Sleep problems and other disorders

A lot of people have been asking me why I have fallen off the blog map.
OK, maybe three people have asked but they have been rather persistent. I guess that award-winner on the splendor of Twinkies and other Hostess products two months ago was not enough for you people.
It’s not that I don’t love writing about mostly nothing. There is nothing more freeing for a reporter than to abandon all sense of responsibility and any hint of relevance when she sits down at her computer.
I guess this must be what people get out of tweeting and if I could hiccup in 35 words or less, I might like it. But I mean, really. How could I possibly do justice to the Ho-Ho with those limitations?
So I will now confide in you the real reason I have not blogged much lately.
I’m too tired.

My husband Rick thinks it’s a real problem. Not a medical problem, mind you. That would make him feel really bad if, say, I actually had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It would actually make me feel good to have an excuse for my persistent exhaustion but yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a very serious problem and nothing to joke about and I wouldn’t feel good at all. But I’d like to just have a tiny bit of satisfaction.
I am tired when I wake up, which is when I first start thinking about going back to bed. I fantasize about napping most of the day, even though the rare times when I try, I’m terrible at it. By 3, I am in a daze, completely unable to operate heavy machinery or write a coherent sentence. By 7, I begin planning on going to bed early. And by 7:30, I collapse in a stupor on the couch that lasts for at least 10 minutes until someone needs me.
On weekends, I occasionally try to convince Rick that we should rent a movie and he laughs at me because so far in our 18 and a half years of marriage, I have never stayed awake for an entire movie. But if I’m really persistent, he will usually break down, get a movie I insist we will both enjoy, like maybe “Sex and the City: The Movie” whereupon I watch for approximately seven minutes before falling into a drug-like state that includes drooling and snoring.
Occasionally Rick wins and we get “The Hurt Locker,” both of us thinking that no way can I fall asleep with people getting blown to bits on surround sound, but alas, I didn’t make it to the first casualty.

A week ago, I took my daughter Amanda to an allergist and I ended up making an appointment for myself to come back the following week. I was very excited about this because I have never seen a doctor who asked more questions about a patient’s every twinge and pang and I wanted in.
But I never expected, when I answered his questions about snoring – in my case, apparently loud enough to startle the dog across the street – for him to suggest that I might have a sleep disorder and would be a good candidate for a sleep study.

A sleep study?
I could barely contain myself. I get to sleep and people study me? They encourage me to sleep?
I had a lot of unanswered questions.
Like, “Do they have those Heavenly beds with the comfort pillow tops like Westin hotels?”
“People Magazine? Oreos?”

Not that I necessarilyto have all those things but it would just make it nicer.
Who would be the person watching me? What if it was some really cute guy? Would I have to go buy new pajamas? Not wash off my make-up?
Would I have to wear those sticky electrode things all over my body that would make it difficult to toss and turn the way I usually like to? Would I end up getting even less sleep? That would stink.
With all of these thoughts consuming me, we were watching “The Biggest Loser” the other night when they showed before-and-after videos and in most of the before, contestants were seen either eating in their cars or getting into bed with alien-like oxygen contraptions over their faces.

I looked at Rick.
“Those are for people with sleep disorders,” he said smugly.
I never thought about that. That could really impair my sleep. I thought they’d just study me and tell me I needed to come in on a regular basis and sleep some more for them.
This was not going to work. And worse, it might even keep me awake at night thinking about it. 
Then again, that would give me time to start blogging again.

9 Responses to “Sleep problems and other disorders”

  1. Yvette

    See…that’s what I mean…I can’t watch a movie past 6 minutes…I am always rewinding my “9 o’clock” dramas so that an hour show often takes me 2 to watch…and this morning along with my coffee, and Morning Joe…I read your blog and you made me smile…It is like so many times what you say and do and write reflects things that have happened in my life…it is like you are related to me somehow… maybe a long lost daughter or niece or something! Glad you are back…and if nothing else…(cause I know you are TIRED!)…just let us know you are alright when you have no time to write. Thanks for the smiles this morning.

  2. jon

    i always like to take a nap before bed-
    but seriously, those contraptions can really help. wake up rested, without a headache. possibly no snoring

  3. Dawn

    Before you invest in a C-Pap, if that’s what they tell you you need (warning — they’re really uncomfortable), please talk with my dentist, Dr. Yee (Oak Park). During my checkup last week, he was telling me about a friend of his who snores and tried everything, including the C-Pap and surgery, and nothing worked. Dr. Yee also snores. He and his friend tried a plastic mouth piece that fits over the top and bottom of their teeth and positions the mouth in such a way that keeps them from snoring and keeps them breathing. It’s comfortable and inexpensive. When you stop breathing, that’s what wakes you up (and causes daytime groginess). If you can’t find Dr. Yee on or other onlnie directory, e-mail me and I’ll give you his number.

  4. Don

    Maybe you’re just tired of blogging. The sleeping disorder sounds like an “out,” but could be. I find that having 3 e-mail addresses I too get tired of answering, and I’m not getting the volume that you maybe receiving.
    Good luck in this adventure, and hopefully you will find the real answer.

  5. Margie

    Melissa, glad to hear you’re still around. Maybe you’re bored without the stimulation of deadlines, exciting sports and loads of readers looking for your byline. Maybe you could write a book?

  6. Josh

    I was tired for a year before i got help. I used the mask for a bit, now just use the mouthguard. Went to a “sleep” dentist in Skokie. It helps so much. The sleep studies are fun.

  7. Frank

    Melissa – So nice to read this entry. More so nice to know you are OK. I figured you were tired with family, Espn Sports, by the way as always the columns are great, it is a lot to keep a deadline each day, make sure family doing OK not to mention just finding time for them. We all fall a sleep in movies and sometimes watching TV when sports are on. When we are most relaxed. Good reading again and hope we all hear from you again soon. If we don’t as much as we miss hearing from you, we all understand.

  8. Teresa

    Hi Melissa,
    My husband has had two sleep studies done and tried the c-pap machine and every type of mask they make for it, but he couldn’t adapt to it. He likened it to the description of waterboarding. It forces oxygen into you while you sleep, but he couldn’t sleep with it on, so he sought out a dentist and wears the mouthpiece and no longer snores or feels tired all the time. My suggestion is to try this route first. He wishes he had!

  9. Linda

    Melissa, I am perpetually exhausted and my famly swears I don’t snore unless I have a cold. I think it’s a life stage, triggered by caring for our parents and in-laws while working at increasingly demanding and trying to raise your own kids. My theory is that we dream-wrestle with this angst throughout the night. I wasn’t this tired when my daughter was a newborn. But then, I wasn’t worried about so many different things. I fine that a combination of exercise and wine helps most!
    PS–Love your writing and have missed you.


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