Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Bridge closure

It's time to put a closure to the story of our new bridge (not closure of this blog!).

For nine months it has been a regular feature of neighborhood conversations. A typical chat would go like this: "Hi, Neighbor! How are y'all doing this week?" (answers varied: Mary is sick, Stan lost his job, I'm looking for a new job, we're doing great, etc) followed by more in depth conversation....

"So how's your son in the Coast Guard?"

"He's on ship off the coast of Florida this week, loving it."

Keeping up with our children's lives is an important topic no matter how old they grow. I think those of us whose kids have grown up and moved away have adjusted well to their absence because we have friends and neighbors who remember to ask about them, and who truly appreciate the little stories we pass on to them, knowing that they will pass on the story to another neighbor. It's a living 'grapevine' I have respect and gratitude for.

"Have you heard about Mrs. Neighbor?" We often share what we know about our most senior neighbors as well, the ones we've come to know and love over the years, the ones we will be missing soon enough. Whether they still live in their homes nearby, or further away in a home care facility, we need to know how they are doing. There is a warm feeling of true neighborliness as we find out who needs a visit, a phone call, a hug... who is celebrating a life transition, or who is mourning one. When tragedy strikes one of our neighbors, you can be sure the rest of us will be there for support and comfort. But our greatest strength is that we are there. I find comfort just knowing that my neighbors are there, a holler or phone call away.

Finally, the conversation, whether it was personally in depth or cautiously distant, always got around to "The Bridge."

"So, have you seen the new bridge lately?"
"Yeah, I walked down there last week... they're making good progress...."
"Yeah, what the heck is taking them so long to finish it? Think they'll be done before the May date?"

But the most shocking, if not surprising, news was when we learned:

"Have you heard how much our new bridge is costing us (via taxes and other funding)?... a million dollars."

"Aiyeee! They could have built two bridges for that kind of money!"

But we love our new bridge, and that's all I'm going to say about that!

I wanted to have these pictures embedded throughout the text, but could not move them. I'm thinking there's something about this blogger program that I'm not using... if one of my blogging friends could enlighten me as to how to do this, I'd be ever grateful.

BTW, the sleep study was successful, as I got enough sleep. I'll get results from my doctor, but the sleep technician did say my oxygen levels dropped as I slept, so there will be changes in my sleeping habits in the future for me.

For the first time I am posting from my son's apartment! I knew I'd love having a laptop.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mid-Life Transitions, Snoring, and the Sleep Study

Uh, Hi All!

I am a little bit disoriented coming back like this.

I feel like I owe an explanation for my absence this past year. Demands of the school year and the unpredictable, time-consuming ways of an old computer combined to interfere with my blogging routine. Despite being disgruntled about not having time to blog, nor the desire once my computer started misbehaving, I was able to turn my attentions to other things, other thoughts. Long reaching thoughts.

Mid-Life Transitions... the new bridge that was built down the road from my neighborhood (less than a mile away) this year has become a metaphor of life for me and my neighbors, in more ways than we can count. I started blogging about the same time workers began tearing down the old bridge (in August 2008). We were all looking forward to the completion of the new bridge because it was going to take nine months for them to complete it, and that's a lot of extra driving to and from work each day. With gas prices rising dramatically during this time, we were not very happy. The bridge was finished on schedule in May. We've rejoiced at having our trips to town shortened, as well as having a shiny new (albeit costly) bridge to drive over. I still haven't gotten a picture to post. I don't know why I haven't walked down there to take the photo. I'll set the goal for tomorrow.

I can't ignore it any longer, I am definitely experiencing mid-life changes. On the outside it looks like I'm cleaning house. I started cleaning out my attic three months ago. If I'd been bloggin every day I would never have tackled that job. It was my goal to clear out the attic of anything we have no use for, anything we haven't used in the past three years, and anything we didn't think our son would care to inherit. We've been married 34 years. Accumulate has been our middle names. Well, more mine than his.

Motivation for tackling this major work came from the thought that one day my husband and I would either be dead or incapable of climbing the ladder that leads into the attic. I just couldn't bear thinking of who would have to climb up there and take all of our (mostly) junk down to either sell it or burn it or give it away. Rather than burden our friends and family with that chore, I decided to do it myself. I'm healthy now. I can walk, run, climb ladders. I'm the one who put the stuff up there, I should be the one to take it down again. Clothes, shoes, books (the ones I really don't need), dishes, tapes, old record player, etc went into boxes. Over a period of several weeks, I was able to donate mucho, mucho things in great condition to the Good Samaritan Thrift Shop, things that someone else might need more than I. I didn't want to bother with a yard sale... that would have been more work on a weekend than I'd care to do.

I hadn't realized how liberating cleaning out the attic would be! The cleaning and clearing-out frenzy continued for several months, while that new bridge was being built, and soon I was cleaning out the basement level of our home. Then the garage. By the time the school year was over, I was ready to do some 'clearing and cleaning' in the attic of my body: the mind/brain. I told my doctor I was having trouble sleeping at night, feeling tired all day, yawning excessively (embarrassing) at meetings. But the one symptom that perked her ears was when I said "I snore."

There, I'm out. I'm a snorer. Haven't always been. It's a new development over the past ten years. My husband (of 34 years) didn't tell me about if for the longest time. He let me complain and joke about his snoring all these years, but never made a big deal that I snored. He said it didn't bother him. But lately it has gotten louder. And now it's interfering with his sleep. Ironically, he doesn't snore anymore... after he lost 30 pounds several years ago, he stopped snoring. Now I'm the snorer in the family. It's embarassing. But more importantly, it's interfering with both of our sleeping needs. That's when I decided to tell my doctor.

She said I may have sleep apnea. I thought that was only for people who held their breath in their sleep. She said (here's how I understand what she said) that I wake up because I hear myself snore, and when I wake up with a start, with a "snort" of sorts, that's when I'm taking a breath. She said I'm possibly not getting enough oxygen at night, that my brain is waking me up to breathe. The only way she can know for sure is if I come in for a sleep study.

That's where I'll be tonight. Just like Regis did on TV. All those wires taped to my head and face, my chest wrapped in wires, my legs... how does anyone sleep with all those taped on wires? I guess I'll find out tonight.

But I am curious to see how much REM I get at night, and I'll ask them if they can show me what my dreams look like on paper. So though I'm a bit anxious about my comfort tonight, I am excited that I'll get some information about my sleeping patterns, at least for one night.

If you have been part of a sleep study, and you have a CPAP machine, I would like to know what you think of it. Either leave a comment, or send me an email. I want to know if it's worth it, do you use it every night? Is it loud? Did you stop snoring? Please let me know!!