I have been dreaming regularly since mid-January, nightmares. The cause is my sleep apnea machine. I got it in December, but two days before I flew east to my son’s for Christmas. I did not take it with me. I delayed getting back for nine days to visit an ill friend in Michigan and help out. On January 11, I took the class on how to use the machine.
My initial “mask” was the “nasal pillow” one. I go to sleep by slowing my breathing and using the Zen Buddhist and Jon Kabat Zinn’s body scan to relax. However, if I slow my breathing, the CPAP will start to blow pressure when my breath out drops below a certain volume. Then I was breathing against pressure and it woke me up. Also I would sometimes open my mouth, which lets the air out and the machine instantly increases pressure and is much noisier.
I got another mask within ten days. This is a face mask. It did not have one strap around the head, but four. The hose is attached to the top of the head. The main pressure point is where the four straps meet right at the back of the skull.
The dreams started. Nightmares every single night. About being trapped and trying to escape. An octopus grabbing me by the skull. One dream about trying to rescue a man from a building that was under attack or going to blow up and he kept saying, “But I’m not READY. I have to PACK.” I’m arguing, “You can get more stuff! We have to go! We’ll get killed if we stay! Come on, I am here to rescue you.” He keeps looking for his stuff because he can’t believe that a 5 foot 4 female could actually be a heroine and there to rescue me. Dumb male. I wake up and laugh. Even men in my dreams have little respect for me. That is a pretty sad illustration of my lifetime experience with the other gender.
Anyhow, to have the insurance pay for the stupid sleep apnea machine, I needed 21 out of 30 days with more than 4 hours on the machine. And I have to do this within 3 months of getting the machine. I got it in December, remember? So I was motivated and hella grumpy with it. At least twice a night I would wake up from a nightmare and rip the darn thing off my head. The cats do not like it when it hisses.
I took to using it during naps too. Since I was NOT sleeping well on it, I was sleeping longer. Nine or ten hours a night, at least three or four OFF the machine. Pretty pathetic.
Last week I had my visit where I am blessed and the insurance will now pay for the machine. I begged a little to talk to the mask guy. They said no at first and then yes. He gave me another octopus headdress. This one also goes around the back of the skull, but the hose is hanging from the front. That means the weight is more in front.
It still took three or four days before I got to four hours on the new one. It works better and I am not dreaming about escape rooms twice a night. Phew!
The interview to have the machine paid for was pretty amusing. The insurance wants me to say I am sleeping better to qualify for the machine. I answered that I was sleeping longer. There are a bunch of questions. Mostly I could be positive except for the “are you waking up less?” “No, more.” “More? Why?” “Because the octopus has me by the head or I am dreaming I am trapped.” I had the nurse laughing at my answers, but I still qualified.
Anyhow, if I can invent a different mask that doesn’t feel like an octopus, I could probably be a gadzillionaire. I think I will look at some bondage stores, seems like they have various masks that could be adapted. Then they could do double duty and I will be a double gadzillionaire!
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: dreams.
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