“This is a ‘C-PACK’, something you use when you get old to breathe at night.”
I’ll have to admit to interrupting some otherwise very intimate evenings by emitting strong and frightful nocturnal sounds of a man struggling for breath. Some of these snores are reputed to have shaken windows and rattled door handles across the house. I slept right through them, so I can’t testify to the veracity of these scurrilous accusations.
Several years ago though, I found myself increasingly struggling to breathe at night. At times I imagined getting an oxygen tank or an oxygen tent to help me. More and more I found myself tired and depleted throughout the day. I was getting desperate, but didn’t know where to go for help.
Finally, after sleeping by myself for far too long, I went to see an old fraternity brother of mine who was a prominent ENT doctor. He said, you need to get fitted for a CPAP. “What’s that”, I asked. “A breathing machine that forces airways open with continuous positive air pressure”, he said, hence the name. It stops snoring for most people and helps them get enough O2 to sleep and wake up rested. It has the extra benefit of saving lives. A local pro football player died at 41 of sleep apnea; that shit’ll kill ya’.
The first night I got it after going through an overnight sleep test, I was hooked! Hooked I tell you, literally and figuratively. Hooked on the sweet flow of filtered air unimpeded by a deviated septum and big boy tonsils. The doctor said about surgery to correct those things that it had a 50% chance of success and a very high chance for the tissue to reform and the septum to distort again. Forget that.
So now I was hooked to a hose with a nose piece that is not nearly as uncomfortable as it looks, especially when weighted in a cost/benefit analysis. I was off on business and could carry the CPAP with me. It was in the early days of more extensive security checks and of course when my bag went through the X-Ray the TSA agent said, “Do you mind if I open your bag and show my trainee here what this is?” No problem I said.
Quickly the woman opened the zipper and picked up the CPAP from the bottom of the bag. She proudly turned to the young woman beside her and said, “This is a ‘C-PACK’, something you use when you get old to breathe at night.” I gave her a loving glare and said simply, “Thanks.”
So, I was officially old, but I could breathe and could enjoy human company all day and all night. Apnea will kill you and will make you and those around you miserable in the process. So, bite the bullet and get yourself a “C-PACK” if you think you need one, and if you need one you’ll know it by the comments of those who’ve heard you snore.