Friday, April 26, 2013

Two And A Half Hours Sleep

Things I learned after ten hours in a sleep center and two and a half hours sleep:
  • I shouldn’t have taken a two hour nap before my sleep study.
  • An infrared camera watching me in bed is weird.
  • Don’t drink a lot of water after eight – it’s not easy to use the bathroom with twenty-two wires hanging off your head and body.
  • Now I know what R2D2 felt like.
  • As long as I was wired for 220, the least they could have done was connect me to a box fan, too.  All that terrible quiet kept me from sleeping.
  • I should have brought every pillow I own – the two they provided were on loan from Sheriff Joe’s tent city.
  • I wish I’d bought pretty pajamas to wear—something with vertical lines to coordinate with my electronic hair accessories.
  • When they say you can bring snacks, they don't mean chocolate covered espresso beans.
  • You can’t pick your nose with wires taped to your hand.
  • You don’t do a lot of sleeping in a sleep study.
  • Sleep technicians are nocturnal.
  • The minute you finally fall asleep, they wake you up because you’re not doing it right.
  • At the end of a long, sleepless night, there’s no place like home.
  • They don’t feed you breakfast in the morning.
  • You can’t keep the wires as a souvenir—or the cpap machine.
  • You have to follow up with your doctor cuz the sleep techs won't give you any results—or a balloon, either.
  • I want a cpap machine for my birthday.
  • It’s worth going through a sleep analysis to find out there’s hope I’ll sleep well—and quietly—someday.
  • I should have done this ten years ago like my husband wanted me to.
  • My husband is still the most patient man on earth, even though his hearing is shot.
Never mind.  I’ll send him a note.

With thanks to Dave Stokes for the use of the artistic photo which can also be viewed at

Monday, April 22, 2013

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I have my own room tonight. With my own tv. And my own bathroom. All for the low low price of a thirty dollar co-pay.  Soon a perfect stranger will come wire me for sound, tell me to sleep well, and then wake me up at three a.m. when that doesn’t happen.
It’s time to come clean and tell the truth—I.Snore. And I might apnea. We’ll find out tomorrow.
This is not news to my husband. Or my in-laws, or my sister or a couple of sister/friends. Nor is it news to my partner in crime, Thelma, who told me on our drive to Florida last summer that she was impressed by my imitation of a freight train in the room we shared overnight. Then she curled up in the passenger seat of my truck and fell asleep for two hours.

Show off.
What I can’t figure out is how anyone who has ever been subjected to my late night sawtooth serenades has survived the concerts with their own health intact. I mean, doesn’t it seem like some kind of crime against humanity that I have subjected so many innocent souls to decibel levels usually reserved for airport traffic?
So I finally hit the wall of my own fatigue, yelled down the Jericho walls of fear so they’d get out of my way, and asked my doctor for a sleep study appointment.  Jeez.  I thought he could take a joke, but he took me seriously. 

I think he’s been talking to Thelma.
Now here I sit in my pajamas waiting to be outfitted with enough wires to light up that fake Christmas tree I always put in our front window.  And don’t worry – I’m taking a photo of myself for posterity.  You’re not gonna see it, but I’m saving it for . . . something.
So good night, dear winepress follower.  I’ll let you know if I win the snoring contest that will take place in room 8.  And if I’m very very lucky, it’ll be the last time I bring the house down with a performance like that.
You’re welcome.

With thanks to for the use of the sweet sleeping baby photo. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The One And Only You

“Before doubt and accusation take hold, most little girls sense that they have a vital role to play; they want to believe there is something in them that is needed and needed desperately.”
Staci Eldredge in her book, “Captivating”, said that women "have an irreplaceable role to play in a great adventure.” That's not a message I've heard much from the pulpit. I’ve sometimes left church sanctuaries feeling like I was replaceable. Just another foot soldier. If I died in the mud on the battlefield, another would run over my lifeless body and take my place.
The world today is pretty much made of replaceables. It’s cheaper to replace most televisions than repair them. You can add toasters and curling irons and cell phones to that list.  They all come with “guarantees” and “warranties” and addresses where I can ship my clock radio off for repairs if it stops working. But the shipping costs usually exceed the purchase price and an eight week turnaround wields a death shot to that option, so into the trash it goes while I go buy a “replacement.”
Is that why they call us the “throwaway generation”?  During the Depression people lived by the motto, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” There was a stockpile of wood and metal eight feet high in my grandparents’ back yard for years. If I’d moved into their place, that whole pile of junk would have been gone within twenty-four hours. If I need wood, I buy it. If I need metal, I ask Rob to buy it. I don’t re-use anything but plastic grocery bags, and still I'd rather throw them out and go get replacements.
We’ve got so much throwaway stuff in our culture, we’re drowning in it. We reward volunteers for picking it up from the sides of the road. But while everyone’s worried about reducing waste in landfills and saving the planet for our grandchildren, here’s a news flash: the planet will outlast us. It’s been here so long no one can agree on how old it is.

Nobody’s throwing it away.
What I think has been thrown away is this truth – you are irreplaceable. You matter. Your life is significant, and it is significant and irreplaceable to Jesus.

“I’m on your side,” God said in Ezekiel 36:9. 

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 asks.

And if you collapse in the mud?

“Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.” (Ps. 37:24)
You are important.  You're not an account number. Not a social security number. Neither a demographic nor a throwaway. You are the one and only you.
You are significant. Irreplaceable. You are loved by the Lover of your soul. You matter.
Anything less is a lie. Throw it out with the trash.

With thanks to for this amazing photo.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Well Played, Nicole Kidman

I was attacked by a crazed dermatologist last week.
Hard to picture, huh?
Somebody told me once if you want to go into medicine, you should go into dermatology, because you’ll always have nights and weekends free. “You never hear of dermatological emergencies,” she said.
Oh, yeah? Ever sat in a waiting room full of eighty-somethings with cute little age spots, and drop your jaw when they leave their appointment with five-inch gauze taped across their face? I think every single one of them head straight for the emergency room after their annual skin checks.
Dermatologists are scary. 
I don’t know why this one had it in for me. True, she wasn’t my doctor, but that was their office’s mistake, not mine. All I did was show up for an appointment.  But when I left, my arms and hands were so blistered they looked like bubble wrap. And I paid her to do that to me. Now I know how branded cattle feel.
“Did you know,” she said in her best imitation of Hanoi Hilton’s concierge, “that liquid nitrogen is 310 degrees below zero?” 
“Wow,” I thought to myself.  “You must be a lot of fun at cocktail parties.”
I’ve been seeing skin specialists for eight long years, ever since they found out freckled skin fries. I already knew that. I was the insecure teenager who applied baby oil because my best friend said it would give me a tan. Nope. It gave me second degree burns.
What’s so great about a tan anyway?  Nicole Kidman doesn’t have a tan. She doesn’t even have pigment, but every time she shows up on a red carpet they run out of words to describe how beautiful she is.
Maybe I was born in the wrong century. It used to be that pale, porcelain skin was a sign of wealth. Wearing a tan meant you had no fashion sense and had to work for a living, while sporting a pasty complexion was a sign you could afford to look anemic.
Those were the days.  I bet they couldn’t even spell dermatologist back then.
I know it’s too late for me. I’ll never have porcelain skin again—this Irish complexion is too speckled. And now it’s red polka dotted, too. If only I’d known how healthy it is to look unhealthy. I’d have never opened that bottle of baby oil.
At least Nicole Kidman got the memo. Well played, Nicole, well played.
Pale is the new tan.