thankful thursday – a good night

With thanks to Whee Kelly Doll, last night made up for yesterday’s cup o’ suck soup.  She laid right up against my spine, like Hannah used to do, and the warmth from her kept my back from hurting while the fan kept the rest of me from being a sweaty mess.  I have often wished Cobie would do this; his spine is at least as long as mine, but he doesn’t cuddle often.  Kelly used to cuddle more, but she usually prefers some nook, like the backs of my knees or my armpit.

Horton woke me up a couple of times farting, and I woke up once because I was coughing and strangling on snot, but I ate a mint and was eventually able to go back to sleep and rack up almost eight hours total.  That’s much better than yesterday’s barely five.  Yesterday I had to get up early and go see the CNP, which accounted for the suck.  Also I fasted and didn’t need to.

I may go into what else sucked, but for now it’s thankful thursday.

So, Horton.  He’s manufactured by ResMed, and late last week I finally signed up for this thing called MyAir.  It turns out, Horton is a snitch, and now sends my nightly sleep report directly to ResMed, where I can see it online.  He hasn’t yet reported in for last night, so when I sign in I see this from the night before:

Yes, Horton gives me a grade.  And if I scroll down, I get this:

From there I can click on each category and see more details.

When I first signed up, Horton had reported nothing, so apparently this service is voluntary.  No one even told me about it.  I discovered while exploring Horton’s menus.  It makes me a little uneasy, but I’m going to stay signed up, at least for now.  If I decide later I don’t want snitched on, I can always block him at the router.  For now, until my appointment with the pulmonologist who can give me more details, the reports interest me.  If anyone really wanted to spy on anything that matters about me, they wouldn’t wait around for me to be diagnosed with sleep apnea and plant a cpap spy, they’d use some less conditional technology like satellites, drones, or etc..

Or they’d read my blog.

oh joy a cold

And now I have a cold.

It isn’t a bad cold.  It’s just a cold.  It has annoyingly run through my family one person at a time with a delay of weeks in between victims, and now apparently it is my turn.

You couldn’t hit me, stupid freekin cold, during the weeks and weeks I was waiting on the cpap.  No.

The RT at the HME company warned told me that many people think they won’t be able to wear their mask when they catch a cold, but most find that they can, and in fact the humidity provided by the machine actually helps nasal stuffiness.  And that much is true.  However, the pressure of the mask on my sinuses…ungood.  Very ungood.  Even for a minor cold such as this, ugh.

I am feeling very sorry for myself, in an, “I have felt like crap for so damn long, and adjusting to this machine is very difficult, and it is utterly unfair that I should feel worse and the adjustment should be made even harder,” sort of way.

Yes, I am a grownup.  I am aware that life is not fair.  I am aware that it could be worse.  I am aware that other people have worse problems.  (Technically, I have worse problems, and besides, has the whole, it could be worse thing ever made anyone feel better, ever?  Being reminded of the rampant suffering of others in the world has never made me feel better, that’s for sure.

None of that makes it easier to sleep in a mask that hurts.  I took the thing off in my sleep partway through the night, and put it back on this morning after I got up to tinkle.  It registered six point ? hours, but I have no way of knowing whether it counted the second session or both.

This stuff be hard.  I wish I were not too sensitive to live.  I am on my entire family’s nerves because I am ticked off all the time.  I am on my own nerves.  If I’m on yours, I apologize, but don’t really know what to do to stop.


Last night I opened the godlight file on my Nook, meaning to reccommence my re-read/review and refresh my memory sufficiently to finish a long ago synopsis and actually submit the thing.  And I discovered the entire second scene is missing.  Gone.  Vanished.


I heartily wish I had never tampered with the beginning at all.  And who knows what else I may have screwed up while messing around with it in my fog?  I also wish I did not have so many versions.  I would like to bag all the old versions up and throw them in an e-bonfire of some kind, because there are just too many to sort through.

I really wanted to be done revising this manuscript unless or until a professional agent or editor tells me what to change, but alas. For now I think my current writing project will be an actual revision, which is to say, I have to fix what I ruined during my last revision.

Anxiety, boo.

I need pizza.

(first world) disaster averted

The cable company raised Mom’s rates, so she called to negotiate.  In order to get the rate back down to what it was before, she had to accept a bundle deal which included a cable upgrade and the addition of internet service.

The only computer they have is my old one, which I called Mother, which I purchased in 2001.  It runs Windows XP, and has a 40G hard drive, and something like 256M of RAM, or maybe 512, I forget.  I quit using it because by the time it had a firewall and anti-virus, needed to go online, it no longer had enough oomph to run anything else much.  My brother, who lives with my parents, adopted it because he didn’t have a computer at all, never mind internet.  It was perfectly ok for running the older games he liked–think Dungeon Keeper.

When he took Mother, I got my first new laptop, which I think I called Ripley.  I used it for two years, then the hard disc died so we replaced it with a larger one.  By then I was in Graphic Design classes, and Ripley couldn’t run the advanced Photoshop features I needed, such as 3D, so sadly I replaced her with my current laptop, Big Mama.  I love Big Mama, who has an actual number pad and a backlit keyboard, and cool chicklet keys, but I still have an affection for Ripley.  At first I downgraded her to a “beater” and carried her around in my bookbag.  Then Zor moved out and when she moved back in, she had no laptop, so I let her use Ripley.

Last winter, Zor finally saved up enough to buy a better laptop of her own, and Ripley came home.  But meanwhile I’d been having trouble running After Effects on Big Mama, so Mr Moth gave me one of his old laptops to try it out on.  Unfortunately my health/cognitive issues derailed me, and I never did use that laptop, and suddenly I have three.  I waffled a lot about which to keep, and what to do with the other, since I know more than one person who could use a computer but can’t afford one.  However, I wasn’t sure my brother would even want a more advanced computer, since he said he likes playing those old games.  But if I gave it to anyone else, I would feel the need to do a complete restore to reduce the chance of any old banking info being potentially recoverable from the hard drive, in the event Ripley changed hands again after leaving home.  That would mean a lot more work.

At one point, I even posted on Facebook, a theoretical question about how to decide what to do with an extra twenty dollars.  Unsurprisingly, the answers were not helpful.

Eventually, through the apneic fog, came a possible solution.  I would ask my brother if he wanted Ripley.  If he did, I would give her to him.  If he didn’t, I would give her to a friend.  However, I didn’t ask right away.  I knew I would still have to do some cleanup, if not a full wipe, and I haven’t felt up to even that much in months upon months.

But then the cable/internet issue came up, and I have been feeling a little perkier, so I cleaned up Ripley.  I thought I had time; he hadn’t had internet before, so wouldn’t be in a rush, but then I got a phone call.  When the cable company unplugged their old TV to hook it to the new cable box, it stopped working.  It had, evidently, been on its last legs for a long while, so this was not the cable company’s fault, but rather just bad timing.  They had another ancient TV, but it was a tiny portable, and Pa couldn’t see it.  My brother wanted to know if I could take Ma to Wal-Mart to purchase a television.

However, two Christmases ago when Mr Moth and I bought ourselves a new flat screen TV for the living room, we put our old 25-inch black box TV in the basement.  I had intended to use it in the spare room someday, but I don’t actually need a TV down there, so we–well, he–loaded it up.  By great fortune I even remembered where I had stashed the zapper.  We added the laptop, some books I’d been meaning to take up there, and the boombox CD player I bought but rarely used.  Sadly I forgot to put in the CDs, or the headphones, but that will give me an excuse to make another trip soon.

The TV we gave them is the same size screen as their old console, but only half the size overall, and fits perfectly on top of the old one for now.  The picture is still beautiful, and Pa can see to watch his weather channel and his outdoorsman show, and Ma and my brother can watch Jeopardy.  He can also now google things for her.  Not that I mind googling things for my mother!  But it’ll be more convenient for her to have a googler close to hand.

At first I felt kind of anxious, like offering my family my hand-me-downs might be insulting somehow, but they are not like that.  They think these things are wonderful.  They work, and they’re free.  Which makes me realize we probably didn’t *need* to replace these things, but I’m kind of glad we did, because in the end everybody’s happy, and how often does that happen?


My temporary crown is on there.  They told me to avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky.  I replied that I have been watching that tooth flake away for years, and have been avoiding hard, crunchy, and sticky for a very long time.  I can do it a while longer.  

The temp is far too white, considering the tobacco and coffee my other teeth have survived.  Hopefully the permanent crown will be not quite as white.  What it will be is wider; they’re going to fill in a gap so my front uppers will present an uninterrupted line.  My teeth will not be picture perfect, but they will look…normal.  They filled in the chip on my left front incisor when they did fillings last time, and I am still startled when I look in a mirror.

So next trip, in June, I will be getting the permanent crown installed and some more fillings.  Dr A didn’t say how many fillings.  What she said was, “I’ll do as many as I can until we run out of time.”  I take this to mean they no longer feel the need to baby me along.  And it’s not as though I am trying to ironman it out, either.  I’m ok.  I had some very faint touchiness high in the gum, but I didn’t even feel the need to take ibuprofen for it.  I worried Horton might aggravate that, but no.  I could go back today if they wanted me to.

Instead I am working on a list that I hope to develop into a daily routine that will enable me to get things done this summer.  I lost most of last summer to dizzy spells and weakness, and the summer before that I spent lying around exhausted.  I thought that was because I was recovering from Portfolio Review and graduation, but I’m thinking that wasn’t it.  Or not all of it.

I live in hope that someday I will have things to share besides health updates and weather.  Speaking of which…

It’s cool enough today to turn the air conditioning off and leave the door open so dogs can come and go at will for a while.  They’re happy, so I’m happy. 

If Tyrion the Hammister wakes up, he’s going to be unhappy, because his cage is atrocious.  He still hates being handled, sigh.

A Terrier Hears Horton, or cpap with varmints

This year, for our fifteenth anniversary, Mr Moth and I treated ourselves to a new bed.  After years of being all Dan and Roseanne in a double bed, we went for the king, even though it pretty much eats up all the floor space in our room.  Mr Moth gladly gave up floor space on his side in favor of more sleeping space.  I can’t, because doing so would leave me unable to open the drawers on my dresser, and of course we had to have room for dogs.

The bed is amazing, wonderful, awesome.  We have so much less pain–bordering on none.  I still have my beloved familial bursitis, but pretty much nothing else hurts when I get up in the morning (unless it’s my head, which is either apnea, sinus, or both).  Mr Moth was able to stop wearing his knee braces, of which he has two.  One being for his actual knee, and the other being one of those sold-on-tv things for back pain.

Yes, that actually worked, right up until he didn’t need it anymore.

To save floor space, we went with a bedframe that has no headboard and no footboard.

Dealing with lack of storage was an issue, but more serious to me–hello, Crazy Dog Lady–was discovering the new bed was too high for Kelly.  She used to use the tiny footboard as a toehold and come up over the end, but now she was just grounded.  Furthermore, Cobie was being a giant territorial ass about it, jumping up on the bed and prancing around, lording it over her.

I surfed the internet extensively looking for ideas, but didn’t really find anything that appealed.  While it seemed an obvious solution, there’s no longer enough room in the bedroom for some of those doggy steps, and I think I may have already reported how the bedding I thought was going to fit the new bed did not.  We went to Ollie’s looking for a bedding set that would fit, and when I saw one of those storage ottomans one of my remaining braincells fired off, and I thought aha!  And we got one.

The ottoman fits barely on Mr Moth’s side of the bed.  It gives him a place to charge his phone while he sleeps, and provides a place to stash clutter where I don’t have to look at it.  One turned out to not quite be enough, because Kelly is longer than one ottoman, so we bought another.  The arrangement might look a little odd, but it fulfills all the requirements.

(My own phone charging arrangement is even odder because of the need to keep the dresser unblocked on my side, but that is perhaps a topic for another day.)

So fast forward to Project Horton.  Someone on FaceBook suggested that Cobie, my spooky dog, might be alarmed by the CPAP machine.  I tried not to worry about that, but I worried about it a lot.  He doesn’t do well with change.  If I even change my text message alert tone, he spends days running to the basement every time it goes off until he gets used to it.  When I was setting up Horton, both dogs watched, and Cobie actually jumped up on the bed, so I showed it to him.  He sniffed it for a long while, then went and laid down on his bed.  Kelly was completely disinterested and entertained herself my licking my pillow.

Then, at some point on Day Two, after Mr Moth had gone to work, Kelly climbed her ottomen–haha–and got into bed with me.  She hadn’t done that on the first night I wore the mask, but some nights she doesn’t.  She kept her distance, although that is also not unusual.  Oliver (the cat) has a “territory” on the bed, and even when he isn’t in it, neither dog is anxious to infringe.  If you knew Oliver, you’d understand.

At some point, Oliver joined the bedzoo.  At yet another point, the mask resumed its leaking and farting*.

Kelly went wild.

She started yarking and charging my face, and Tiggering all around the bed.  Oliver was displeased.  He squalled like a ninja.  Kelly bounced and yarked and went gromma gromma gromma.

I lay there thinking about Elmer Fudd and the fly in his bedroom and how one little distraction escalates until he ends up blowing holes all in his house with a shotgun.  That always seemed ridiculous to me before.

Now, not so much.


    *  Since Zor’s childhood, we have called blowing razzberries on someone’s belly a “zerbert” because at some point she saw it spelled on a cartoon as ZRRBRRRT.  Among classier people this farting/razzberrying is also called burping, and I am ridiculously glad that my family and other people’s families (as reported on forums) notice how hideously loud it is.  People in other rooms can hear this.  Ergo I can conclude I am not being a princess about it.  It is a thing.  A nerve-wracking obnoxious thing.

Horton, days two, three, and four

So by Day Two, I have concluded Horton (the bilevel cpap) is like having a baby.  You’re already exhausted from the pregnancy/apnea, and then you’re all excited until you realize you now have this thing in your face making smells and noises and waking you up repeatedly throughout the night.

Part of the problem is I have an excruciatingly high level (23) and the tech/therapist told me I am gonna leak regardless.  I get about two hours of sleep before the razzberry sounds against my cheeks and/or air blowing into my eyeballs wakes me up, at which point I discover the mask has shifted.  I just can’t seem to find the right level of tightness.  Too tight causes leaks (and is uncomfortable besides).  Too loose lets the mask drift which allows leaks.  I half wonder if I could polident the sucker into place.

I fiddled with some settings last night.  I turned the temperature down on the heater to 78°F, and the humidity down to 1, whatever that is.  I didn’t like trying to breathe tropical air.  The down side is, I woke up with the worst cottonmouth of my life, my cheeks were all stuck to my teeth and gums, and I really wanted a drink but was too tired/lazy to climb the dog gate to go get one.  I may have to start taking water to bed with me.  That would mean cleaning space on the dresser to put water.  That room really needs de-cluttered.

Day Two’s results are…I feel less dead than yesterday, a little headachey when I first got up, but that faded almost immediately.  I’m not sure how I feel compared to before that. 

(B.H.?  Before Horton?)

I also had some gas pains.  Actual pains.  I have never had gas pains in my life except post-caesarean.  So there’s another way Horton is like having a baby.

On the up side, Mr Moth said I seem (brighter? sharper? some tactful way of saying smarter) than normal.  I said, I didn’t know I seemed dumb.  I mean, I know I am dumb, I just didn’t know everyone could tell.  He replied, it had happened so gradually he didn’t actually notice until it subsided.

I asked him to continue to let me know if he notices anything else in the future because, yanno…hope.

Day Three:  I had to get up early (for me) and attend Zor’s (the at-home spawn and my youngest) college graduation.  Go, Zor!  The first sleep report said I used the machine for five hours.  I thought I was going to die climbing the stairs to a seat at the auditorium, but that might have been because I skipped all medication that might make me have to pee more until I got home.  Then when I came home, I took those pills and went back to bed, but only for forty minutes.  Apparently taking all those pills on an empty stomach was a huge mistake because I developed heartburn like I have not had–say it with me–since having a baby.  That sleep report claimed forty minutes of use.  I got up, had a drink, ate some chips, and went back to bed for another reported five-ish hours.  These hours were uninterrupted, because I cranked that mask down so freaking tight my face begged for mercy.  Apparently there’s a tiredness zone where you no longer care if a hunk of plastic is cookie-cuttering your head.

I went back to bed as soon as the dishwasher finished, around one-ish a.m..  Before I went, I used some of Cobie’s witch hazel to clean my face, because I read that mask slippage may be caused by skin oil.  I normally don’t wash my face at bedtime unless I’ve worn makeup, which is to say, almost never.  But witch hazel is cheap, and I don’t want anyone to say I haven’t given Project Horton a genuine effort.

I also read that my hair might be causing slippage.  I think manufacturers need to make headgear that can accommodate hair, because I am not going to shave my head or grow a ponytail.  Ponytails give me headaches.

Day Four:  Ten hours, no leaks until the very end, and only woke up once to tinkle.  I still feel droggy, though I’m not yet fully outside my morning coffee.  Also I discovered when I broke my medication routine on Day Three, I completely forgot to take the Victoza (injectable).   That probably contributes at least somewhat to me feeling less than ideal, although I have not checked my BG.  I have also not been checking my BP like I should.  That is allegedly one of the first things that responds to CPAP therapy, so I should start checking it.

And that brings me up to today.  I know none of this is fascinating to anyone, and I am just as obnoxious about posting boring stuff as a new mother, but this is what is eating my brain these days.

Things going on in the background include my attempts to prioritize my creative endeavors so that I can actually accomplish something instead of spending the entire summer wallowing in overwhelm, and catching up on some housework.  Well, not catching up.  I’m never going to catch up.

Once I figure out my priorities, I can hopefully establish a routine.

Oh, and I started reading a book.

That’s kind of huge.  I just can’t express the depth of actual grief I feel when I think about never really reading again.

how robins saved my life

I promised to tell this story years upon years ago, and it’s shameful that I haven’t done so, because it’s such a short story.

It was early spring, but warm, and I was on my way to college (the first round) and had come off the interstate and was waiting on the traffic light at the bottom of the offramp.  There was a straggly little tree to my left, but it was far and farther in the leafing process than any other tree, I noticed.  But whoa!  They were not leaves at all, but robins! And instead of one or a pair like you normally see in Ohio in the early spring, there were scads!  I started counting them.

I’d got to fifteen or so when the blare of a car horn made me jump, and I scowled in my rearview before returning my attention to the light, which had changed.  Sorry, jerk–I was busy counting robins! I thought, and the signal headed from my brain to my foot, to move from the brake to the accelerator, when a pale yellow Cadillac El Dorado blew that light doing about sixty.  I barely registered that the driver was a cliched pimp, or at least someone who played one on TV, wearing a raked over hat with a feather and some kind of a coat with a fur collar.

That was not the nearest I ever came to death; I have also been saved by a book, by doctors, and by my own wits, but on that day in 1984, a flock of robins get the credit.

CPAP Day One

Yesterday, after a few hiccups and a major meltdown on my part, I picked up my Xpap machine.  I named him Horton, and warned everyone here that it is ok for me to make elephant jokes about the machine, but it is a crime punishable by slow death to make any remarks that might be even remotely construed as comparing me to an elephant.

I do not like Horton so far.  Or, more accurately, I don’t like the mask.  It’s the same mask they put on me during the titration study, and it presses too hard across the bridge of my nose and the adjacent cheekbones, it rides up, and then it leaks into my eyes.  I told the therapist this, but she insists it is the best one for me because I am a mouth-breather.  Well this mask should soon break me of that, since if my lips part company even briefly, the sheer force of air blows my lips and cheeks out so that I probably look like a floppy-flewed dog with its head out an airplane cockpit.  That wakes me up with a quickness.  So do the leaks, especially when they make flatulent noises against my face.

If I were at all classy or refined, I suppose I would call those sounds razzberries.  I hate them too much to bother with pretending to be refined, however.  I’m overly sensitive to touch and sound already, and having that sensation-and-noise in my face just hisses me off.

After an eternity or three, Mr Moth left for work and I turned on the television.  The bedroom TV has never served any purpose other than to let me watch school closings in winter without getting up, and since I’ve been able to get closings via text, I don’t even use it for that; it’s just a big clunky dust magnet.  But I turned it on, just loud enough for me to hear it, not loud enough for me to understand anything said, and afterwards I sort of slept, a little.

In between, I dreamed.  Wow.  Such dreams.  The Hound featured prominently.  I don’t recall ever dreaming about somebody else’s characters before, ever.

I woke up still exhausted.  No more or less exhausted than any other day.

While I was peeing, I noticed that, in spite of my fatigue, I do not have the splitting headache I’ve awakened with every other day for months.  So progress?  Maybe.

I still want a nap with all my heart.

Horton generated his daily Sleep Report, which alleges I used the machine for six hours.  I guarantee I was not asleep all that time, or even much of that time.  This time matters though, because if I don’t achieve some level of compliance–and I forget already what that level is–the insurance company will stop paying for Horton.  They’ll know because Horton is a spy, who reports via memory card.

My bedroom is still a cluttered mess from putting in the new bed, and adding Horton and his attachments made it worse.  Therefore I don’t want to take a photo at this time, but here’s a stock image:

placebo sleep

Bear with me; I am obsessed with sleep.

I have always believed sleep was one of the things I had going for me, that sleep was something I was good at, not by skill but by good fortune.  If I was tired all the time it was because Mr Moth snored and kept me up, or because I hung up in dream sleep and never achieved the other stages of sleep where rest occurs.  But I have never had trouble falling asleep.  Shortly before the apnea dx, I posted on Facebook and had a discussion with my mother, about how strange it is to me that (I had read that) people make a conscious decision to close their eyes and wait to fall asleep.  I have never done that, ever.  I just put my book away and go to sleep.  And I have rarely had trouble staying asleep, unless I was ill, or the dogs were restless, or had a baby.  Even when I had to tinkle eleventy times a night, I had no trouble going back to sleep each time–although, come to think of it, each awakening did seem to require a disproportionate amount of extra sack-time.

I used to dream a lot, and vividly.  That’s apparently a sign of moderate apnea.  I haven’t dreamed in a long time.  Apparently that’s a symptom of severe apnea.  If I could remember when I stopped dreaming all night every night, it might give me a time frame for when this problem tipped over into severe.  It’s been since we lived here, but beyond that I don’t recall.  I suspect it happened when the Actos shoved me past some tipping point weight-wise, because everything really started snowballing when I went on that drug, but it happened slow-ish, and going back off it has not completely reversed the symptoms–because they are apnea symptoms.  I hope.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.  I wanted to talk about placebo sleep.

I surfed from Facebook to “14 Amazing Psychology Facts Everyone Needs To Know” because I am too brain dead to read anything real, and I was waiting for the plagiarism checker to process my final exam paper (because I am also too brain dead to trust myself not to accidentally steal someone else’s concepts or ideas simply because I can’t remember where anything came from.)  I was initially interested in the graphic that said, Don’t tell your goals to anyone, but I was quickly sidetracked to list item #10, that said:  Convincing yourself you slept well tricks your brain into thinking it did.

Did I mention I’m obsessed with sleep?

Here’s the source article for that, which in turn cits a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology conducted by Colorado College, which seems to indicate that being aware of how tired you are makes you more tired.

I’m not going to try to track down more links to back this study up. Instead I’ll just say that, if accurate, it explains a lot.  As soon as the sleep lab said, “You aren’t sleeping, you’re smothering, and we have computer readouts that prove it,” I nosedived, and hard.  Went from barely functional to practically crippled.  This study explains why that happened, if they took away my placebo sleep and that was really all I had going on, sleepwise.

And if that’s true, believing the xpap therapy will work, will make it work, at least to an extent.

I wish I were more convinced it will work.  I’ve been chasing this for so dang long.  I lost most of last summer to dizzy spells, and now this summer is here and even the bathroom seems too far away.

The Home Medical people finally called, and I’m supposed to go pick up the machine tomorrow morning.  Wish me good luck that this goes as smoothly as possible, because I am so tired.