stream of semi-consciousness

today was one of those days I was happy to live but a stone’s throw from Princeton.  Cold, but not too cold, with late afternoon shadows and the building’s gothic nature shining through.  A brisk walk through campus  invigorates and inspires..if you ignore the random crushed coors light cans…

I think of all the people, famous and otherwise, that have traipsed across the same pathways I walked today.  Jimmy Stewart sticks in my mind for some reason…probably because I watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington on TCM while making dinner.  There’s even a small theater on the outskirts of the campus named after him.  The old section of the campus is quite beautiful.  The newer sections, especially down Washington Ave, are little more than your typical brick-modern college buildings.  The older ones in the center of town can be breathtaking.

Speaking of movies, I think I need to turn in my Man Badge as TCM showed Wizard of Oz right after Mr. Smith and i started crying as Dorothy said goodbye to the scarecrow, tin man and lion.  don’t know what that’s all about. the cowardly lion really has the funniest lines in the film, next to Frank Morgan, whose double-takes always make me laugh.

And now for something truly frightening.  I told my MD that i was having trouble sleeping, mostly due to RLS aggravated by meds these guys keep prescribing.  Still, he wanted me to have a sleep study done in order to make sure I wasn’t suffering from sleep apnea (which I knew i wasn’t).  So I went along just for shits and giggles.  If you are a morning person, the whole process won’t be that big a deal. If, however – like me, you are a night person, this will rock your sleep cycle big time.

So i get to the medical arts building at the designated time (8pm), do the paperwork dance and am led back into what look like a series of examination rooms.  Except the back room is set up like a better than average hotel room.  Double bed, flat screen TV on the wall, free-standing sink with ornate fixtures.  I started looking to the menu book to call up room service.  Anyway, lights out is around 10…the time i usually get my second wind.  I slept on and off.  The big pain is going to the bathroom as the facilities are in the hallway and the tech has to come unhook a few wires to allow me to leave the bed un-tethered.

Getting tethered in the first place is a treat. It takes about 45 minutes to hook up all the electrodes, mics, probes and this awful gel stuff that gets gloppedglopped in my hair to keep the contacts secure on my head.  This is after the tech plays tic-tac-toe on my scalp to mark the correct locales for the electric gizmos.  When all is said and done, including double body belts to hold the wires in place, the results are thus…

OK.  Got to sleep.  I dare you.  In my hands lays a blue plastic box that is a holdover from the AT&T land-line switch station days.  This item stays next to my head while sleeping, so if I turn in the opposite direction from the box, it conveniently slides across the pillow and cracks me in the skull.  Perfect sleeping conditions.

It’s tough to see but there is a wire wrapped around my head with a little sensor right under my nose.  Woohoo…that was comfy.  What you cannot see at all are the half-dozen additional sensors epoxied to my bald spot that I spoke about previously.

And after a wonderfully restful night of skull cracking and self-garroting, I am awoken by a disembodied voice that seems to come from the lamp on the bedside table.  It’s the Nurse Ratched wake-up call at the thoughtful hour of 5 am.  I believe the speaker is hidden so those of us who would rather have white-hot irons shoved up our ass than wake up at 5 am won’t rip the speaker out of the wall and set it on fire.

The results?  No sleep apnea.  My doctor’s recommendation for the RLS and waking up a couple of times a night?  Lose some weight.  I think that is the default MD direction they give to patients when they don’t have a fucking clue what the real answer is.  “Gee, Mr. Jones, your right foot seems to be disintegrating in quarter-sized hunks.  I’d like to see you shed a few pounds.”

Yeah?  Shed this…



Filed under health care, humor, Medical, movies, photos, seasons

5 responses to “stream of semi-consciousness

  1. princeton really is a gorgeous campus. thanks for sharing those shots.

    the sleep study sounds like it borders on the kind of sleep deprivation the geneva convention prohibits from being exacted upon prisoners. i say find the doctor and bonk him in the skull with the box and string him up with the wires.

  2. Did you ask the MD if he had ever done a sleep study? Oh my goodness you had me cracking up once again. Thanks. I really needed the laugh. Since I get the joy of awakening at 5:30 a.m. three days a week I found your description of your wake up call particularly hilarious.

    I was born in NJ and lived in Freehold until I was 10 but never visited Princeton. My memories of NJ consist of going down the shore every summer and our huge backyard.

    Have a good week Coop!

  3. You got cheated. They did not give you the waterboard.

    You know how it is fixing a software problem: from the observed symptoms, make a hypothesis about the cause and go with it until it is disproved. I hate to tell you, but medicine works similarly. In my brother’s case, they fixated on diabetes because his blood glucose level was a little higher than “normal.”


  4. Good grief…sleep deprivation torture at it’s best. I’m horrible when I don’t get to go to sleep exactly when I want to. As for the shedding a few pounds, I dare say taking the whole contraption off after the sleep study managed that for you so you should be better now!

  5. Wow. What a tale. I’ve got a cure for you. Wine. I drink one glass every night before bed, sleep like a baby. 🙂

    Love the pictures. What a cool looking place.

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