So here’s how it went: I told on my husband. I gave away his nighttime secret — to the doctor, no less. There we were, two happy little people sitting in the doctor’s office, following up on some teensy-weensy little medicine change, when I blurted out a statement that shall forever change the way Dan and I conduct our nighttime business.
“I think Dan has apnea,” I said, my throat filling with the pleasure of a do-gooding wife who reads way too information on the internet. But there I was telling on my husband … asking about sleep apnea and if it really can cause sudden death. We don’t do sudden death in our house. It’s not allowed, like drinking from the toilet bowl or licking clean the bottoms of our shoes would be frowned-upon behavior. The thought of tragic rainclouds smudging our still-vibrant loveliness is unthinkable and forbidden. The horror of even a moment’s notion of my beloved’s sudden death is simply not acceptable.
So, I told on him.
I blathered on about his snoring … and how in the midst of the cacophony that sings from his nightly throat, he often becomes quiet and still — and eerily silent — before loudly gasping in a sonorous boom that causes the dogs to shift position and hold their paws over their ears. I told how it happens over and over all night long. And how his sudden, loud, nearly violent, inhalations wake me. How I curve myself to match the shape of his sleeping body, listening to the ebb and flow of his breath. How I wonder how long I should listen to those moments of growing silence before I should drag him feet first off the bed to breathe life back into his suddenly quiet mouth. How I’ve memorized the cadence of CPR counting, should it be needed. Poor Dan. What could he say?
“Nuh huh. No way.”
“Yuh huh. Way.”
So, my desperately shy guy spent last night in a sleep study facility, in his jammies, hooked to wires and probes — without his evening glass of wine, without the familiarity of his home, or the comfort of his own bed, or his habit of falling asleep in the middle of a David Letterman punchline. Nevertheless, he bravely endured “The Study.” This morning he came home with a diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and an order for a full CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that he will need to wear over his mouth and nose every night. Poor Dan.
But me? I’m crowing!
I told on my husband. Yes, our nighttime is soon to be punctuated with the hiss of an air machine. Yes, Dan will forever need to be strapped to a machine whenever he sleeps. Yes, our bedroom will be newly-decorated with the likes of medical equipment, complete with its hoses and buttons and what-nots. Yes, he is mortified. Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Still, I’m contenting myself this morning with the thought that some information gathered from that series of tubes known as The Internets and The Google may have — SAVED. HIS. LIFE.
So, I’ll continue to tell on him like a kid telling on a naughty friend — again and again and again — until we are so old we’ve lost all good sense and the notion of slipping off into the night only wake up dead doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.
In the meantime, take a breath, dear.