Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Head Down, Outta This Town

The consequences of being able to whine to your friends about not sleeping is that that they automatically feel compelled to tell you how well they slept the night before. As if to prove, yet again, that something as intrinsically natural as laying your head upon a squishy surface and falling asleep is just something you should be able to do, something like blinking your eyelids or wriggling your toes. And while I know they mean nothing but the best, it still doesn’t curb that initial rush of hatred that wants to scream out SO WHAT, DO YOU THINK THAT MAKES YOU COOL OR SOMETHING?!?

When in fact it does make them cool. It also makes them less irritable and cranky, seeing as how they had at least six and sometimes nine hours of full recuperative rest. It’s just, imagine you eat lunch at a nice restaurant with one of your girlfriends and you both happen to order the salmon. It’s tasty and delicious and perfectly cooked but about an hour later you’re clutching your stomach as it does it’s eighth double back handspring in a row. Your friend is sympathetic to your cause because, hello, we’ve all been there. But somehow she feels obligated to tell you how perfectly fine her stomach feels, how she has no idea what could have caused your stomach to revolt against such delicious salmon and did you do something to piss off the chef?

And as far as I know I did nothing to piss off the Sleep Gods. I lay down at an acceptable hour every single night, usually eschewing an evening of festivities so I can recline on my pristine white sheets. I don’t watch late-night television, I dim the lights in my apartment to simulate evening hours and I don’t stay on the computer trolling dating sites until the wee hours of the morn. I rarely drink caffeine after 3pm. In short, I have a bedtime routine, the kind that all the sleep literature recommends. And still I lay awake, night after night, begging the Sleeping Gods to reward my good behavior and send me an all expense paid vacation to La La Land.

Once I realized a couple of months ago that this whole not sleeping thing wasn’t normal, not by any stretch of the imagination, I decided to go to my doctor. That visit didn’t go well, especially after he not-so-subtly intimated that perhaps my not sleeping was directly proportional to me wanting to take a razor to my wrists. I had to inform him that sleeplessness is not always related to depression, which is not always related to wanting to kill yourself. And if anyone in that small doctor’s room was in danger of losing their life, it was most definitely not me.

This morning I bypassed my regular doctor for one who specializes in folks who just want to get some shuteye. Inside his office on the fifth floor I spent over an hour chatting with him about family medical history (we die of everything, but we hang around for a really long time) and my jobs and my hobbies and as we wrapped up the hobby section, he told me that before we go any further, he’d like to confirm some of his preliminary thoughts.

“Your nose lists to the right a bit. I’d say you have a deviated septum. And your mouth is quite small, I bet you hate getting X-rays at the dentist.”

At first I was kind of insulted, like, who the hell are you to talk about my nose listing to the right? My nose is lovely, thank you. The only people who talk about deviated septums are overly indulged rich girls who think they can get their insurance to pay for shaving three inches off the tip and filing down the bump. But then he took out a mirror and said, see, look here, and pointed to the right side. And you know, I had to agree with him. Then he took out his little black instrument with the light on the end and shoved it up my nostril, proclaiming that he was indeed correct and the septum was actually touching the bone on the opposite side.

I had a little moment of panic because of all the surgery shows I watch, the only thing I can’t watch are the nose jobs. Noses are so delicate and fragile and while I agree that some of the people come out looking much better, seeing that poor defenseless bone get hammered into submission is almost too much for me to bear.

I told the doctor of my nose-job fear and he agreed that my nose was quite nice (my nose-pride was instantly restored, thank god) and said surgery was the least of our worries right now. His worry was getting me into the sleep clinic to see what a night hooked up to wires and a video camera could tell him.

And then he said he noticed that at the end of the questionnaire I’d filled out, the fifteen pages of yes and no and how frequently and fill in the blank questions, I’d answered the last bit with “If you make me sleep I will give you a cookie.” And then he told me he was quite fond of oatmeal raisin.


Carl from L.A. said...

Would you feel better if I tell you the only reason I have no trouble falling asleep is that I get about four hours of sleep a night? That and my alarm clock is set at 3:15 a.m.?

duckie said...

I've always wanted to mention i thought your nose lists to the right a bit, but i wasn't sure how you would take it.

Sounds like you've found the right guy for the job. And he likes cookies. Do you think he will take the cookie in lieu of payment?

birdie said...

carl: so, you know 3:15 is technically like the MIDDLE OF THE GODAMN NIGHT, right? ohmigod, I'm scared for you if you have reason to get up that early.
duckie: i don't think he takes cookies but maybe he takes COOKIES. And by that I mean nothing. Because he's old.

Carl from L.A. said...

I get up that early to work out (teach my 5:45 a.m. class)

lilylala said...

sleep, sleeeeeeeppppppp.
i know use my powers to make you sleep. didnt work? ummmm, must be something wrong with my wand. you know i wish i could help, but as i am no expert in the power of sleep you are left waking and maybe hearing my snore throught he ever so thin floors in our apartment.

Cindy-Lou said...

I can make you sleep. My plan involves a bottle of Patron, some Valium, and a few hours with Rico.

Jason said...

I thought depression was supposed to make you sleep more...

(I just realized you don't need an account to comment.)