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5:15 a.m. - 2002-10-30

KURT COBAIN IS TRYING TO KILL ME ... AND OTHER SLEEP DEPRIVED STORIES.

So yesterday was my big consultation day with Mr. Sandman.

It was a doctor's visit that didn't require a finger up my ass. That's what we men over 40 call "a GOOD doctor's visit".

My appointment was at 8:45.

I arrived at 8:30.

I picked up the latest Newsweek with excerpts from Kurt Cobain's upcoming diary in it.

I know Kurt was a hero to millions of suicidal teenagers that have no sense of personal hygiene. But I do believe I could have taught the guy how to make his diary slightly more interesting.

Christ ... he struggled to be a janitor at one point. No wonder the poor bastard killed himself. He wanted to be a janitor and had to settle for being a poor man's John Lennon.

Anyway, the nurse calls my name in the waiting room and escorts me back to an exam room at 8:40. Cool. I'm in the exam room five minutes early...this means I'll be in and out of here in no time.

I keep reading my magazine, wondering what makes Kurt's diary any different than the hundreds of thousands of diaries in Diaryland written by teenagers who want to whine and bitch and threaten to kill themselves at any given moment.

Ah...the difference is ... Kurt was a whiny, bitchy, suicidal millionaire adult. I get it now.

I kid, I kid. I loved the Cobain. I have all his albums and play them...well...never. But I know the first four songs on "Nevermind" and that should count for something.

So I rifle through the rest of the magazine and nothing really catches my interest because I could care less what's going on in the Russian Parliament and I know our economy's currently resting under a two-ton pile of shit.

I put the magazine down.

It's 8:50. The doctor should be in at any moment.

I pull everything out of my pockets and place them on the cold chair next to me. I put any paper money into my wallet and arrange that nice and neatly. I organize the four things in my two pants pockets...my sunglasses, my cell phone, my car keys and my Dristan ... so that they're more symmetrical. I curse myself for bringing my sunglasses in ... those could have stayed in the car. They've screwed up everything in my pockets because they're so big and bulky. I end up putting everything back in my pockets exactly as they were before and sigh.

8:55.

At 9:15, I'm a bit peeved. I've now been in this room for 35 minutes. I've managed to floss my teeth with a subscription card from a Better Homes and Gardens, successfully plucked my eyebrows with my fingertips using no mirrors, arm wrestled myself (which is much harder than it sounds), made up my own version of the Ketchup Dance which finds me with my hands behind my head and turning around in a circle while gyrating my pelvis ever so sexily and washed my hands in the adjacent sink until they almost shined.

I'm yawning.

I decide to take a nap.

I hop up on the examination table, fold my arms across my chest and close my eyes.

A minute goes by and I think..."Boy, I sure could stand to have that light off".

I turn the light off.

I don't sleep...I rest.

And rest.

And rest.

I finally get bored with this and turn the light back on.

It's 9:50.

One hour and ten minutes I've been in this room with no human contact whatsoever. Now I know what those guys on "Oz" feel like when they get put in the hole.

...Except they're naked, there's no light or magazines and they have to stay in there for like a week or so.

I bite the bullet, open the door and go in search of an employee of this jizzoint. I track down the nurse who showed me to my room.

"Have y'all forgotten about me?" I asked with a fake smile plastered across my face because a doctor's office is NO PLACE to get all testy with the employees. These people control your destiny. You cop an attitude in this place and they'll stick an IV full of rat poison between your toes or some shit.

"No sir," the nurse says. "Dr. Richardson is with another patient and you're next on his list."

Now I KNOW that when I came in, there was one guy ahead of me. One guy. If Richardson was still with that guy, I was going to be here all f'n day.

I'm escorted back to my room by the nurse like I'm all Alzheimery or something. The heavy door is closed behind me once I'm in the room.

10 a.m.

I debate re-reading Cobain's diary, but I have a feeling if I do that he'll send some subliminal message from beyond the grave telling me to kill myself.

Maybe it's the solitude and boredom of sitting in a small room by myself that's making me crazy.

Me? Crazy? HA! That's a laugh!! I'm not crazy!! Just because the ghost of Kurt Cobain's threatening to kill me in a doctor's office while I wait to find out why I'm delusional ...that doesn't make me crazy, dude.

10:10.

I'm now plucking hairs out of my nose to stay awake. I've learned to do this several months ago when I started getting all dazed at my work desk. Plucking nasal hairs will wake your ass up quick.

Out of spite, I put the nose hairs in an empty drawer in this room. That way, someday the doctor of a nurse will open this drawer and there'll be a small collection of my nose hairs in there and the person will go "What is this?" and no matter what they think it might be, they'll surely be disgusted.

I know...juvenile.

Eat me. I was tired, bored and cranky.

10:20.

I decide to write to my congressman when I get out of here and strongly suggest that when a doctor is late for an appointment, they should be docked AT LEAST one dollar for every minute that they're late. Preferably two bucks.

I've never been in the medical field, but there's simply NO FUCKING EXCUSE why I've been waiting in this room for an hour and 35 minutes for a doctor. This may be an earth-shattering revelation ... but patients have lives too, Doc. I think it's simply arrogance that leads them to make people wait in their little rooms like bad children. He's probably in his office, surfing for porn or something while I'm in here decorating his drawers with my nose hairs.

At 10:30, there's a knock on the door. Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus plays in my head as the door swings open....and there's this huge fat guy in a flannel shirt standing there.

No offense to huge fat guys or gals...the only reason I'm pointing this out is because usually doctors are pictures of health...fit and trim. They practice what they preach.

This guy looked like a beach ball with legs.

So he comes in and introduces himself.

Me...being one irritable sonofabitch at this point, says "Hi". I do not introduce myself. He's got my chart in his hands, he should be able to figure out my name. Fuck him.

He asks "And you arrrrre...Mr. Bob??"

"Yeah," I said, arms folded across my chest in a non-verbal defiant stance.

He starts asking me question after question after question. Literally...like about 150 questions.

"What's your mother's health like?"

"She refuses to go to a doctor, but I would bet she's got some sort of cancer. She smokes like a chimney factory."

"Do you have trouble getting an erection?"

"Uhhhhh...sometimes."

"When?"

"When I'm being grilled about my mother's possible cancer in a tiny exam room by a Dom DeLuise lookalike."

He presented a series of scenarios, asking me to assign a number from 1-3 as to the likelihood that I would fall asleep during the scenario.

While driving? I've never fallen asleep while driving....but I have blacked out and forgotten patches of road that I've traveled. So I'll give that a 2.

While in a meeting? I've never fallen asleep in a meeting but that's because I've trained my eyes to stay open while I'm pretending to listen to people. I'll give that a 1.

While at your work desk. 3. Although I've never technically fallen asleep at work, it's where I get the most tired and my eyes cross and I catch myself nodding off several times throughout the day.

"Several times?"

Over 100 times a day.

My "test score" was a 16 out of 20.

Anything over 8 is sleep apnea.

So I now have an appointment to go to the sleep clinic on November 12th...earlier if there's a cancellation.

I have the largest tonsils that this doctor has seen in 13 years. He said there's no doubt in his mind that I'm getting about 90 minutes of sleep a night. A minute here. A minute there. But not a solid 90 minutes of sleep.

He explained sleep apnea to me in a way that a child could understand which was good because my comprehension skills ain't what they used to be.

Simply...I'm not breathing while I sleep. Every time I try to go to a deeper level of sleep, I choke and my brain "wakes me up" which keeps me from ever getting the sleep that a body needs to rejuvenate itself.

Thus...I'm a walking zombie. And have been for several years.

The reason it's so bad now?? The anxiety from September 11th actually plays a big factor as does the new house, the stress of wondering how we'll afford this house and the stress of raising a new boy.

It's a lot to go through in just two years. But the stress and anxiety that my life has gone through lately has made the apnea worse.

But in about a month, I'll be fine. I'll have the energy of a teenager.

I cannot imagine having any energy. The few times I have to exert any type of energy, I have to force myself to do so and it doesn't last long.

I cannot imagine being able to concentrate on something like my work.

I cannot imagine being able to play with my son, doing something more than laying on the floor and letting him crawl all over me.

I'm excited.

Even if I had to sit in a waiting room for an hour and 45 minutes to get this way.

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