One of the unheralded benefits of Sleep Apnea is getting to pretend I’m a ‘Top Gun’ fighter pilot each time I crawl into bed. Imagine – the blue-tinted soft-gel mask strapped onto my face with the stylish one-inch wide black elastic bands around my head and neck. Protruding from the mask itself is a grey, flexible plastic tube snaking its way across my chest, disappearing over the side of the bed.
Awestruck, your brain’s natural inclination is to utter the immortal words of Tom Cruise, “Talk to me, Cougar!”
With the lighting just right, you then notice bright orange squishy ear-plugs inexplicably protruding from each ear canal. At this moment, with eyes adjusting to the lighting of my cockpit, the dazzling panoply of colors greeting you evokes an immediate sense of wonderment, as if viewing your first Hawaiian sunset. Or, perhaps, an industrial accident.
On the cluttered nightstand three blue indicator lights draw your attention to the softly humming, shoe-box sized, C-PAP Machine. It must be working as it pushes pressurized air through the flexible tubing, keeping the “snore flap” in the back of my throat from vibrating like a Saturday morning cartoon. The true indicator of success; long gone is the visible bruising from Leigh’s nocturnal prodding, as she implored, “Rollover! You’re snoring! I can’t sleep!”
Also on the nightstand, other signs of an otherwise maturing adult; an alarm clock with very LARGE numbers, two unfinished books, an AARP magazine, an old pair of prescription reading glasses, and a couple of spare earplugs. The table lamp is actually so far away from the edge of the bed, it requires 12 minutes of Yoga stretching and a tricky combination of positions from the Kama Sutra to actually turn it on. You correctly surmise there is not a lot of reading that gets done here.
As humility is not a driving force for any aspiring fighter pilot, the fear of losing flight privileges, however imagined, kept reading glasses from even being considered as optional equipment. Reality crept in, however, the first time I mistook a blue Ambien (for sleeping) pill for a similarly blue Viagra (NOT for sleeping) pill. It was kind of funny. Kind of. Let’s face it, either way it was going to be a great night, but reading glasses have at a minimum given me an illusion of control in that area of my life!
The clash of plaid boxers and vintage tie-dye t-shirt, complete with an iridescent peace sign, doesn’t fit everybody’s idea of a flight suit, but, hey, after all, it is my fantasy. You do take notice, however, of a tan line which you surmise is way too sharp for mid-winter in Central Pennsylvania. While you may not believe tanning is a legitimate adjuvant therapy for either vitamin D deficiency or combatting depression, you think to yourself, “At least he knows he’s too old to tan naked!”
Besides, you don’t have to be a wannabe fighter pilot to know that tan fat looks better than white fat, at any time of year.