Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Sleep Apnea and Feeling LIke Darth Vader...

I get to be fitted for a CPAP device, YAY! As if I didn't already feel unattractive enough. It seems that I have "obstructive sleep apnea." What this means in a nutshell is that when I am asleep, the muscles in my jaw and throat relax so much that my airway becomes blocked. Since blocking my airway keeps me from breathing, my sleep is interrupted. This happens several times a night. The result is a sleepy, cranky woman who is not functioning at full potential. What's even better is that I apparently am waking up in the middle of REM sleep. Know why that's even better? Because apparently, when you are in REM sleep, you are dreaming. Your body's way of ensuring that you don't kick or punch the daylights out of your partner while sleeping is to put your body in a state of paralysis. As you come out of REM sleep into some of the lighter phases of sleep, this paralysis is lifted. But if, like I do, you wake up smack in the middle of REM sleep, you can be fully conscious, yet unable to move or even open your eyes.

I have found myself in this condition on about six occassions. It is REALLY freaky let me tell you, and one of the most frightening experiences I have ever had. So, even though I had previously decided NOT to get the CPAP device, due to concerns with keeping my husband awake, it keeping me awake, the lack of sex appeal ("Oh honey, no offense but looking at that puts me SOOO NOT in the mood.")the lack of comfort it will probably provide, dried nasal passages, etc, I have been scared into being willing to try it. Suffocating while being fully conscious has a way of doing that for you.

I commented about it on facebook and my brother-in-law made a rather funny crack about getting a CPAP that made me sound like Darth Vader. After wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing, I got to thinking about it. Why not? Why shouldn't I have some fun with this? I think I WILL see if I can somehow get one that sounds like Darth Vader. Maybe I could even dress as Darth Vader before bed and play the Imperial March as I enter the bedroom. If I have to be stuck with this stupid crap, I may as well get a laugh.

But I will have to make some preparations. If one of my children gets up in the middle of the night and comes to my room, I don't want the little tykes to be frightened. That will not do. So perhaps we can address this like we are having a costumed slumber party. Maybe ALL of us will have to wear costumes to bed. That way, when they come down the stairs and approach my bed they will be prepared, somewhere deep down in their sleepy little psyches, for the image of their mother hooked up to the "Darth Vader-like" breathing apparatus.

If I could lose the stupid weight it is possible that I would stop having sleep apnea and this problem would go away. I am trying to gear myself up to go back to Weight Watchers and perhaps finally get serious about losing weight. Up to now I have been unable to be disciplined enough to lose the weight I need to lose - almost 100 lbs for your information - I know intellectually all the reasons I SHOULD care, all the reasons I NEED TO care, but really just don't ACTUALLY care enough to get it done. So the question I pose to you is this: if you are an undisciplined person, how do you develop discipline?

Here are my reasons I SHOULD care:

1.) Being overweight sets a really bad example for my children and the choices they need to make to be healthy individuals. I mean, you can blather on all you like about how important healthy choices are, but if you don't actually MAKE healthy choices, your children will eventually decide you are full of shit. I mean, if all that stuff is REALLY important, they will reason, then why aren't you doing it yourself?

2.) None of the really cool clothes fit me. Although we have come a long way, most fashion designers that I can afford still seem to think that purple mumus are what I really want to wear. The best thing I have found recently are some jeans that were on sale because Steve & Barry's went out of business. I got 5 pairs of jeans for $10. That's $2/pair. These jeans are from Sarah Jessica Parker's line, "Bitten." They are supposed to be high fashion for the middle class I guess. They fit ok except for one thing: they are low-cut...hip huggers I guess you would call them. That would be fine except that they come with a custom installed plumber's butt. Maybe on the sexy models that sold them that is cute, maybe even a tad sexy with the thong peeking out (do guys really like that sort of thing?), but on me it just looks gross. So I now wear a belt all the time, to prevent the whole butt cleavage thing that I think is oh so disgusting.

3.) I can't relate to anyone on television. I mean, when I want to see someone that looks like me that isn't on a Jerry Springer episode I have to tune in to programs like, "The Biggest Loser." Boy, that will really give the ole self esteem a boost. I've only seen part of a couple of episodes of this show, but please shoot me in the head if I ever tell you I am considering being a contestant. Don't get me wrong. Kudos to the contestants that are on the show for realizing that they needed to lose weight and that they needed help to do it. That is a huge step (pun definitely NOT intended). But the ratings whores that are the networks do everything possible to go to the extreme. They force the contestants to wear the most unflattering, bulge emphasizing, clingy materials possible when they select wardrobe. They show each person competing in their most obnoxious, indulgent persona possible before they actually begin the weight loss journey. They also force these poor souls on National television to cry, sweat, and stand on a scale to show the world just how big they have become. How horrifying must that be? I mean, when I go to Weight Watchers it is considered truly awful if one of the people weighing you in says your weight out loud so others can hear it. They get spoken to about that kind of insensitive behavior. But these people have to stand on a scale in front of America wearing the most horrible fat revealing clothing possible.

4.) I feel like a hypocrite when watching programs about the grossly obese. I am amazed, horrified and disgusted that a person could let themselves get that big. Aside from the outright lack of self-discipline and self-respect these people have, WHO THE HELL LIVES WITH THEM? I'm sorry, but if my husband was hitting the 400lb mark (or even a lot sooner truth be told) I would outright REFUSE to buy him any food but salads, carrot sticks, and chicken breasts. When you cannot get yourself off the floor and on the couch again, you need to deal with your problem. And I am heading in that direction. Someone help me stop. Hold me accountable for my health and self-respect before its too late.

5.) I'm too tired most of the time to do the things that I like to do. Believe it or not I love to hike, swim, take my dog for walks, canoe, walk and bike. But I am tired ALL the time. Hopefully the Darth Vader mask will help with that, but let's face it folks, I am tired because I am carting around an extra person all the time. I don't have the energy to accomplish what I want to because of the weight. It causes depression, I mean, who wouldn't be depressed having to carry an extra person with them at all times?

As for the reasons I NEED to care? Well, judge for yourself:

1.) I have a poor body image. I feel terrible about the way I look. I won't get into specifics here as I do not wish to publicly humiliate myself any more than necessary.

2.) My family history contains a recipe for disaster: my father has diabetes, high blood pressure. He has had 2 strokes, a quadruple bypass, and now has limited function of his left side and some impairment of his speech. He's not that old either...only his 60's. My brother was recently diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes. So it's there...waiting in the shadows to pounce upon me. Sure, right now I have low-normal blood pressure, good ratios of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, no sign of diabetes...but that all could be changing if I don't do something. Soon.

3.) I have children who need me. Whether I want to be here or not, it doesn't matter. I created these beings called my children and they need their mother. I may not be perfect, in fact far from it, but my children need their mother. If I don't take care of myself it is entirely possible that I may not be here for them when they need me. I almost wasn't last summer. That should have shaken me up enough to do something. It should have, but it didn't. I often wonder what it will take.

So why don't I ACTUALLY care? Why can't I get myself to commit to taking off this weight, to working the program and changing my lifestyle? I know it isn't about dieting. I know deep down that I will never stick to a diet...that just isn't my m.o. I need to feel that I am not being deprived. The weight loss has to be a result of a choice. I know that I need to choose to be healthy, but I can't seem to make myself do it. Why is that?

Until I can answer this question, I guess I will just don my Darth Vader mask and meditate on how to use the force to my own purposes.

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