It seemed like an ordinary hotel room. It was small and simple, adorned with the basics—a bed with crisp white linens, dresser, TV. I lay in the unfamiliar bed, my struggle to sleep complicated by the series of wires that were attached to various parts of my body and connected to a machine that would monitor my vitals. I couldn't help but notice the faint glow of the video camera mounted to the ceiling of the room, an unsettling reminder that somebody would be watching my every nocturnal movement. As the clock slowly ticked, I knew that I was very far away from sleep.
I was doing this as a last ditch attempt to save my marriage. Okay, that may be a bit drastic. But I need to find a solution to my problem for myself and the woman who shares my bed...most of the time.
You see, I snore.
Loudly. Obnoxiously. Incessantly.
I awaken every morning groggy, confused. I feel heavy, as if a wet blanket is holding me down. I always look next to me to see if my wife is still sleeping, or if my sonic bellowing has chased her from the bedroom to the couch. Those mornings leave me feeling guilty and helpless. WonderWife™ seems to take this all in stride, but often says that if we had the means, we would have separate bedrooms. This, along with the fact that I am prone to wake myself up with my snoring, bothers me to my core. Her attitude is great, but I’m secretly afraid that another 10 years of her being constantly chased out of her bedroom will start to cause untold damage on our relationship.
This is why long after the sun went down one night, I drove to a medical building in order to be hooked up to medical equipment machinery and sleep in a foreign room while being watched all night. The sleep study will show if I have sleep apnea—a potentially dangerous condition where one stops breathing periodically during sleep. I'm not a medically trained professional, but I'm confident that not being able to breathe rates pretty high on the list of things that are bad for you.
If I have apnea there are a few treatments available—none of them pleasant. They include wearing some sort of oxygen mask every night or a surgery where they would slice my soft palate and remove a part of my uvula, which not only has the distinction of being incredibly painful but has only a 50-50 chance of working. If I don’t have apnea, these options are still available to me, but not covered by insurance, meaning it would probably be cheaper for me to buy that extra bedroom for my house than it would to pay for any treatments out of pocket.
The sleep study is a last ditch attempt to find a snoring solution. Not to be too glass is half empty, but I’m confident that I don’t have apnea. A sleep study years ago showed that I didn’t have apnea. I don't think much has changed.
I slept fitfully through that night and woke up groggy and confused as usual when the technician rousted me at 5am to remove the wires from my body. It will be about two weeks before I learn if there’s anything that can be done to give everyone in my house more peaceful sleep. At this point, I’m willing to try just about anything.