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5:15 a.m. - 2002-11-14

YOU ARE FEELING VERRRY SLEEPY...PSYCHE!!

Soooo...my sleep clinic thing the other night...

(Quick background...me been diagnosed with sleep apnea. I choke in my sleep and end up getting very little "sleep" each night even though I may lay in bed for 6-7 hours. Was told to go to sleep clinic where my sleep would be monitored, I'd be able to get a CPAP machine (basically an oxygen mask to wear all night to cure my apnea) and I would live happily ever after except for the fact that the dog's still peeing on the carpet every time I turn around.)

So I show up at 8:30 p.m. I've had no caffeine since noon, I haven't taken any naps, I'm all showered and shampooed with no hair spray or gel or deodorant and I'm READY TO SLEEP, MISTER!!!

The sleep clinic is in the basement of a local hospital and when I get off the elevator in the basement, it's like a horror movie. Most of the lights have been turned off in the hallways and it's deadly quiet down there. At first, I think that this is some sort of joke and that somebody dressed as Jason from Friday the 13th is going to hop out of a closet or something and scare the feces outta me and then people will start laughing and I'll have to sign some documents in order to appear on "Spy TV".

Nope. It's just that everyone's gone home, the hospital's doing their part to conserve energy and it's up to me to wander the 100 yards to the sleep clinic with little to no visual help.

I get to the sleep clinic and there's nobody around for miles. I sign in and take a seat. An old lady shows up right behind me and does the same thing. I try to make small talk with her, but apparently "Weren't you scared of the hospital monsters on the way down here?" wasn't the correct ice breaker.

Finally, a young guy opens up the little frosted glass window at the desk, chuckling to himself. He's trying to make it look like there's a big party behind the little frosted glass window and that me and Scared Old Lady weren't invited. Which is fine. I can't imagine hanging out with a bunch of people who watch other people sleep for a living are capable of partying Uncle Bob-style anyway.

He gives us forms to sign that basically say if we die before we wake we pray the Lord our souls to take. I sign mine. Scared Old Lady actually has to read every word on hers before she signs. She's either a pain in the ass everywhere she goes or she's come close to dying in a sleep clinic before. I can't figure out which.

We're then escorted down a hallway where our pictures are taken. Naturally, I flash a million dollar smile because in my warped head, I'm expecting this picture to be the one they use in the newspaper under the headline "Uncle Bob Dies In Local Sleep Clinic Mishap".

Scared Old Lady just grimaces into the camera. Something tells me I've probably honked and flipped her off in traffic before. She seems the type to be driving below the speed limit in the passing lane.

We're then shown to our respective rooms, which is nice because for just an instant I thought "I hope they don't expect me to share a room with Scared Old Lady." Not that it'd be that big a problem, but it's pretty obvious that we both snore and that may make it harder to fall asleep for me. Plus, she was OLD. She may have been an attractive little bird in her day, but currently she looked like Nancy Reagan without the hair dye and fake smile. I mean...I probably would have done her if we were in the same room and there was a general consent between us ... but I doubt I would have enjoyed it much and would have just been doing it so I could fall asleep afterwards.

I'm told that I'll be in room two.

Now, ever since I knew I'd be going here, I've been imagining the room to look like a Holiday Inn room. Those were the exact words used by the sleep doctor guy.

"It doesn't look like a regular hospital room," he said. "You'll think you're in a Holiday Inn."

So in my head, I expected a big double bed, lame pictures on the wall, a semi-nice bathroom...etc.

And this did look like a Holiday Inn.

...A Holiday Inn in Nazi Germany.

I threw open the door and there was a single hospital bed with a K-mart blue light special bedspread on it. Everything else looked like a regular hospital room except for all the wires hanging from the wall behind the bed and there were no windows.

Oh. And the camera hanging from the ceiling.

It was obvious that Sleep Doctor Guy had never actually stayed in a Holiday Inn ... this was just the stupid backward fuck's concept of what it must be like to actually spend the evening in a hotel.

I was told to get into my sleepwear, fill out some more forms and have a seat in the chair o' death.

The chair o' death was once a decent recliner. My guess was that it was a fine chair sometime around the depression era. Today, it looked about as comfortable as being the recipient in a bukkake festival.

(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, chalk it up to a joke you'll never understand because I'm not explaining it. But I would like to thank Pervy for introducing me to the wonderful world of bukkake.)

I strip down naked, fill out the forms and carefully try to lounge in the chair o' death.

A small, older woman by the name of Hilda walks in.

"Why are you naked?" she asks.

"I sleep in the nude," I reply.

"Where's your penis?" she asks.

"You have to squint to see it," I confirm.

She squints her eyes and stares at my crotch. Then she shudders and gets me a hospital gown to wear. I laugh and say that I was just playing and had a t-shirt and shorts in my bag that I had conveniently hidden in the cubbyhole they called a closet. We both had a good laugh at my prank, but I could tell she was hot for my rod and thus was fake laughing.

I change into my clothes and she says she'll be back "in a few minutes" to hook me up to the billion wires that I'll be wearing while I sleep. In the meantime, watch some TV.

So I watched "Dateline" all about Al Roker's "miraculous" weight loss.

I guess it's a miracle they could actually find the lard ass's stomach in order to remove it. The man has no stomach now. Anything he eats now goes straight from his throat into his colon and out his ass without being digested.

It's a miracle.

A miracle he hasn't f'n DIED yet.

Anyway, I watch that and then the local news starts.

Hilda hasn't made it back to my room yet. My guess is that she was watching me sitting in the chair o' death on a monitor somewhere and slapping her meat around, fantasizing about me and my baby-sized pecker.

Finally, at 10:15 central time, Hilda comes back in the room.

"Are you ready to be hooked up?" she asks.

"Only if it's with Scared Old Lady!" I chirp.

She didn't get it.

So Hilda begins attaching these wires to my body with tape, with sticky stuff that I didn't want to ask what it was and with whatever else she could find. I could swear she attached a few wires on my scalp with her own saliva, but I couldn't see to make sure.

An hour later, I looked like a science experiment gone awry. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had wires all over my head, my hair was messier than the old sock conveniently stuffed between Pervy's mattress and boxsprings at home and there were wires coming out of my shirt and shorts in every direction. I had elastic belts wrapped tightly around my chest, abdomen and legs. I looked like the stupidest superhero in the world.

I asked what was going to happen. She said that three hours after I fell asleep, once they had received enough data on my sleep patterns, they would come in and put the CPAP machine on me to see how I slept with a mask on my face.

I was then allowed to finally get into bed. I was told not to move too much in my sleep and that I should try to sleep on both sides and my back but NOT my stomach.

The lights were shut off. I laid there on my back. I can not sleep on my back at all. When I was a big drunk, I had seen some TV show that said drunk people could choke on their vomit if they slept on their backs and ever since then, I've never been able to sleep on my back. I no longer drink heavily, but I still can't do it. Old habits die hard.

All of a sudden, I hear Hilda's voice on a speaker somewhere in the room. She wants to do some tests.

I have to blink my eyes. Look to the left, the right, up and down.

Grit my teeth like I'm chewing gum. Unbeknownst to her, I was actually gritting my teeth like I was chewing a steak. But I never revealed my little secret.

Flexed my feet. Counted to five out loud. Showed her my penis one more time. Which she didn't ask for, but I figured she could use the cheap thrill since it was going to be a long night.

Then I was told to go to sleep.

So I laid there.

And thought about all the wires all over my body.

And the tubes in my nose.

And just how freakin' UNCOMFORTABLE I was.

After about 15 minutes, I slowly turned over to my left side. All the wires became tighter now, leaving impressions in my skin. The stuff glued to my scalp was pulling my hair.

I laid like that for about 30 minutes, trying to go to sleep.

Flipped over to the other side slowly. This took five minutes in and of itself. The pressure of the wires slacked off a bit, but was still majorly uncomfortable.

The fact that there was a camera over my bed where Hilda was watching my every move wasn't helping matters either.

Long story even longer...I did not fall asleep until 3:10 a.m. according to Hilda. At 4 a.m., a guy came in to fiddle with the dials on the machine next to my bed. I woke up at 5:50 a.m. Well...I opened my eyes at 5:50 a.m. As soon as I opened my eyes...five seconds later I hear Hilda saying "Good morning!!" on the speaker.

"Good morning," I mumbled.

We had to do the same tests we did earlier. The eye rolling, foot flexing, pecker exposing test.

Then she came in and made me fill out some more forms on how I felt. I was dizzy. I had a headache. I felt miserable.

It asked me how the CPAP machine helped me. Did I sleep better with it on? Was it comfortable? Did it make Hilda look sexier in the morning?

I didn't fill that part out until Hilda came back in my room to remove the wires.

"Did I even sleep with the CPAP machine on?"I asked.

"No," she said. "You didn't sleep long enough for us to get it on you. You barely gave us enough data to do anything with. You snored loudly. You had a few episodes during the night. But it looks like you're going to have to reschedule another appointment."

Huh?

Whazzat???

I DON'T get my energy machine?!?

I was a little ticked and a lot tired. I explained that it was very hard for me to fall asleep with all these wires on. I was extremely uncomfortable all night long. I didn't want to have to come back...I WANT MY FREAKIN' CPAP MACHINE SO I CAN FINALLY ENJOY LIFE!!!

Sorry. Can't give it to me until I sleep at least six hours in the clinic.

Sonofabitch.

So at 6:20 in the morning, with the morning sun welcoming me into the world, I drove the 20 minutes home straight into the sunlight which did wonders for my headache and nausea.

Got home, informed my wife that I'd have to go back because I sucked at sleeping and kissed her and my son goodbye.

I showered and went to work. Where I thought I was going to die.

I asked the boss if it'd be cool if I went home at lunchtime and went back to bed. He's so cool. He said sure.

I love my boss. I'm not just saying that because of the lack of sleep. It's morning now, I got seven hours of sleep last night and can honestly say...my boss is the shizznit.

So I'm waiting to hear when my next appointment will be.

Maybe it'll go better this time because I'll know what to expect.

I sure as hell hope so.

I want my energy back.

If ... for no other reason...maybe it'll make my pee-pee bigger.

A guy can dream.

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