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I’ve known people who routinely have so much trouble sleeping that they regularly get up in the middle of the night and do things like clean the house or drive to their offices and do some work. This sounds like hell to me, as even the occasional terrible night really throws me. I had one of those last night.

A few years ago, I discovered I had sleep apnea. I had been so tired I was falling asleep sitting up in the middle of the afternoon. I thought I slept like a rock at night. Assumed it was some sort of imbalance. Turned out it was an imbalance of breathing.

Why in the world would you wear this thing while using an iPad?? (Philips Respironics DreamWear)

Due to the vagaries of health care, I had to go through many tests and waiting periods to finally get my C-PAP machine. I bet I’m the only person in history to have sung, “Happy Days Are Here Again” while walking out carrying, not a fabulous hat in a hatbox, not the keys to a red convertible, not a box of sumptuous French pastries, but a C-PAP machine. Woohoo!

Right away, the difference in my energy level was like day and night. Of course, it’s a love/hate relationship. A guy I knew (since passed) who had the same mask as mine bearing the hopeful name of DreamWear, called it “a sweet ride!” Please. No. It is less awful than others, but still, I add an expletive before “C-PAP” whenever I speak of mine. And I am frankly insulted when the app congratulates me for being “compliant,” i.e. using my machine for at least 4 hours a night.

Rufus, upon waking and emerging from under the covers

I hate that I have to use the thing. It’s uncomfortable and honestly, humiliating to wear. It limits where I can go and what I can do, e.g. camping, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, etc. But I’m grateful for it and I did drag it along on my recent trip to Taiwan, even on a bike. My son carried it on his regular bike until we encountered terrific wind along the coast. Then he asked if I’d carry it, since I didn’t seem to be having any trouble on my e-bike. “Sure!” I said. Piece of cake. E-bikes make many things possible.

I suppose, in their way, C-PAPs do, too. Breathing is good.

“Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.” ― Amit Ray, Beautify your Breath

“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” ― David Benioff, City of Thieves

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” ― Anthony Burgess

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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