For the last twelve years, I have been a most patient, supportive and loving wife, enduring my husband’s little quirkiness (like he getting pissed off if I forgot to bold face and underline a document he asked me to encode on the computer, back during the day when he had a staff of one. Now there are six of them, and soon, God permitting, there will be eight or ten of them, but that’s for another post. Or getting rankled like when he misplaced his sole copy of the Rules of Court he instantly bought five copies and stuffed one each in every corner of the house and even asked me to bring one copy to my own clinic. A law book in a medical clinic! How cool is that? Thank God he spared the bathroom. Or how he had to return a magazine he bought because the cover was creased – at the tip)
But among all the other things I had to endure (I know, I know he has a longer list of things he had to endure in me. Amen to that, but I have a blog, he doesn’t), top of the list would be uh oh, those decibels. And I am not talking about the euphonious type.
I am talking about his snoring. Lest I be accused of oral defamation and besmirched reputation by him, yes, I asked his permission when I said I’m going to write the story of his snoring, his obstructive sleep apnea, his sleep disorder (some euphemism there) and how he overcame it.
‘If you think that’s gonna help others similarly situated as I, why not’, he answered.
‘Okay, thanks Sweetie. I’m writing it already, this very minute’
‘Make sure you emphasize I’m not yet within the age range of your patients, ok?’ he added as he eased his way out of the room.
‘You bet I will!’ (Okay, in compliance with his pre-condition, I am emphasizing he is not yet sixty)
Hubby had obstructive sleep apnea. He would snore like an out of sync trombone in a philharmonic orchestra with a refrain from a rural rondalla. Forte. Fortissimo. Ritardando. Sometimes it would take the pitch of cymbals. The tragic part for me was, there were only two volume controls – loud and very loud.
That was why, early into our marriage, the arrangement would be for me to sleep ahead of him.
But this did not always work. Because of his apneic episodes (when he stops breathing temporarily), I would try to stay awake to see the rise and fall of his abdomen (to see if he’s still breathing, of course). Or, he himself would be tossing and turning in bed because he would wake up up to ten times a night. He never had a restful sleep. He would still be sleepy when he got out of bed.
That explains why he would need to rest and cat nap for fifteen minutes on the shoulder of the road when he took long out of town drives for a hearing back when we didn’t have a driver.
His secretaries would complain that he would fall asleep while writing drafts of his briefs on his work table. Once, he fell asleep while talking with a client. No, not because it was pro bono.
“Attorney, wake up, we’re still discussing the case’, the client shook him out of his sleep.
Epic embarrassing moment.
Things took turn for the worse when my mother in law was confined in the hospital for more than a month and was in the ICU for a few weeks. He would stay late nights to look after her and visit. He could not sleep dreading that anticipated midnight or early morning phone call.
I thought, he needed to seek professional help.
Strictly speaking, he should have undergone sleep diagnostic test but because I am a physician, I went clinical – noting his body built, his weight (okay, he’s overweight) , the multiple nocturnal awakenings all point out to obstructive sleep apnea.
He was too busy to take the diagnostic sleep evaluation.
I took it upon myself to coordinate with a respiratory therapist and a pulmonologist and chose for him a model of a CPAP , Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine which is automatic and chose a nasal pillow instead of the more restrictive full facial mask.
True, with the peripherals the machine could set you back six figures (in Philippine pesos) but believe me, it’s so worth it.
He’s not been as grumpy. He has done away with the snoring, the afternoon siesta and by the grace of God, is more productive at work and all the other sorts of work. Wink!
If you think someone you know might be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), ask your doctor about it.
It could save lives. And marriages.
But he’s still as gung ho about bold faced and underlined, properly indented paragraphs. You just can’t win them all.