Let us skip back in time a bit, to when I made the mistake of mentioning to my Neurologist Physician’s Assistant on a routine checkup that I’d been feeling fatigued for some time. I wasn’t worried about it, between my Multiple Sclerosis and all the drugs I’m taking for one thing or another because of my Multiple Sclerosis, the cause of the fatigue didn’t seem like a big mystery. It was just annoying and I would prefer it gone. Walk up the stairs, have to rest for an hour, down the stairs, rest for an hour, do the dishes – that wiped me out for a couple hours. A doctor’s appointment? Crap, Hubby has to help me up the stairs and I’m useless the rest of the day. Just fix it!
What? No! I sleep.
Yeah. Apparently I don’t do it right. I’ve been doing it all my life – almost every night in fact. But I don’t do it right. Really? I used to be able to sleep off anything. It amazed Hubby when we got married. We both get a cold. I sleep for twelve hours straight – cured. He suffered for two more days. Life turns to crap – I sleep for extra few hours for a few days, shrug it off. He takes anti depressants. Of course now we know I have an immune system that can kick anything’s butt and I’m not prone to chronic or serious depression, but it seemed like sleep was my cure-all at the time. Shows you the power of circumstantial evidence.
Anyway, so they decide on the fall-back diagnosis of sleep apnea. Really? I sort of suspect they decide that when they can’t figure out what else it is. Hubby has sleep apnea. I hear him stop breathing and kick him. He listened to me when we were trying to figure out if I simply wasn’t getting a restful night’s sleep and didn’t notice anything. He’s an insomniac so staying up to listen to be breathe wasn’t much of a hardship. I also don’t snore often, so it wasn’t that. The diagnosis took both of us by surprise.
Fine. So I got a stupid little machine that everyone promised would fix everything. This is the part where my life went to hell.
First, let me say I went through this vicariously with Hubby. He confirmed that he did get more restful sleep with his little machine. He also warned it would take getting used to. A week or maybe two. Second, insurance wants to make sure I give the devil’s own instrument of torture a fair shake because they made me sign a contract in blood. Okay ink. I have to sleep at least four hours every night, at least 80% of the days each month for three months, plus I have to have follow-up doctor appoint regarding the machine from hell, plus I have to follow the doctor’s and manufacturer’s directions on device. Failure to comply means I will be billed for the entire setup.
Okay then. I should mention this thing has a cellular connection, and I have a good signal in my bedroom from Verizon Wireless, so I assume they’re getting feedback on everything I do with this stupid thing. I don’t know what network it’s connected to, but if Verizon has a signal here, I’m confident AT&T does as well. Damn it. I should also mention this thing has sensors so just wearing it doesn’t count. It knows when I’m asleep and adjusts the airflow accordingly. Nice and soft when I’m awake and trying to fall asleep, then it ramps up to a ‘smack me in the face’ level where I wake up with the immediate impression I’ve stumbled into a tornado.
Sometimes I do the insomnia thing and I stay up most of the night writing or whatever. When I’m tired, however, I can normally lie down, close my eyes, and be asleep in twenty minutes. Hubby is irritated and jealous. I can sleep for eight hours. Longer if I’m not feeling well. If I’m hurting, my body recognizes I’d rather not be awake just now and so I’m not.
Fine, so I have an evil machine by my bed. Hubby too, but he doesn’t count. Let me explain.
Nimoy sleeps with Hubby and I more often than her girl, which is annoying because we got Nimoy for The Girl! Jingles tends to favor The Boy, and The Girl really wanted a cat of her own. So I got a cat. The Girl is seriously doubting her future as a crazy cat lady.
When sleeping with me, Nimoy tended to prefer my pillow. She’d stretch out above my head and proceed to radiate heat so I woke up with my head sweating and itchy. Isn’t that sweet? Add face mask attached to by nightstand by a big tube and a steady stream of air blowing out the little holes toward wherever I faced. Nimoy wasn’t happy about the change, but she shifted her spot and dealt with it. Now she sleeps on a pillow between Hubby and I, stretches out sideways and tries to push us both off the bed.
Jingles is another matter. When she’s in, she likes to come up and sleep on “her” pillow, positioned between mine and the edge of the bed, held in place by the nightstand, and have a short cat nap/mom time before waking me and asking to be let out. The anti-apnea contraption does not please her.
I made sure the tube ran under her pillow, acknowledging in advance my little black cat wouldn’t care to sleep with it. That wasn’t enough. She doesn’t like face-huggers on my face in the night.
I should point out that the cats have seen Alien. The entire series. I know this because The Boy has a video game based on it and watched the whole series with Hubby and I not long ago. He’s also watched the first two on his own a few times. Jingles knows what an alien face-hugger is, and was deeply disturbed to find me with one.
Her answer to the alien menace? Get it off mom!
Yes, I woke at an unpleasant hour one morning to find Jingles stretched out on my pillow above me in Nimoy’s place. She had her back feet planted against my annoying mask and was pushing it off my face!
On one hand, smart cat. On the other hand, it was really annoying.
I reached over and turned the little machine off, and removed the mask. Mission accomplished, Jingles requested I let her outside. I was up anyway, so I complied.
She didn’t come in the next night, but the night after she was back (rain does that) and I woke again to the same mask-attack from my cat. Reluctant to ‘reward’ her behavior this time, I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.
I should mention since wearing the stupid little mask that is supposed to help me sleep better, it now takes upwards of an hour for me to fall asleep, I don’t stay asleep, and I feel less rested when I get up. This is contrary to what everyone assured me. So when Jingles started waking me early, I was understandably annoyed. I couldn’t always just remove the mask because that would provide the wrong feedback for the cat. It’s a “who’s training who?” situation. Also, I have to get four hours of sleep registered on the little machine, and that’s hard sometimes. It’s never in a solid block so I’m grateful that wasn’t a requirement. I can’t just get up, I have to go back to sleep and try to get another hour of actual sleep per my insurance company.
Rolling over didn’t phase Jingles. Now I was in reach of her front paws. After being whapped in the face a few times as she explored the gadget, she sunk her claws into the straps and pulled.
Are you kidding me?
Get up, turn the machine off, take the mask off, let the cat out.
We used to sleep with our door closed to keep Jingles from beating up Nimoy in the middle of the night. As it turns out, a cat fight on your bed at 3am is also disruptive to a decent night’s sleep. Huh. But Nimoy and Jingles have been doing much better and we’re able to leave our door open to let them roam. This is partially in the hope Nimoy will return to The Girl’s room. (She used to start there – with the door closed to keep her in – then around 1am she’d wake up The Girl, drive her batty, and my darling daughter would take her in and dump her cat with us and close her in.) Nimoy hadn’t been sleeping with her girl, but there’s always hope.
Hope is dashed. Nimoy will have to just sleep with us because I’m not leaving the door open for Jingles. Not if she’s going to attack my sleeping accessories in the wee morning hours.
And what has Nimoy been doing while I fend off her dark companion? She snuggles closer to Hubby and doesn’t even wake up. The whole mess is beneath her notice.