CPAP to the rescue

Set a timer for 10 minutes and try to write your whole daily post.  Now go back and give yourself 5 more minutes to write about how you felt working under such a tight deadline.

As part of my Search for Health and my Attempt to Be a Responsible Adult, I have been trying to wear my CPAP machine more consistently. I don’t wear it often enough, because the dry mouth, chapped lips, and claustrophobic fighting-against-the-current feeling are, shall we say, less than pleasant. But I’m trying to put those cares aside in favor of the benefits:  it lets David sleep better because he doesn’t have to listen to me snore, it sends more oxygen to my poor  apnea-starved brain, and it apparently helps prevent heart attacks. Those are generally considered to be good things.

We have discovered an unexpected bonus over the last couple of weeks, though: Fu, our nocturnal cat, hates it. Instead of curling up with one of us to sleep – and later jumping into and around the bed in search of food or companionship or whatever the heck she wants at 3 am – she is keeping her distance from the bed. This is huge. We had tried everything to keep her away, and just stumbled upon this unexpectedly. I am thrilled. David is thrilled. Fu is less than thrilled, but I can live with that.

I’m finding ways around the CPAP badness as well: dry mouth rinse and Vaseline on my lips before putting the mask on have been a big help. Constant mask strap readjustment has helped, too. I’ve been able to fall asleep with some conscious relaxation exercises to get past the claustrophobia. It’s getting better – and if we can keep the cat away at night, that will be better still.


It was weird to try to write a post in only 10 minutes. I rushed to pick something to write about; I wasn’t ready to get to pick my own topic! But since it was just telling a story, it went quickly. In fact, I wrote the whole post in only 5 minutes and 40 seconds, though I was sure that I was almost completely out of time. I used that extra time to read over what I’d written, briefly; the entire thing could be completely incoherent, for all I know.

The whole thing reminded me of timing how long it took Quinland to empty the dishwasher. She used to hate that job and dragged her feet whenever she was asked to do it. When she discovered that she could do the whole thing in under 3 minutes, it suddenly became much more bearable. Knowing that I can crank out a post in 10 minutes, however mundane it might be, is definitely a freeing concept.

A one-a, a two-a

manatee's new CPAP
Photo by SpeedyPete312

There was an excellent post from Leo at Zen Habits today called “The Joy of Scarcity.” Part of the post was about reducing clutter.

Just facing the piles of clutter in your home can be overwhelming. In truth, clutter is a mountain of procrastination … putting off decisions and fears and emotional issues and shopping addictions and more. Facing those fears and issues is too much for most of us.

I faced them, and learned that when you deal with these fears and emotions, even a little at a time, it is freeing. You feel clean and spare, not just because you’re burdened with fewer possessions, but because you’re burdened with [less] emotional baggage that you’re hiding in the back of your mind.

Reducing our clutter meant tough choices, it meant a lot of discussion about what we wanted and why we really need things, it meant learning a whole host of new habits.

But it also meant getting rid of things that were weighing us down, that we didn’t need but that were still costing us time and energy and mental cycles. We learned to love a spare-looking room, and the amazing feeling of sitting or lying around in a room that was clean and uncluttered.

Living with fewer possessions can be a pure joy that is unmatched by anything you can buy.

I want that joy. Yet I went on a mini buying spree this week, picking up things for my scrapbook room at IKEA and buying seven books at Goodwill and letting Quinland get a mug shaped like a mummy at Fred Meyer. I tell myself that I had money earmarked for the scrapbook room and I came in under budget; that I looked each book up on the library’s website to see if I could borrow instead of buy (and put back the three the library did have); and, well… that I have no excuse for the mug. It was just really cute and I am a sucker for Cute Things Quinland and I Both Like.

Sigh.  Two steps forward, one step back, I guess!  Awareness is progress.

  • {Clutter} released: A pair of candlesticks (wood with frosted glass bases).
  • {Health Worry / Procrastination} released: I went to the Sleep Clinic at Kaiser and got a new CPAP machine!  The old one has been gathering dust on the floor of my closet for years because the mask would cause a disorienting wind tunnel when my mouth dropped open in my sleep, and I learned (in my sleep) to unhook the tube and throw it across the room.  I would awaken with the very attractive mask still over my nose and the machine humming away, blowing air into the corner.  I am looking forward to discovering that all my cluttering habits and procrastination and lack of exercise are due to sleep apnea and will now magically disappear.  I’ll keep you posted.