Tuesday, March 4, 2014


My doctor’s office sent me the basic results of the nocturnal sleep study I underwent on 17 February. Over a period of five hours, off oxygen and BiPAP, my highest SPO2 was 96% and the lowest was 81%. Anything below 90% requires oxygen, and according to my RN, anything below 92% starts to affect brain function. I had 69 desaturation events of less than 3 minutes in duration and 14 desats of more than 3 minutes in duration. My interpretation of these results, verified today by nurse Jessica, is that I continue to require both oxygen and BiPAP. However, this shows vast improvement over where I was six months ago.

As if to emphasize my dependency, my BiPAP machine has registered a high leak at the gasket where the tubing emerges. I put in a service call to the horrible DME provider, Apria, who are dragging their heels about sending out someone to look at it but promised “a call” within a couple of days. In the meantime I’ll limp along with the leak. I suspect the device was injured by the ham hands of my weekend attendant, who batters all inanimate objects in her path.

I dreamed last night that I was living again with Mama and Bill. Bill and I were both teenagers, and Mama had been left without income by my father. She needed to go to an outpatient hospital for extensive tests in a neighboring town, and after work I picked up her, Bill, and a new orange-and-white kitten I had just acquired. On the drive there, Mama was irritable with worry. She said she needed money to pop into a grocery along the way, and I gave her all my cash. She returned with a single bag and no change. We were checked into a family suite at the hospital which was little more than a set of bunkbeds off a corridor with access to a kitchenette. I unpacked the groceries, to discover it consisted only of breakfast cereal, a quart of milk, and coffee plus cigarettes for Mama. Exasperated but trying to conceal it, I whispered to Bill I’d need to go back out and use the small amount in my bank account to get us something cheap for dinner plus some canned food and litter for the kitten. I was very worried about the kitten escaping from our not-quite-secure residential annex, and didn’t trust either Mama or Bill to keep an eye on the little one. That’s when I woke up.

Not a dream of complex symbolism; instead, it’s all too reminiscent of events that actually took place in my past.

I had another dream from which I was awakened by Scout hurling herself down on my chest and against my mask to sleep. At the time of awakening, I thought the dream had been hilarious and very clever, and I went over in my mind to memorize it before I returned to sleep. This morning, however, it has vanished except for the impression that I found it so entertaining.

Tammi made blackberry pancakes for breakfast the rest of the week. Something nourishing to wake up for each day.

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