A Good Rest

I haven’t felt this good in years. I feel so healthy that I want to leap in the air and kick my heels. Heck, I’m so well rested I can even do it. And there’s the key phrase: well-rested.

I’ve been suffering from sleep apnea. I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about it on the blog before because as medical conditions go, it beats the heck out of most of them. Who am I to complain when some of my friends and relatives have diabetes, or are struggling with Alzheimer’s… or are dying of cancer? Annoying as it is to be hooked up to a machine each night, at least I have something manageable that isn’t killing me. As long as it’s treated, sleep apnea isn’t dangerous.

Except that for a good long while it hasn’t been as treatable as it should have been. Around the month I got my book contract for The Desert of Souls I remember being thankful not just for the contract but for the timing of the moment, because I didn’t think I had the energy to write in my spare time any more. Over the last years if I’d had to write in my spare time, I wouldn’t have had the strength. I was convinced that my waning reserve in the evenings was a result of me simply getting older, and that the sleep apena regimen had improved my life as much as it could.

For the last four or five years, I’ve had good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and months… but lately I’ve been tired all the time. Each morning I was waking up feeling like someone does when they’ve put in a full day and are ready to start winding down for the evening.

I have been short tempered with the kids, and my wife. Writing has been difficult. I’ve developed coping strategies to be more patient and polite, and to maintain my productivity, but everything has been an incredible challenge. I’d gotten so used to the condition I didn’t actually remember what it felt like to be well rested, only that I missed it, very much.

Things started turning around this weekend. After some tests, my doctor ordered an adjustment made on the amount of air forced through the machine and down the mask into my lungs. The first morning after the change, I didn’t really feel any different. The second morning, I noticed I felt a little better, but wondered if it was wishful thinking. By the fourth day I suddenly realized how bad I’d really been for so long.

I have been so bad that normal seems superhuman. Just waking up in the morning I feel like I’ve had an energy drink. I don’t have to struggle to sit upright with my shoulders back. I don’t have to strain to focus or pay attention when working or talking to my kids. I’m here, in the present. My default mood is a happy one. It’s as though twenty or more years have been lifted from my shoulders.

Will my razor-sharp instant recall memory return? That remains to be seen. I am 45 now, after all. But I have fingers crossed. I am just delighted to be able to head outside in the evenings to play with my kids without faking interest. And to be able to sit at the computer and plug fiercely away at my prose. My God. I’ve gotten to be a better writer over the last years despite all this, so what will this mean for the work I’m doing currently? What will my productivity be like now that this weight is lifted? Will the right words start coming easily to me again?

I can hardly wait to find out. I can hardly wait to live, again. I am so very, very happy. Thank you, Dr. Cocanower.