Wednesday, October 5, 2011
They Don't Make An Effective Sleep Aid for People Like Me
OMG. There are no words. Well, hopefully there ARE words since I got my comfy ass out of bed to write this post. And there are no photos to accompany it or I would meet an early death.
My dear, sweet, kind husband & I have been married 18 years. Eighteen years of listening to him snore. I don't do snoring well. Last week, however, I learned that there can be a good side to snoring. More than a couple people my age in the last few years, in this very city, have awakened to find their spouse not only not snoring, but not breathing. At all. They lost their spouses in their 30's and 40's, for various reasons, as they lay sleeping next to them. That is horrifying to me. And last week, one night, I awoke in the night & heard nothing. No breathing. No movement. No snoring. So I did what any wife in her right mind would do at 3 a.m: I shook him violently & said, "Honey, are you alive???" He was. And there was definitely movement & noise, ranging from, "Is someone sick?" to "What the hell?" to "If you woke me up to kill a damn bug, just find a shoe..." to "What the HELL time is it?" Now my husband is in fairly good shape (you could still benefit from the gym, honey - not gonna lie) and lives a pretty low-stress existence, as existences go. But with a not-so-good cardiac family history, I like to hear a little noise or sense a little movement beside me at night. BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I'M HEARING TONIGHT. I get it. You're alive! The neighbors don't need to know you're alive - just ME! In fact, the neighbors are pissed because they think someone's trying to fire up their "STIHL"chainsaw at 1:00 a.m.! And can't get it going.....
I have a past with snoring, believe me. My mother doesn't snore so much as she breathes louder than a freight train passing through, but with a slightly sinister tone. It's very reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter when he says, "Well, Clarice. Have the lambs stopped screaming?" And my mom has expressed many times, her frustration with me coming in her room & yelling, "Stop breathing!" It's loud, people. Un-believably loud. When she & my dad were married, it's a wonder they EVER got a night's sleep because the noises that are emitted not only from her but from my dad, in a state of slumber, are indescribable. And he knows this. I once, in the tiny town of Carrollton, MO, at a lovely little motel called E.C.'s (It was the wedding hotel, people - I had to stay there.), whacked my dad violently enough times with my pillow that he slept the remainder of the evening in his car, in the parking lot. There are plusses to driving Lincoln Town Cars, especially a circa 1992 model & especially if you're over 6 ft. tall. He'll be the first to tell you. Any night since then that I have been subject to his nocturnal symphony, I have been gently reminded by him to have those putty-like ear plugs, that block out every possible noise except Fran Drescher whining, at the ready. Generally, I just make reservations one town over & the problem is solved. Because I know it'll be me in that damn car.
But Chuck....Chuck..... that's who we're talking about here. This is the man I promised to live with for better or worse, in sickness & in health, for richer for poorer, snoring or non-snoring, 'til death do us part. And somewhere there's a clause in there that says "death may not do you part by holding a pillow over his face 'til all noise stops." I'll be the first to admit I don't excel at all of these vows. I try, people. I try. That's what I plan to tell God & what I'm telling you. But I do not always succeed. Generally, when Chuck has a night of snoring, my plan of action progresses as follows:
1) I gently roll over & say, "Honey, you're snoring again. Can you stop?" Very low success rate.
2) I put my arm around him, shake him lightly, grit my teeth and say, "For the love of God, STOP!
(That's not nearly as hateful as it looks in all-caps.) Usually met with a startled "What????" &
a very brief pause in the pattern of snoring.
3) No warning. Just a very bitchy "STOP with the snoring! I can't sleep! PLEASE!"
(Occasionally an expletive or two at this point. Don't judge til you've slept with him. And please
don't sleep with him. ;-) Sometimes this provides enough relief for me to get back to sleep
& tune him out, at least for a while. But sometimes, it requires bringing in the big gun.
4) The last resort: I roll over, embrace him, raise one hand to his neck, act like I'm going to
commit the most violent of acts toward someone I love, & using my hand as a knife blade,
I summon my best, sinister Night Stalker voice & say, "If you make any noise at all sir, you will
not live to see the sun come up. Got it?" This works like a charm. Desperate times call for
I won't sleep on the couch because barring the lion noises beside me, I do like snuggling up to him. I have considered trying those little plastic "Breathe-Right Nasal Strips" but I think a more efficient & cheaper method for us, at least over the long term, would be to get both his nostrils pierced & using fishing wire, hold the nostrils open by tying them to hooks on opposite walls of our room. It's not forbidden in the vows; word for word, anyway. But, hey, I'm open to suggestions. And I'm headed back to try options 1- 4 or knock myself out with meds so I don't hear him.