Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Sawing logs in Kamikaze Land
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Mar 11, 2019
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There are two kinds of people in this world---those who wear CPAP machines and those who need to wear CPAP machines. Wearing a mask connected to tubing and a bedside unit doesn’t exactly scream "bedroom casual." My advice is to wait until you're in your 70s. 

Lanny never accused me of snoring, but I found a pair of earplugs on his nightstand. It was mortifying! All I could visualize was my dad, stretched out in his recliner with lampshades boogying and windows cracking with every chainsaw intake of his breath. They were full-on heavy snorts in a continuous hog-like frenzy. Daddy “let off the gas” with a wheezing exhale that probably saved his life. Deadly sleep apnea would have been a better curtain call than a shovel in my mama’s hand. My mom DID approach my dad about his obnoxious snoring. She suggested Saturn. 

What’s sleep apnea, you ask? In clinical terms, it’s your body’s natural way of retaliating and killing you while you sleep. Apnea is the hired assassin. CPAP stands for Crippling Pain and Punishment. And there you have it. Rather than a night of cheating death, the patient wakes up refreshed and rejuvenated.  Of course, discoloration and deep creases around the nose and mouth will have anyone looking like they’ve been Frenching a Roomba vacuum. 

When I showed up at the sleep clinic, I accusingly said to the nurse, “My husband says I snore.” After I had spent the night straddling tubes, wires, and hoses, she bounced into my room and said, “Your husband is right!” Did she have to announce it with such glee? 

Two old ladies were sitting in church, when one turned to the other one and said, “My butt fell asleep.” 

The other one said, “Yeah, I thought I heard it snore a couple of times.” 

That husband of mine kept a painfully straight face when I set up my CPAP machine and adjusted the straps, snaps, flaps, and hoses of my over-the-head-and-nose mask. Like a dike that gave way, though, Lanny’s guffaws burst forth and spewed laughter and slobber in a projectile thrust.  I’ll admit---it had a bane-esque vibe. 

Immediately, Lanny named it Snuggleupagus. Actually, the whole thing was too unnerving for me to be offended by his lame humor.  A CPAP machine increases the air pressure in your throat to prevent your airway from collapsing when you inhale. Air is circulated outside through a vent in the hose. Not realizing the air is forced into my mouth before traveling through the outside vent, I attempted to speak to Lanny: “Whoosh-a-zzuhusss-e-bwaaash-izsh,” with the air involuntarily flowing through my lips. 

Puzzled, he replied, “Did you say, ‘Whoosh-a-zzuhusss-e-bwaash-izsh?’” 

My CPAP mask leaves marks on my dent-ridden face that stay until mid-afternoon. And my hair? If you’re familiar with Netflix’s “Justified,” you’ll know me in the mornings. 

Boyd Crowder.