Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tontine Therapy

The trusty old CPAP has its benefits, that is for certain.

A recap:

Among E@L's many deviations is his septum, thanks to his nose's interception of a speeding, suddenly expanding in size and eclipsing the batsmen and the steel pole of the net off which it ricocheted, cricket ball, way back when No1 son was a rising star in the juniors and his own weaknesses in those left-arm round-the-wicket mediums were becoming obvious, slipping to well-bashable slows and he was ignominiously dropped to the 3rds, were no one could bat so it didn't matter that he could no longer bowl (shin splints, rotator cuff). Add precipitous weight gain to that, also thanks to cricket, viz: the copious beers and sausages in wrapped white bread and ingested in a thrice weekly ritual (the game and training) integral to the social aspect of playing in the 3rds, in a 2nd Div district league of a non-descript provincial city in a distant country girt by sea, and you have a person who snores, a person whom someone can easily HATE. E@L has told you all this..

That shattered ethmoidal plate has restricted his air intake capacity too, and he finds it difficult to breathe with sufficient efficiency when right lateral decubitus. Those BreatheRight nasal strips help, but only so much, and they don't prevent his snoring.

Industrial strength snoring, as mentioned. And eventually he developed sleep apnoea as well. It took an inordinate time for E@L to discover this, and its severity, sleeping as he used do back in that land-girt, open-cut mine, alone. No doubt much of the blame for the brain-rot which afflicts his cogitative abilities and his (what was it again?) memory can be directly directed at these frequent near-ischaemic episodes. There was no-one there to prod him, gently or otherwise, out of his semi-comatose state, to rouse him, to shake him, to kick his shin, to stuff a pillow over his face and press, press, press until the snoring stopped.

So E@L snored on: he dropped his soft-palate, stopped breathing for 20secs and, spluttering into state just below consciousness, took a great last gasp in order to breathe again for a few seconds. And the cycle of little-deaths started, and so he grew dumber and dumber and... [fuck, this is starting to sound like a fairy-tale!]


E@L is using his third CPAP, one especially designed for travelling: it's lighter, smaller, etc... His main machine sits at home, unloved for long periods like this current three week stint in Thailand, and it has a humidifier, which makes it a bit bulky to cart around. The small portable one's base is a bit slippery so he places it (upside down so it doesn't suck in all the bed-bugs) on the bed next to the pillows. The hose he wraps over the pillows and the nasal-plug mask is light and barely noticeable if he keeps his nose-hair and moustache trimmed (hence the hipsterish half-height mo). It is a simple matter to turn off the machine, easily de-nasalify the plugs and trundle off to the toilet...

AIYAH! those bathroom lights. Why so fracking bright!


There are several advantages to sleeping with CPAP.

Well, number one, fucking obviously, is that he can breathe properly and not wake the sleeping hooker(s), nor, in the cheaper places E@L stays, the guy in the next hotel room and his hooker(s). And not choke and effectively cut off the blood supply to his (E@L's, not the guy in the next room) brain by dropping his oxygen saturation to coma level in that apnoeic half-minute.

Second, or third if you count the last sentence which is really a follow on from the number one benefit, he can sleep under the sheets.

Third/corollary to Third/Fourth/whatever: he (or his hooker) can fart while his head is under the sheets because his air supply is coming from the CPAP on the outside! Brilliant!

Fifth (fuck it): E@L has never tried this, but he supposes he could use it as a cunnilingus snorkel if he were that way inclined (to sexually gratify a hooker, pffft!). Carefully clean with an antiseptic wipe after each use.

And sixth, he can sleep on his stomach, face into the Tontine, and not suffocate. Awesome, as he often tosses this way and that as he tries to drop off, and might end up face-down [end UP face DOWN ha!] a few times.

But why (other than the hypothetical cunnilingual point) is E@L under the sheets, you ask. Not just to see if he can Dutch Oven himself faultlessly, but also to hide his alcoholically lucifugous eyes and, by extension (the optic nerves), his brain, from the all those hotel room lights: eerie green and red USB chargers, the red glowing fuse-confirmer of his multi-plug extension cord, the slow blinking fire-detector, the ineluctable glow through curtain which never quite closes off the big city's 24hr bright lights. But all this candle power is never enough to light up the path for his 4am trip to the bathroom and to enable him roughly determine the correction of his direction. And so, on go those retinal blasting lights every time.

But new on the scene is an eyemask, one from Singapore Airlines. Black. From First Class, the time he got that well-overdue upgrade. (Yes you can ask for them anytime, and you get them in business class, but not the black ones - it's like the black Amex, they are only for the high, um, fliers.)

What E@L does now is sleep with both the CPAP and eye-mask on. And, get this, with the blinds open! That way, when his bladder wakes him there is enough ambient light to either wake the AEI-worker for another go with his piss-hardon, or to trundle to the loo and not turn on the lights!

Why didn't he think of this simple life-hack earlier? It's brilliant, amazing, life hacking, he means life-changing. He is even considering sending it to Corey Doctorow so it can go viral on BoingBoing, or even LifeHacker itself.


But! (There's always a "but", like when females tell you that they love you, bu-u-ut something about why they hate you as well. "I love you bu-u-ut you fucking snore like a fucking demented animal, getoutofmylifenow!" for example.

Bu-u-ut, the dye in the black eyemask comes off.

Oh NO!

It's not onto E@L's face thankfully but, to the horror of the hotel's laundry (he anticipates), it does silhouettes of itself onto the pillow, like the shadows of evaporated humans on the walls of Hiroshima. You can almost track E@L's nocturnal movements (body movements, not bowel) from its telltale marks. Oh dear.

Ah well, he sighs and admits to his privileged, arrogant, white-mans-burden, post-colonial self, it's a small price to pay for not having to turn on the bathroom lights.

He means it may be tough on the laundry staff, but it's a small price to pay for


Sunday, November 02, 2014


The thoughts have flown, as they always do, 'twixt shower and computer, and I seem to be at a loss for what it was I thought so urgently a few minutes ago, under the aquatic flux, needed to be said.

It was important, deep, worthy of writing in stone. It has instead been drained in water.


It was, I vaguely recall, on the loss of the muse. A frequently expounded theme.

I was looking for something back in old posts and couldn't find it - perhaps it was on the previous, pre-Blogger, no-longer-visible (some PHP parsing change has completely fucked it) E@L blog. But this allowed me to wallow in some nostalgia with the 800 odd posts still available here on Blogger.

Fuck, I was funny. Even when people didn't think I was, I was: I knew that jokes were nevertheless hidden in there. Jokes only I cared about, only I got, because they were so personal and obscure. I don't even have that anymore.

I can't do that anymore.

I can't even sit down and write properly anymore: instead I wallow in this disgusting and unreadable self pity.


Hey! Great bottle of way-overpriced wine at Gaucho's, the generally overpriced Argentinian restaurant in BKK. (Makes my Woolloomoolloo places in HK and Singapore look ... about the same). Torbreck's Woodcutters - their easy, early drinking Shiraz. I normally take a bottle of The Standish, but this tasted superb after a coupla months of my eschewing of red-wine (mostly, Monday didn't count) as it gives me all sorts of unmentionable intestinal issues (never trust a fart!). Beware the next coupla days.


Now I am still a little pissed and aware of my failings.

How about you?


But I did a review for Goodreads. No wonder I am feeling melancholy.


The Nice Old Man and the Pretty GirlThe Nice Old Man and the Pretty Girl by Italo Svevo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ah. Ah. The characteristic mild mix of pathos, ironic humour and profundity that permeates all of Svevo's work.

An old man (about my age) falls in... love? lust? with a beautiful young woman as she drives her trolley (what we in Melbourne might call a tram) in Trieste at the start of the Great War. Well, we've all been there (I certainly have), falling in love, I mean, with a lovely, clean (she bathes once a day) young woman, inappropriately. She comes around to see (euphemism) him at his insistence a few times, and he gives her some money, but he decides to slow it down for it seems his conscience is troubling him. Then he has a severe angina attack (we've all been there - I certainly have) which makes him reflect on both his mortality and then further on the morality of what they have been doing.

He decides to write something to instruct her (as well as continue to send her money) - but this turns into a larger work on the morality of the responsibilities of age. What does youth owe to old age, and how should old people instruct young people; those who, although they are incapable of understanding this, will become old and near death one day themselves? As his heart keeps giving out (not a metaphor) he tries to prepare this treatise for publication, hoping that it will explain the moral dilemma he faces to the world, but his doctor, who listens to his arguments, is not impressed...

What is to become of this quandary, what will his treatise achieve? As he admits on his last written pages: Nothing, nothing, nothing.


This is stylistically not his best work by a considerable margin, the story doesn't flow quite perfectly, but Svevo nevertheless skewers the guilt and regret of men as they age, as he did so remarkably in Zeno's Conscience and particularly As A Man Grows Older. And I am currently experiencing it.

The term "tragico-comic" could have created just for Svevo. Or for me.

View all my reviews


Yeah. Sad old man.


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