Friday, November 16, 2012

1097 On Your Mark Get Set, Inhale

1097  On your Mark, Get Set, Inhale

We’re all in the same boat here, we sleep apnea patients.  

For all you normal people, sleep apnea patients have to use what's called a CPAP machine which forces air into your system while you sleep. For this, you have to strap on a mask.

The mask is attached to a hose that looks like the trunk of an elephant, but much thinner.  The hose is attached to a little box that plugs in and pumps the air.  The air pressure is determined by a sleep test you take before the insurance company authorizes the equipment and is pre-set by the vendor,

The hard part is getting the mask on right.  The machine forces air into your nose.  The masks tend to leak.  As you move around in your sleep, the mask can get slightly out of position and leak.  When it leaks, it sounds like anything from a squeak to a fart.

A friend with an older machine suggests that using cpap pumps be designated an Olympic sport.

Why not.

And why not get ready right away.  The next winter games will be in Sochi, Russia in 2014.  And there are only 15 sports.  Why not raise it to 16.  What’s good for Putin is good for the IOC.

Since cpap breathing is a year-round activity, there’s no real reason to wait until the next summer games which are so far away -- 2016 -- we may all have been washed out to sea by melting icebergs.

And there’s no reason to divide the teams by gender.  In fact, a male/female team could result in all kinds of new relationships.

(No touching during actual sleep, though.  Too much of a distraction.)

Think of the endorsements and corporate sponsors:  Lunesta, Sleep Number Beds, “My,” ResMed, Blue Cross, Kensie Sleepwear... the possibilities are almost endless.

I am training for the next olympics even as we speak.  In. Out. In. Out.  You get points off for mask leaks and some of us have to somehow overcome breathing blind, as we can't wear our glasses and the mask at the same time.  We must practice, practice, practice.

This is often thought of as a “sport for older people.”  But there's some stiff competition from younger athletes who have started training early, and cpap prodigies who have had sleep apnea from birth.

You should see the Team America uniforms!  Red white and blue nightcaps and old fashioned dressing gowns.

Speedo, Frederick’s of Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret are competing for a contract to produce alternative uniforms.  Maybe we should rethink the nightgowns.

We should also think about breaking the competition into categories as in boxing.  Heavyweight, light heavyweight, etc.  In this case, the breakdown would be based on cpap pressure which runs from 1 to 25.  So, Heavypress, Light Heavypress, Super Middlepress, Middlepress, Welterpress, Featherpress,  etc.

Hmmm. Too many categories.  We’ll have to lump some of them together.

And to those of you who think this is as useless and slow moving as golf, think again.  Sleep apnea patients get more exercise in four hours than an entire foursome playing 36 holes on a muggy Sunday morning in Georgia.  This will rivet the television audience and encourage more kids to sleep with awkward, noisy uncomfortable machinery.  Good for the economy.  Good for learning sportsmanship.  Good for kids who don’t excel in regular sports or who always are the last picked for a gym class basketball game.

One problem, though: Bob Costas doesn't want to do the play by play so they're probably going to use Ann Curry or maybe Brokaw if he's feeling up to it.


--There is no doubt that cpap machines fix a host of problems.  But it’s hard not to wonder if some of that is mental.  Maybe they should conduct placebo experiments by hooking the mask and the elephant trunk hose up to some other source of annoying noise.

--The sellers and renters of “durable medical equipment” like to call and nag you about stuff like “be sure to use your machine at least four hours a night...” and “’s about time for a new mask and elephant hose.”  This sounds like caring professionals and it is, but the caring is not about your health but about their reimbursement.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments and Victoria’s Secret pictures to
© WJR 2012

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