Thursday 2 May 2013


[The guy above actually looks good, I assure you]

I went to a sleep clinic on Sunday. It has been a long time coming and I was eager to see what would actually take place (I was praying for sleep of course), as well as hoping that the end result was that they would hand me a sure-fire cure to great sleeping for the rest of my life. Yes, I was clearly having a moment of inflated utopian positivity, but people always say that it pays to be positive so I thought I’d try it.

One thing you must know about England – and perhaps some of you do – is that the architecture is old (or aka: historical and traditional) in the majority of the city and when it comes to hospitals you’re never quite sure what you are going to get. And well, I’m American, and when it comes to hospitals I like things shiny, new and smelling like bleach; yes I’m spoiled like that. Anyway, upon arriving at the clinic (which was within a hospital), the outside of the building was of course gorgeous and ‘historical;’ the inside, well let’s just say that The Shining comes to mind, the hallways a bit long and stark, the paint chipping, the overall palette of the place smacked of dehydrated yellow. Adding to that, my room had the same feel, minimal, typical small and sterile hospital bed, and the overall place was needing of some TLC (okay okay, in my head I envisioned a sleeper's paradise with big down fluffy clouds, but I told you before I was awash in utopian delusion). But when people are offering to help me sleep – and for free no less – I will sent up camp in the middle of an Afghani desert if I have to.

So after sizing up my surroundings like any predictable insomniac, I realized that the large Victorian window was broken and unable to fully close, which meant that with each gust of wind, the blind blew into the room and the blind would bang against the windowsill. But I figured, I had my trusty earplugs, so I wasn’t going to let that worry me. In addition, the overhead fluorescent light was clearly on the fritz, and was sputtering and flickering for its last breath, so I was mighty glad I was not an epileptic on top of everything else. But wanting to put a positive spin on all this, I just switched off the light, opened the door and figured I was here to sleep not bask in the overhead glow of bad lighting.

So I got comfortable, fired up the laptop (one of my many 'sleep hygiene' problems, apparently) and waited for the study to begin. A doctor soon came by to take some blood from an artery in my wrist (I swear this hurts more than labor) and told me a tech would soon be by to get things started. In about an hour Mr. Techy came in and told me it was time to ‘wire’ me up, so I should get ready for bed. This sounded a tad ominous but in my head I had an image of me wearing a little cap with some wires out of it, so I figured this was all part of the plan.

He let me know that they would be monitoring my sleep by camera, as well as through a variety of different ways that would take about an hour to implement. An hour. Okay, so maybe not a simple little hat. Next thing I know he is taping electrodes to my face, gluing them to my scalp with what I can only describe as industrial strength super glue, and putting Velcro belts around my waste. I am laughing and saying things like, ‘but you guys know I’m an insomniac, right?’ He then taped two boxes to my shoulder and waste, which had about a hundred wires coming out of it (which attached to my face and head) and then strung the wires down my legs and taped more electrodes on my calves. And the cherry on top, an oxygen detector apparatus that he inserted into my nostrils and then wrapped around my ears like I had emphysema. At this point I looked like a cross between a hospice patient and C3PO, (I have a photo, but I am FAR too vain to post it) and I assure you, sleep under these constraints was not going to happen. Positivity be damned, there is only so much I can take.

So after he finished covering me head to toe in wires he said – as if it were nothing – 'okay, so now just do what you do and then fall asleep as per usual and we’ll see you in the morning'. Yeah, okay, I always go to bed looking like I just stepped out of the Matrix main frame. So there I lie, window blind banging, radiator blasting heat like it was the Sahara, with wires covering me like a highway and the little boxes digging into my side and shoulder every time I tried to roll over and I thought to myself, it would be far simpler to down two valium with a shot of tequila and call it a night.

The next morning, after a pretty restless night (I think I managed a few hours after having two nurses come in to fix the window and adjust the radiator) I have never been so happy to 'de-wire' in my life. It of course took 45 minutes to get the glue off my head (this entailed a bottle of nail polish remover and a very patient nurse) and resulted in several small bald patches around my scalp, but who’s complaining, there’s pretty much nothing I won’t do for a good night’s sleep.

Happy Thursday all. 

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