A Good Night’s Sleep

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Thursday morning I was sixty miles down the road when I noticed a text from the General. I had stopped to purchase fuel. Simply stated, she was letting me know I had forgotten my BiPAP (Bi-level positive air pressure) machine. I was headed to Brenham, Navasota and subsequently Houston where I had an evening work related event. My plans were to return to the office on Friday morning.


How could I have made that kind of mistake? As a first order of business on Thursday morning, I placed the machine in the protective carrying case and set it inside my closet. There was no possibility that I’d opt to leave home without it. Over the past six-to-seven weeks, I’ve come to regard the BiPAP machine like I would a cherished friend.


It all has to do with managing the sleep apnea that has become the Achilles’ heel to my ability to stay awake throughout the day and sleep restfully during the night. Both are things easily taken for granted, but pose some level of threat to embracing normalcy when there is a level of disconnect. Apparently there are two varieties of sleep apnea. One has to do with an obstructed air passageway and the other the failure on the part of the brain to alert the diaphragm to breathe. Wouldn’t you know it, my brain doesn’t always get it right.


For the past couple of years I have somehow managed to remain mostly functional with three and a half-to-four hours of sleep nightly. In case you’re wondering, that’s not nearly enough. Sleep deprivation is reportedly the catalyst for some other health related issues to begin to develop. At the rate I was going, the fantasy of one day retiring to become a ski instructor in Colorado was beginning to fade as well. Of course, that possibility is also a delusion, but it makes a wonderful fantasy.


Maybe I tempt fate, but somehow the thought of falling while skiing doesn’t sound like a primary risk factor at all. It certainly doesn’t sound as potentially serious as falling in the shower. I didn’t start skiing until I was sixty-one. Consequently, I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do before I am done. Besides that, isn’t it true that you are only as old as you feel? I’m still a kid at heart.


Actually, when I received the message from the General that I had forgotten the BiPap machine, I started to go back home. I won’t call it a lifeline because my condition isn’t life-threatening unless of course, I should accidently die in my sleep. On the other hand, in a perfect world I hope to one-night to do exactly that. I guess it gets back to timing. From my perspective, now is not the right time.


I didn’t go back to retrieve the machine because it would have added an extra 120 miles to my day. Secondly, the timing was wrong. I had appointments to keep. Besides that, having access to the machine is a convenience rather than an absolute necessity.


If you’re still reading, you’re probably shaking your head and thinking I’ve lost it. I really haven’t lost it, but the dependency I felt related to my perceived need for the electronic sleep companion was a little unsettling. I started to address the dependency aspect on Friday morning after experiencing mostly a sleepless night. There is something about waking up at 1:30 a.m. and having difficulty going back to sleep that is unsettling. You can anticipate that you’ll be dog-tired the next day.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown weary with Presidential politics, but fortunately I’ve found an upside in the process. It occurred to me recently that the youngest of the two primary candidates for President is my age. The other is a year older. While I’m getting pressure from the General to retire because it is an age appropriate activity, both primary parties have chosen folks in my peer group to take on the weight of the world. Obviously the thought that old people should retire is simply a myth and should be discounted. After all, when it comes to choosing a President, wouldn’t we want someone who is on top of their game? Obviously age is not a factor for consideration.


In case you’re thinking laws against age discrimination ensure protection for folks my age,  I care to differ. Most employers aren’t going to miss the fact that my hair is silver and I’m wearing a coat and tie to the interview rather than something far less formal. Isn’t the standard response for someone applying for a job at my age one that old people are over-qualified and  wouldn’t be a good fit for employment?  That’s crazy. If you’re old, you are more likely to stay if you need to work. After all, where would you go? Secondly, if you select a millennial there is more of a likelihood that they are simply passing through and are going to want a flexible work schedule, extended time away for the job and any number of other things that become a stretch for employers.


Maybe it’s time for me to encourage the General to get back in the work force? Of course, that’d mean she’d have to give up yoga, three sessions a week with her physical trainer, a woman’s bible study, a trip to weight watchers and a host of other activities that fill her week. I don’t think she’ll go for it, but it is too early for us to begin to fold up our tent and sit one out.


Actually, I wouldn’t want the General back in the work force. For one thing, the stress of the traffic would take years off her life. Secondly, I’ve never known anyone who enjoys retirement as much as she does. Thirdly, she never hesitates to make a quick trip to watch one of the grandkids in a sporting activity or school function. She’s living the dream and building memories in the process.


I’m actually energized by the thought that I am the prime age to be a Presidential contender. Can that really be right? Of course, why give up a job you love for one you’d hate? Consequently, I’m not writing my name of the ballot just yet.


By the way, I slept six hours and forty-six minutes last night. I am good to go.


All My Best!



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