Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Never Enough Medical Surprises Department

"Well now, if I gave 'em my money, I would be a SubGenius."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"But what would happen when I woke up the next morning and started breathing?"


You may have heard that old recording of the guy calling into the talk show in the 80s when Stang and Drummond were on as guests. And maybe you laughed at his comment. But I bet you didn't fully get that last line. "Started breathing"? Huh? I know I didn't get that bit.

Until now.

St. Thea urged me to go to the doctor because I had a lot of symptoms of sleep apnea, a disorder where you stop breathing while you sleep. It's actually fairly common, but most people have a fairly mild case of it. But in more acute cases, it can lead to lethargy, trouble handling stress, depression, anxiety, and a dozen more symptoms which sounded disquietingly familiar.

So it was that I let a cute Russian girl glue electrodes to my head, tape them everywhere else, and install special straps to measure chest activity, leg motion, and blood oxygen levels. And I slept--or tried to--while in this get-up. Oddly enough, it was the *pillow* that made it hard to sleep.

The next morning, Thea was comparing the glue in my hair to the aftermath of a bukake filming, for which she suffered mightily, giggling despite herself. Or maybe BECAUSE of herself. Hard to tell with that gal, some days.

Two weeks later, I had the results. Boy howdy. They showed me the graphs of my breathing, brain activity, pulse, etc. And then they showed me the average number of times I stopped breathing in my sleep, per hour.


Every 45 seconds, as I relax into sleep, my windpipe closes up, and my brain has to jolt me "awake" enough that I open up my windpipe again and resume breathing. Then I try to relax again, and get zapped once more. Relax--ZAP. Over and over. Based on that, it's a wonder that I've ever had a good night's sleep.


Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Well, the proof is in the sleeping, and for the time being I have become partly cybernetic, wearing a soft silicone mask over my nose while a CPAP machine maintains air pressure--not so much that it's uncomfortable, but enough that the windpipe never closes off. Your lungs get a workout the first few nights, and then you hardly notice it, beyond the fact that you have a mask strapped to your face, and its tendency to make you make weird noises now and then. More on that later as experiments permit.

But LO: I can wake up and not feel like I've been buried under warm Silly Putty. I can wake up without threatening all annoyances with endless suffering. I can deal with issues without feeling overwhelmed. Most importantly, I can decide NOT TO TAKE CRAP FROM ANYONE. It's not perfect yet, but it's been utterly amazing how much easier it has been to NOT act like a total emotional mess, just in the past week since I started using the CPAP machine.

And maybe it's just all the oxygen I'm suddenly breathing, but it seems like I'm bobbing lazily in a warm, clear ocean of slack, IN COMPARISON.

It makes me wonder if I should rewrite that "Misanthropes Anonymous" bit I wrote almost a decade ago.

...NAH. Humans still suck.

(Slightly edited version of my alt.slack post on September 20.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Never Enough Blunt Talk Department

DemFromCT got it right on the DailyKOS front page. We're not dealing with terrorists that are easily demoralized with a single show of force. Indeed, our own failures to live up to our own promises of swift victory are more inspiring to them than any extremist rhetoric. We said that we'd have Iraq "liberated" quickly, only to find ourselves having to dig in. We said we'd make Iraq into a model for the entire Middle East, only to make it the worst possible example. WE did this, not terrorists or insurgents. Our elected officials--who we elected, as a nation, no matter who you individually voted for in 2000 onwards--make pie-in-the-sky claims without any backing in reality, and we act surprised and disgusted at how it turned out. WE as a nation are to blame for enabling extremists to call us on our own bullshit. We say it'd only take a couple years; they say that they'll make it last a decade. We admit it'll take a decade, and they say they'll make it last half a century. And on it goes. Why not? The very people inspired to fight us in Iraq are generally impoverished with bleak prospects and a future rife with oppression and brutality, in part because of our enabling their leaders in the name of "realpolitik"--itself as much a conceit as any neocon pipe dream. They have nothing to lose, but we do.

Cut and run? Sure--cut our losses and run for office.

Never Enough Absorbent Meditations Department

This morning on the bus I saw a man read a book with this chapter title: "The First Meditative Absorbtion". He was highly distracted, looking around any time anyone so much as adjusted their buttocks on the seat. I guess he needs it. I get into trouble when I do that at home, mainly because others are usually talking at the time. I can't help it if I'm a natural for First Meditative Absorptions, especially first thing in the morning while in the bathroom. I do find, however, if I do it at work, people don't seem to mind so much.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Never Enough Resurrections Department

And you thought I was gone forever, no?

No--just a huge chunk of my data, and my ever being able to trust any web hosting company willing to let WebHostPlus buy them out.

On the other hand, I have been starting to produce audio again. I'm almost tempted to start a podcast, but not quite. As is, later on I should be posting links to various new works. Or, check out http://myspace.com/foolspress for some fast relief.

Pardon the mess, BTW.