Of Course You’re Not Sleepy, You’re on Candid Camera

barry currin, beaverdamusa.comA couple of days ago, a friend of mine told me about a sleep study he recently underwent. As he told the story, I was fascinated — not so much by the science involved, but by his fortitude.

In case you don’t know, this study helps diagnose sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. As he explained how it worked, I realized quickly I could never take part in one — hence my fascination with those who can.

Apparently, they put you in this little room with a bed and start taping dozens of electrodes to your head, torso, legs, and whatever is left. After they turn you into Frankenstein’s monster, you hit the hay and try not to pay attention to the camera which is focused on you and attached to a monitor in another room where some diabolical scientist watches you all night.

Interestingly enough, this is the same person you will wave to if you need to get up during the study. You have to do that because they have to unhook you from the machines to allow you to go to the bathroom. It’s like “Candid Camera” except you’re in your PJs and it’s the middle of the night.

Here’s the kicker: the study lasts for two nights. The first night, they diagnose you. On the second night, they do it all over again except this time they fit you with a CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It’s basically an oxygen mask which maintains your oxygen level while you sleep.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s wonderful, and I admire people with the gumption to do it. My friend raved about the results he got from it.

I can just imagine myself trying it, though.

First off, the rescue squad would have to be called to untangle me from the wires after about 10 minutes of tossing and turning. Have you ever seen those big rotisseries in the grocery store where they cook chickens? That would be me rolling around and wrapping the cords hopelessly around myself like a mummy.

Then there’s that camera. Oh, yes, I’m getting sleepy just thinking about that.

I wonder how long they would fool with me before they told me I was hopeless? Who knows, they might keep me around just to see how long I would stay awake, the way a cat keeps a mouse alive.

I could make friends with the staff, read all their magazines, go pick up their dry cleaning, dinner, then breakfast, lunch the next day. We would celebrate a holiday or two, maybe. If I stayed around long enough, I might break the world record for not going to sleep. Then we could all get our picture in the paper. The record is 11 days and 24 minutes, by the way, set in 1964 by someone named Randy Gardner.

I wonder if he was trying to take part in a sleep study?

I have always been amazed at the places people manage to sleep. I get passed on the interstate by cars where the passenger is out cold, mouth hanging open, drool dripping down their chin. I love to watch people who fall asleep on an airplane while we’re still at the gate. Are you kidding me? We are about to defy gravity in a 87 ton hunk of metal at 600 mph, and you’re in la-la land?

I would make a terrible homeless person for many reasons, one of which is I could never sleep on a park bench in the middle of the day covered up with the sports section.

So my hat is off to all of you people who have undergone a sleep study. Pleasant dreams. Meanwhile, Randy Gardner and I will probably be awake.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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