For a change, I feel awake today.

It's ironic that much of my writing in journals and much of my thought goes toward the topic of consciousness and thought itself. I've been studying and contemplating issues of cognition, awareness, and self for as long as I can remember. I've wolfed down self-help books and pop-psych in high school, went on to get a minor degree in psychology proper in college.

I don't use drugs to tinker with my consciousness (other than caffeine, that is), but I've tried various more controlled forms of meditation, visualization, and introspection. I flirted with Dianetics & Scientology (but ran far, far away), employed psycho-cybernetics, got motivated by Anthony Robbins, twisted my inner eye around to see itself with the help of Douglas R. Hofstadter, studied concept-formation and knowledge ala Ayn Rand, considered the multiplicity of self with Marvin Minsky, and explored dreams and archetypes with C. G. Jung. With the help of each influence, I've been stitching together a rough manual to my mind. Just like I've hacked around with computing devices, I've worked to understand and tweak my own mentality.

Oh, but I probably need to explain the irony: For the past few months-- likely the past few years-- I've been suffering from sleep apnea. LIke my father, and his father before him, I've developed a horrible snore and have started fighting a losing struggle with sleepiness. My dad is known for falling asleep constantly: in the midst of conversation, while eating, while getting his haircut, while using a computer. And lately, those have all been things that I've begun to "enjoy". Especially bad has been my tendency to fall asleep at work, and especially dangerous has been me falling asleep whenever I have to drive for more than 10 minutes.

This condition seems to have come upon me so gradually that it's only been recently, with the scare of losing my new job, and userinfomissadroit's persistent persuasion, that I finally ackowledged the problem and sought treatment. So, I managed to get an appointment at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Clinic, where one evening at the beginning of the month I was covered with wires and sent to bed. About a week later, they called me back to inform me that I had very severe sleep apnea, and was barely getting any sleep at all in a night with about 2-3 breathless episodes per hour.

Within a few days of that news-- yesterday, in fact-- I was given a new toy: The REMstar Pro CPAP System. After one night with the thing, my snoring is gone except for the occasional snort as I become accustomed to a breathing mask, and I feel quite a bit more rested than I have in recent memory. I still feel a bit tired, but that's to be expected: I've got many nights to catch up for.

I'd gone from being able to track "seven, plus or minus two" things at once down to barely one thing at a time, and that was if I didn't doze off in the middle of the task and have to rebuild the thought process when I snapped back awake. The irony of it all is similar to something I was reminded of last week: As it turns out, software needs hardware to run. So, for all my introspective experimentation on myself, and all my attention to consciousness, I've been feeling it slipping away from me lately. As a "software" guy, I can't do much with my "hardware".

So, I'm very happy that I finally-- after much denial and procrastination by me, and after much encouragement and tolerance by userinfomissadroit-- called and started the process that ended up with me sleeping through the night again.

And now maybe I can close my eyes and meditate without losing consciousness again.

Now maybe I can be myself again.

(P.S.: Thank you, userinfomissadroit. I love you and don't know what I'd do without you.)


Archived Comments

  • It is a small world. I was born in Ann Arbor. In fact I was just there in June visiting family. My step father spent a couple of nights in the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Clinic last year. I wish I would've checked your GeoURL metadata earlier. We could've gotten together while I was there. Oh well, maybe next time. Anyway, I'm glad to hear you are feeling better.
  • You are lucky, I went through the same experience and ended up losing my job because I could not stay awake. I remember falling asleep on the road as well. It is amazing how even 1 night on the remstar can change you.
  • CPAP Well it is good to experience another CPAP users perceptions. 6 years ago I had a sleep study done, NYU Medical Center Sleep Disorders Lab - NYC, NY. I knew I slept very restlessly, and my last female partner had told me I snore. You don't really know yourself that you snore, because your asleep, and when you wake up you're not snoring. Well, they found I wake up, many times very subtley, more than I even knew, and that I was rarely going into REM sleep. So they prescribed a CPAP. WOW, what a difference it made, I immediately started sleeping better. The sleep lab told me it would take sometime of proper sleep to repair my subtle sleep deprivation. One side benefit, the air filters allow me to breathe much cleaner air for 6 - 10 hour a night, and do I ever see the soot they filter out of the NYC air I breathe !! Also, the white noise effect helps drown out NYC street noise a wee bit, earplugs do a better job. It is Very Strange sleeping with a facemask covering your nose, and headgear to keep it in place, but it is worth the strange way you look. Besides, no one except someone who likes, or loves you, gets to see you in that thing. It is a bit of a shock to a partner when you first go to use this thing. But, it could make for a unique Halloween outfit. The facemasks come in standard thin rubber face piece and Deluxe thick rubber gel-like face pieces. The gel-like ones are much more comfortable, and come in clear pale gold, or clear pale blue. I even take it with me traveling. Now if they could develop a portable battery operated lightweight for when I go camping. Curtis
  • hi. i've gone through the process and ended up with the same machine. it gathers data with and without the smart card. anyone know how to pull the data out of the machine?