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Iâ€™m not even going to mince words about it. I wear a snore mask. Granted, the official name for it is a C-Pap Mask, but as anyone who wears one knows, unless you are in the hospital on life support, the only reason youâ€™d be caught dead sporting one of these is because without it you just might be caught dead.
When I first moved back to Santa Barbara many years ago, I had just completed my treatments for breast cancer, so I expected to feel a bit worn out and tired. When nearly a year had passed and I still felt worn out and tired, I began to get a bit nervous because I was worried that either the side effects of chemo and radiation were never going to diminish â€“ or worse â€“ I was still sick.
When I mentioned I was always feeling tired to my doctor, she suggested I do a sleep study. Now thereâ€™s a misnomer if ever there was one! I have a hard enough time sleeping when itâ€™s just me, a dark room and a French bulldog. Add a bunch of wires, a strange bed, some guy in another room watching and monitoring me, and the odds Iâ€™m going to get much sleep are nil.
But I was feeling so exhausted I decided it was worth a try. And itâ€™s a good thing I did, because during my sleep study they discovered I have sleep apnea. Yes, yes, I wasnâ€™t satisfied with just being a breast cancer survivor; apparently, I needed to add something else to the mix.
That was nearly 17 years ago, and in that time Iâ€™ve not only worn a snore mask, but learned to embrace wearing one! Iâ€™ve even traveled with it, and learned not to die of embarrassment when a TSA agent makes me take it out of the carrier and let them check it before I get on a flight. Although, if there is a hottie standing in line next to me, I am apt to mumble something like â€śIâ€™m just carrying this for my grandma, because bless her heart, itâ€™s hard to carry when you are walking with a cane!â€ť Grandma, please forgive me, but it was you who taught me to think on my feet.
I do, however, have a bone to pick with the companies who make these things. Could you please create something that makes me look even the least bit sexy? I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s asking too much. I canâ€™t recall one scene from a movie where things were getting hot and heavy and the heroine looked like Darth Vaderâ€™s little sister!
Iâ€™ve been thinking about this a lot lately because, letâ€™s face it, Iâ€™m no spring chicken. Not only that, but during a visit to the dentist last week for a routine cleaning, I had one of those “me and my big mouth” moments (well, I was at the dentist!) and mentioned that Iâ€™ve been grinding my teeth and had even managed to chomp on my tongue one night. When I expressed concern that I might actually fracture a tooth if this behavior persists, my dentist kindly informed me that my fears were warranted — because as we age our teeth get thinner.
Seriously, our teeth get thinner? Does this strike anyone else as yet another irony associated with advancing years? Itâ€™s completely normal for my mid-section to race for the horizon. My skin can sag, my eyes can glaze, my memory can fail â€“ but my teeth (probably the only part of my body that Iâ€™ve never considered too plump) will get thinner?
So now Iâ€™m ranting because not only do I have to strap a snore mask on each evening, but Iâ€™m also going to be wearing a mouth guard.
Yes, a mouth guard. And for the life of me, I canâ€™t think of ANY way to make that the least bit appealing. To give you some idea of just how alluring this new look happens to be, try picturing an NFL linebacker wearing a negligee. Unless you are very strange, and despite how pretty the negligee might be, this mental image will not get your heart racing.
Okay, so hereâ€™s my nightly ritual. Brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my night creams, say my prayers (youâ€™d be praying too!) and then strap on so much headgear itâ€™s a miracle I can turn over in bed, much less sleep. I will admit that while I was pondering my plight, I came across something that just might work. What do you think?