Sleep Study

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Hole In The Night.

They erroneously refer to it as a “Sleep Study” test. Why erroneously…because during the test, sleep is last thing achieved. This is the test given to people suffering from sleep disorders such as apnea.

The test is conducted in a controlled environment. In my case, the location was our local hospital.  As instructed, I checked into the facility at 7:00 pm and taken up to the 3rd floor Sleep Study Lab.  My technician, Jennifer gave me a pile of forms to complete and said she would return in a few minutes to “Get me ready.”

One of the forms contained 30 questions about my normal sleep habits and my frame of mind after a full night of sleep. The problem with these questions is that I rarely, if ever, get a full night of sleep…hence the reason I am taking a Sleep Study Test. The questions were…

Do you feel sleepy while listening to a lack-luster sermon in a hot chapel two hours after you have had a big breakfast?

Do you have trouble staying awake while doing a mind-numbing task at work?

Do you get sleepy riding in the back seat of a chauffeur driven up-scale car, on an Autumn evening, snuggled in your favorite sweater, with your loving puppy sleeping on your lap and classical music playing softly in the background while on a trip across Kansas?

WELL SHOOT…..EVEN HEALTHY SLEEPERS WOULD FALL ASLEEP UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES!!!

Jennifer, returned as promised and began to glue 32 electrodes all over my head.  She also rigged me up with a 12 lead EKG set of wires and a microphone taped to my right cheek (face cheek that is). She then told me I could watch TV or read until I was ready to go to bed and sleep.

At home, I sleep with my beloved puppy Zoey at my side, the TV on the History Channel or C-Span, five puffy pillows and my favorite fluffy Blue Blanky…non of which was allowed during the study. The possibility of sleep that night was as likely as Donald Trump needing an Assertiveness Training Course.

At 11:00 pm, I informed Jennifer that I might as well try to go to bed.  She came in, held all the wires in place as I slid beneath the sheets and placed a mask over my mouth and nose for the CPAP machine. If you’ve never seen this contraption, it is the human equivalent of an elephant’s trunk. Jenny informed me that she and two other technicians would be monitoring me all night through the wiring, the microphone and three cameras. Then she turned out the lights and wished me a good night.

At that moment, I wished, with all my might, that a hole in the night would appear and  that I could magically fly through it back to my humble little home and my precious Zoey.

60

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How is it possible,

It is so improbable,

But ultimately unstoppable,

I’m going to be 60.

 

60 is a speed limit, or minutes in an hour.

60 are days in two months or the stories in a tower.

But 60 simply can’t be my age.

 

Who’d have  guessed us Boomers would live so long,

After all we drank and smoked, partied and did bongs.

Our “Use By” date is past due…This Is Just Wrong.

 

My music is Oldies, my Neru Jacket is moldie,

My hands and feet are coldie and I’m due for

A colonoscopy.

You Call That Breakfast?

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 “Hello, Hospital Nutritional Services, do you want to place an order?”

“Yes, this is Beranski in ICU# 3, I would like some breakfast please.”

I had not eaten a thing for two days due to my surgery. I swooned for the commanding strength of a hot cup of black coffee; shear ambrosia.

“Yes, Ms. Beranski, I have your chart up in the computer. When was your surgery?”

“Saturday.”

“Have you moved your bowels yet?”

Even though I was still in the fog of post anesthesia, I found that question a bit off-putting. One would never be asked that at the Russian Tea Room.

“I think so.”

“What would you like to order?”

In my opinion, there are precious few “stand-alone” foods; these have no need of assistance from spices or other provisions to make them perfect. One such food is bacon. What begins as a wilted sliver of pork, dances and cackles in the skillet, becoming  a perky ribbon of gastronomical bliss, and the ideal colleague for eggs.

“I want two scrambled eggs, bacon, well done and a cup of coffee, please.”

“No.”

“What?”

“No, you cannot have that.”

“OK, an English Muffin with strawberry jam, a banana and coffee.”

“No.”

“Alright, French toast, fruit cup and coffee.”

“NO.”

“OK, let’s take another avenue here… how about you tell me what I can have.”

“Cream of Wheat, plain, or Quaker Oats, plain. No coffee, decaf tea only.”

“What about a glass of orange juice?”

“NO.”

“Well, I guess I’ll have a big mess of Quaker Oats with a morphine chaser.”

“We will get that right up to you Ms.Beranski, and thank you for calling Nutritional Services.” (as if, I had a choice of caterers to call.)

Breakfast arrived within the hour. Carrie, a lovely young lady from the kitchen staff, placed the institutional green tray on my bedside table. As she lifted the metal covering from the bowl of Quivering Quaker Oats, a single puff of steam made its escape toward the ceiling.

“Boy, that steam is sure anxious to get of there.”

Carrie laughed, “Yeah, this stuff looks disgusting, but it doesn’t taste as bad as it looks.”

“Thank goodness for that. I will need some utensils.”

“OH, Duh…I’m sorry.” Carrie reached in her pocket and retrieved a napkin with the utensils.

“What is this?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s a ‘Spork’….you know, spoon / fork. We use those with the runny foods. Do you need any help eating?”

“Only if you’re willing to swallow this for me.”

“You’re so funny…no thanks, I had my breakfast already. Bon Appetite.” Carrie chuckled and continued on her rounds.

As the first sprok-full of gruel passed my lips, I was transported back in time to a Dickensoinan workhouse with Oliver Twist. But unlike him, I would not be asking for MORE.

ABOLUTES

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Absolutes

I have concluded that there are actually three things in life that are absolutes.

  1. 1.     Death
  2. 2.     Taxes
  3.  If you are a woman who is checked into the hospital through the emergency room, your legs will not have seen a razor for days. You may well be wearing clean underwear, per Mother’s instructions, but your legs will be as hairy as an Afghan hound…GUARNTEED.

 

The other truth that I discovered about the condition of the American Healthcare system is, no matter what is finally done with Obamacare, nothing can prepare you for hearing a masked surgery room nurse say,

“We are just going to clean and shave your groin with cold orange soap and then stick this wire up your……so we can get good pictures of your heart.”

In the fog and confusion of a heart attack moment, I clearly remember saying to the burly man in scrubs,

“Back Off Mr.  I divorced the last guy that tried that move on me.”

Thankfully, the surgery suite had an ample supply of “Night…Night” wonder drugs and my surgeon was not shy about using them.

The Gatekeeper

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I responded to a cry for help written in the Free-Range Methodist Church Bulletin;

 

“We desperately need more singers in our Chancel Choir. If you are able to carry a tune, and able to attend Wednesday night rehearsals, please schedule a time to audition with Choir Director, Rich.”

 

I had done some singing in high school and was in the glee club in college, so I went to my designated audition. Director Rich ask me to sing Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So La Tea, Do forwards and backwards. He then retrieved a choir robe which had been vacated by Lidia Boomershine at the time of her death.  The robe fit and I only missed four of the seven notes in the Do, Rae Me scale exercise. I was a bit embarrassed by my performance, but Rich assured me that I would be a welcome addition to the Alto section.

 

The first rehearsal that I attended, the Choir Secretary, Hilda Christner assigned me a seat beside her. On my other side sat Florence Aberdine, the oldest choir member at 93. I was clearly the youngest alto as evidenced by the sea of “Blue Hair” surrounding me.

 

If you have never sung in a church choir, let me enlighten you on a few facts. The soprano section is comprised of Divas, who drink warm tea and constantly spray lemon juice mixed with honey in their throats to maintain proper vocal cord hygiene. Tenors are the subservient members in a choir. They will do anything to keep the sopranos happy. They usually have professional careers, such as law, or accounting or banking. Tenors sit directly behind the sopranos so they can respond rapidly to the needs of the Divas.

 

The Bass section of a choir is made up of ‘Class Clowns”, who are carpenters, plumbers and bulldozer drivers. If there is a need for a new Baptismal Font or a new closet for choir robes, the handy work will be that of a Bass. Men in the bass section sit directly behind the Altos, so they can pull practical jokes and make rude body noises during Sunday worship.

 

Altos are the backbone of any choir. They have exceptional organizational skills. Hence, an alto is in charge of attendance records, the music library and maintaining the “Prayer Needs” list. They plan and execute all carry-in functions and make sure the robes are dry cleaned annually. The one thing that Altos and Basses share is a vocal range of only 4 or 5 notes. If a hymn goes above  or below that range, altos just move their mouths to the words. Basses do to, if they can read.

 

For the first few weeks in choir, I honestly tried to behave myself. I followed all of the rules, arrived on time and never fell asleep during a sermon (in my church the choir sits behind the Pastor). But it became increasingly more difficult not to be influenced by the mischief of the Bass section. My personality and sensitivities were more aligned with the antics of the “Bad Boys” than the organization of the overachieving Altos. More than once, Hilda had to reprimand me for my behavior.

 

Finally, one night, while rehearsing for the Christmas Cantata, Hilda reached her breaking point. She turned to me and said,

 

“Do you know what really bothers me about you?”

 

“No.”

 

“Well, I have worked all my life to be a good Christian. I raised my children to be good, God-fearing people. Our Kevin never, ever gave Rufus or me any reason to worry. I have dedicated myself to doing God’s work here on earth. And, in the end, people LIKE YOU, will probably get into heaven, just like me. That should be changed!”

 

“Hilda, I am so sorry you feel that way, but I thought Saint Peter was in charge of the Pearly Gates, not you. As far as your parenting skills go, Kevin may never have caused you any worry, but I dated his son in High School and believe me, if you want to see him in heaven, you need to lower the standards on your entrance exam.

 

Water Polo VS Presidential Campaigning

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Water Polo VS Campaigning

 

I have just now begun to emerge from my “All Olympics…All The Time” stupor, a few days after the Closing Ceremonies. I returned to my regular diet of Cable News Shows. I was absolutely dumb-struck at the similarities between Presidential Campaigning and Men’s Water Polo;

 

Water polo               You can almost drown your opponent without penalty

 

Campaigning           You can throw massive amounts of mud at your opponent w/o penalty

 

Water polo               No one (except possibly the referee) understands the rules

 

Campaigning           There are No Rules (never have been)

 

Water polo               Game lasts too long

 

Campaigning           Game is interminable

 

Water polo               Sort of cute guys, with really dorky hats

 

Campaigning           Sort of cute guys (except Biden) No hats, they were all tossed in the ring

 

Water Polo               Played every four years

 

Campaigning           We wish it was only played every four years!