Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Laugh And The World Laughs With You; Snore and You Sleep Alone.

Snore? Moi?

It's interesting. You can like someone when you first meet them, you can think they are interesting or funny, really hit it off, but if you have to share a room with them and they snore, you turn into a hate monster.

It's as if they robbed you of a lot more than sleep. It's completely disproportionate to the actual offense they caused. And you BLAME them for their snoring... It's like they have control over this, like they did it on purpose, just to offend and disturb you. You don't care about the details and cures: lose weight, have an operation, oh that's interesting you have a deviated septum from a cricket ball exploding into your nose, all that medical stuff. These are just flimsy excuses. They SNORE. That's all it is. You hate them!

Invade Poland, annex the Sudatenland, fine, so long as they don't snore!

That's right; you are not interested in finding a reason for them snoring, that is irrelevant. You just HATE them because they snore. Doesn't matter you liked them last night, this morning they are out of your life completely. You storm off, hoping that your paths, or at least beds, never cross again.



1) My darling wife gave up and went to sleep in the spare room, then she went to sleep in London. Two steps to the right and she could have been as far away as possible.

2) My skiing buddies in the shared room in New Zealand threw their shoes at me all night. I skied alone, sob.

3) I used to share a room for expenses reasons, at my hospital's and State Premier Jeff Kennett's insistence, when attending conferences. My room-sharer referred to my snoring as "industrial strength" and vowed to get drunk each night so he'd fall asleep first.

4) When I first met my current bestest buddies, M@&Km, after a party in Sydney where we were all too drunk to drive home, (over 0.08, at least) so about six of us crashed around the living room. M@&Km threw their shoes at me in the middle of the night. At one point Km got up and forcibly turned me onto my side (she's a strong girl) which did not interfere with my snoring at first. However, for some reason, I did eventually stop. M@&Km thanked heaven... but then someone else started instead. They hated me next morning and called me "Snoring E@L". I moved to HK and then a year later so did they. It took me three months to work up the courage to give them a call...

5) After I'd had a few red wines, Izzy could hear me (just) through two closed door and eight feet of concrete.

No more evidence required; I need help. My name is E@L and I am a snoraholic


Hang on, help is on its way.

Last night I slept in the Tan Tok Seng Hospital's sleep centre.

But first, what is it with Singaporeans?

The ward nurse was OK. She smiled asked to asked me to get changed into my sleep gear, which were a grey tee-shirt and grey gym shorts. Shorts? I never wear shorts to bed! But I did so and I came out of the bathroom; she was gone. For a few minutes I was by myself. Whatever.

But then in came the world's most uncommunicative "sleep technician" (a nurse?), a young woman in jeans, casual shirt and a lab coat. I was by now comfortably ensconced (there's word you don't hear everyday, thankfully) on a vinyl chair (which might have been a commode chair, I didn't look underneath) listening to one of Melvyn Bragg's amazingly good podcasts from the BBC, this one on Joyce's "Portrait" (I need to reread that; I realize now that I know nothing).

Lab Coat said nothing to me, didn't even look at me. She began arranging her gels and scraping ("desquamating") tools on the desk, with her back to me.

For about five minutes she seemed to be squeezing stuff out and tearing packing tape into little strips. She explained nothing about the procedure, nothing about what she was doing, nothing about the weather, asked nothing about my family, offered nothing about her family, the missing dog, the world economy. She didn't talk to me, she didn't look at me, she didn't acknowledge my existence. I began to wonder if I was really in the room.

I also imagined having this procedure done in say, America. I'm sure some grossly overweight woman in a nurse uniform three sizes too small would be fussing about the room, doing this and doing that, talking non-stop at volume about everything under the sun and I'd be thinking, "Shut the fuck up," by now. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes would be nice.

When Silent One had done preparing whatever it was she was preparing (an enema kit for all I knew) she pulled out the desk chair and indicated that I was to sit. So I AM here!

She then broke her vow of silence to ask a series of questions, including, "What race are you?"

I said nothing, mimicking her style. Pretty fucking obvious, what? She asked again, in an even tone, "What race are you?" And again I said nothing but I raised my eyebrows at her. She asked with exactly the same couldn't-care-less emphasis, "Are you Eurasian?"

"Do you think I look Eurasian?"

"Are you Eurasian?" she repeated, a tad hopefully.

"What do you think I am?" Like it fucking matters what 'race' I am anyway. I regret, in retrospect, not saying, "Homo Sapiens". I guess she would put me down as a homosexual with that answer anyway.

She was silent. She didn't know.

"I am a westerner, a Caucasian."

"I'll just put down Caucasian then."

"You do that," I mumbled.


I considered asking her out for a quiet (ho ho) drink some time, as you would a waitress or a golf caddy (as some would). She was not at all unattractive, but I guess there are plenty of reasons why she wouldn't fraternize with her patients, one of which is that they all snore.


Then, without any warning or explanation, she began to measure my head. I wonder if the ghost of Galton looked on with approval. At various key points, she scribbled marks onto my skin. She put the tape away and at these marked points began her desquamating process. Grab a pencil rubber and rub it on your semi-bald head. It warms up pretty quickly, hey? I wondered if this irritating pain was how it felt to get a tattoo.

Then on went the gel and on went a series of electrodes, all around my scone, the ones in my stubble held with HUGE patches of tape or something, maybe those clear plastic surgical patches. It felt gooey, cold and horrible. She made me stand up and, with a stretch and a maximization of velcro, she managed to get some straps around my chest and belly which held breathing sensors.

She then told me to get on the bed and lie down while she continued planting electrodes around my body and taping them on with the packing tape. She put them on my neck on my shoulders, on my legs, next to my eyes and then she hooked me up to some breathing sensors. One went in front of my mouth and a double pronged one up my nose. I took a photo of myself and looking at it, wondered how the fuck I was going to get to sleep tonight. A O2 sensor went onto my finger, was taped on. I felt like the mummy by this stage, like Laura Palmer, wrapped in plastic.

The process of mummification...

I tossed and turned all night, as far as I remember, am not even sure that I got ANY sleep. Left side, right side (ow, my left hip hurts). Yuck, I am drooling onto the pillow. Hell, the gel is oozing from my scalp onto the pillow cover as well; it's like putting my head onto a giant over-firm slug. Amazingly, none of the sensors came off in all this wriggling and reconfiguring of the pillows and bedclothes. I must have slept because I dreamed, but I can't recall what the subject was, something dark and *CLANG* - a trolley outside room woke me up to the chill of the over-airconditioned room.

Note to self: if doing this again bring your own pillows and own duvet (it's freezing in there).

And with nothing else to think about, except young Stephen Dedalus being tossed into the muck at Clongowes and coming down with an hallucinatory fever, I waited for sleep to come. I listened to myself breathing, watched myself in the near dark from above the bed, aware of all the wires on me and I hoped not to rip them off, as Silent One had threatened to come in from her video surveillance room and put them back on. In this toss and turn time, I arrived at the unexpected realization that I can breathe better in and out of my nostrils when I am left lateral decubitus than right lateral decubitus. Thought you might be interested in that icicle of key info. No? Pretend you didn't read it.

You're not interested in any of this?

Piss off then, I'm having a well deserved nap.


Results next week.



anthony said...

You have to wait a whole week to know what's wrong with your sleep pattern?

And we are interested. A bit. ~grin~

savannah said...

fascinating, sugar! seriously, it will be interesting to see what the hell is wrong with you, i mean what is the root cause of y'all's sleep disorder. xoxoxo

expat@large said...

Ant: and you lie so well.

Sav: what the hell IS wrong with me? Why am I one of the last of the bloggers?

Lost in Melbourne said...

As far as I know I only snore under specific conditions:


Head held on an uncomfortable angle such as too many pillows or asleep on the couch

blocked nose

My suggestion on the lack of sleep is a complex one. as far as I can tell most people seem to sleep well after sex, so get into get mental and physical shape to challenge the neighbours upstairs. There you will either be able to sleep past their 10am sessions OR better still wake earlier and give them a lesson.

knobby said...

i only snore when the girl i'm with doesn't like me any more and tells me out of spite that i snore. ok, it only happened once. one girl, i mean, not one snore.

expat@large said...

In retrospect, doesn't it seem strange/unprofessional to you guys that there was clanging and noise in the ward outside when there was supposed to be a SLEEP TEST GOING ON!

savannah said...

yes, it does seem strange that there was noise outside y'alls room while a test was being conducted! but, seriously, how the hell was it possible to even doze off with all of those things stuck on you? and btw, y'all aren't the last of the bloggers, sugar, y'all are just one of the BEST! ;~D xoxox

Dick Headley said...

Not surprising at all. The clanging and noise is part of the test. If you sleep through that they add firecrackers, slowly at first building to a crecsendo.

expat@large said...

Sav: you are too kind. No, I mean it, you are TOO kind, people are beginning to talk... ;-)

Actually thanks for the buzz, but I am beginning to wonder. I kid you not, they call me "The Prof" here at work, and friends (not all of them) say things like "you are so smart" - I'm becoming extremely suspicious that it isn't like the Woody Allen character in "Smalltime Crooks."

Ray: Remember my nickname in the joint?
Benny: The Brain?
Ray: The Brain. That's what the guys used to call me right?
Benny: But, Ray, that was sarcastic!

Dick: I wouldn't be at all surprised...

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