25 October 2007

il Purgatario di Morpheus

Before: Wired for sound.
The great part about it was that I could receive
all 789 channels of DirecTV
in my sleep.

After: "You didn't knock me down, Ray."
And then I had to wear those damn wires
all damn day.


So I went in for my sleep study night before last. They should really call it a Lack-Of-Sleep Study, or Sleep Jail, or the Purgatory of Morpheus since someone obviously spent a lot of time dreaming up ways to fuck with people while they sleep. To wit: the thirty-six miles and forty eight leagues of wire that they attach to everything but your taint. I was right. They really do wire the hell out of you and put tubes up your nose, then put you in a strange bed and tell you to go to sleep. Not that the bed's so bad. It's a Tempur-Pedic, just like the one I have at home. But apparently Tempur-Pedic's "revolutionary support at an unmatched value(tm)"
freaked some people out (they thought that memory foam felt weird and kinda hard) so the good people at Sleep Center Northwest made the beds even more comfortable by frosting each mattress with a thin layer of futon. The result is a delicious sleepcake of unmatched comfort for the highest quality in somnolent repose. Too bad you don't get no somnolent repose, what with all the wires and the wires and the more wires and them waking you up because "oh shit one of your wires came off". They even had a tiny wire attached to the end of my left index finger. What they failed to tell me was that it had a tiny red LED in it, so when I went to rub my eye in the dark I was nearly blinded by its laser-like brilliance.

So I was in for two things, an overnight sleep study (polysomnogram) and the daytime sleep study (multiple sleep latency test). At the end of the overnight test, an EEG tech, a skinny Asian fellow, came in and woke me up and made me go into another room and get on a treadmill. I thought that was kinda weird, but I played along because, hey, what the hell do I know about stuff? It's my first time. So I'm on the treadmill with all the wires hanging off of me and I'm puffing along and the tech starts complaining about how he has intestinal gas and asks me if I have any Tums or anything. I say yeah, I think I have some in my toilet kit in my room, so I get off the treadmill and go into my room to get him some Tums. Well while I'm in there rummaging around in my toilet kit, I'm looking at my comfy, comfy sleepcake bed and thinking about how groggy I am and how nice it would be to snuggle back down between its creamy layers, and suddenly I'm all "fuck it, I'm going back to bed". So I crawl back into bed and nod off, and in about ten seconds another EEG tech opens the door and gets me up. But this time I notice that he's a real EEG tech and that the other guy was, well, kinda imaginary. And there's no treadmill anywhere in the building. I dreamt that whole thing.

The real guy's name was Grady and turned out to be a boon companion in what was an otherwise purgatorial experience. He was charged with performing my MSLT. That means that he made me take a series of five naps throughout the day and about two hour intervals. The rules were that if I fell asleep in the first fifteen minutes, I got to sleep for another fifteen minutes before they woke me up. But if I failed to fall asleep in the first fifteen minutes, then he'd come back in and get me out of bed. (And he'd know if I fell asleep or was just faking because something called "K spindles" would show up on my EEG if I nodded off.) I don't know if you've ever taken a nap in the middle of the day and then been woken up against your will, but it makes you so you're not quite awake or asleep for the rest of the day. OK - now imagine doing that five times. Yeah. Harsh. But I did manage to fall asleep two or three of the five times. I don't really remember. But what I do remember that I had a dream where I was attacked by a giant Reuben sandwich in outer space. (No, seriously, I actually dreamt that.)

One thing I forgot to mention is that there was an infrared camera in the room so they can laugh when you roll over on your morning missile and squeak with pain. I also forgot that it was there when I was buck-ass naked, getting into and out of my pajamas. I apologize to anyone at the front desk who may have been traumatized by either event. Just be glad the monitors are black and white and not color.

I managed to kill the time between naps by watching the "Empire of the Air" episode of Ken Burns' America series (good, nerdy stuff) and "Junebug" (Amy Adams is awesome and the Oscar nomination was well deserved, however the rest of the movie sucked a big, fat southern stereotype). Once those were gone, I was left with nothing to read but trade rags for the sleep industry. Not very compelling stuff, as you can imagine. Prolly great for inducing naps, though.

I get my results back next Tuesday. Until then I'll probably just continue in this half-awake state that has been become my living nightm -