I use my inhaler.  The nurse came in and took the mask off me.  I used my inhaler, and then he put the mask on me again, turned out the lights, and left.  This time I tried to concentrate on my breathing.  .  I kept repeating the words in my mind while breathing through my nose.  Suddenly, the nurse was calling me to wake up over the speaker.  It was 7:30 he said and time to get up.  The sleep study was over.  I was in the same position as when I laid down after using my inhaler.  My three hours on the CPAP was over and it was time to go home.  I couldn’t believe it!  I had slept for those three hours without moving or without waking to turn over.  While not nearly enough sleep, I still felt like Scrooge on Christmas morning!  I had slept.  I couldn’t remember the last time I slept like that.  I felt giddy inside.

Of course, I was right back where I left off the next  night.  And since.  A day after the New Years’ holiday was over, I got a call from the doctor’s office.  During the first part of the study, when I wasn’t hooked up to the CPAP machine, I experienced a number of apneas (cessation of breathing) over the course of an hour.  My pulse oxygen went down to 76%.  No wonder I’m so tired!  My doctor prescribed an APAP machine (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure).  The APAP differs from the CPAP machine in that it monitors your breathing and automatically adjusts the air pressure as needed.  Happy new year to me.

I am trying not to be discouraged.  Actually, I am so desperate for sleep that the time cannot pass fast enough.

As I finish off the final sock, I look forward to once again getting back to my scarf.  After that, I’ll have to find me a soothing project to work on.  Maybe some lace?


As I was scanning the Guardian one day, I came across this article and found it inspiring.





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