The price of a good night’s sleep

I’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea since 1999.  At the time I was having trouble staying awake during the day and more than once while driving I almost fell asleep behind the wheel.  After the second instance of that happening, my wife suggested I see my GP, since there might be a major problem going on. That, and since I do the bulk of the driving for our family, she wanted to be sure getting from A to B wasn’t going to be a problem going forward.

Even though it was 20 years ago, I still remember the conversation I had with my GP.  He quizzed me about a few things, and then suggested that sleep apnea might be the cause of my problem.  He recommended something called a ‘sleep study’ and scheduled me to go to a hospital near us to have the procedure done.  I didn’t know anything about it at the time, but when I got to the place at 10 in the evening, I was in for a bit of a surprise.

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Jim Kirk is a dick

Last night I was watching an episode of Star Trek: TOS (The Original Series) called ‘The Lights of Zetar’.   In it, the crew of Enterprise is facing down another potential disaster (when do they ever not?) in the form of an alien community that is intent on kidnapping and occupying a human female who just happens to have a trait that makes them all compatible.  As it happens, our intrepid Chief Engineer ‘Scotty’ is also smitten with the woman.

Late in the episode, for some reason, Kirk has come up with a plan to kill or vacate the community of aliens from the young woman, without killing the woman in the process.  Of course, what he’s come up with (without consulting any known ‘expert’ in any field despite having a ship full of them) just happens to be dangerous to the crewperson, if reality ever played a part.  His hackneyed plan is to put the woman in a pressure chamber and increase the pressure to the point where the aliens either remove themselves from her body, or are destroyed in the process.

During the course of this ‘treatment’ his CMO (Chief Medical Officer) tells him he needs to be ‘careful’, because the pressure might very well damage the woman in the chamber.  Certainly a valid point, since increasing atmospheric pressure quickly can damage a human.  Kirk, who at this point apparently could care less, is more intent on ‘saving his ship’ and orders his First Officer (Spock) to keep going.  By the time the procedure works it’s magic, the reading on the pressure chamber says 30 atmospheres.  Just for the hell of it, I looked it up online and discovered that while the human body -can- withstand the force of up to 10 atmospheres if they’re breathing just oxygen, once the pressure increases by much more, the oxygen they’re breathing quickly becomes toxic and the person in question will die.

So essentially, Kirk just ordered his crewperson to die in order to save her.  Sort of like an inept safe cracker ‘killing the money’ by blowing up the safe.

I realize this is all science fiction and the writers of the series didn’t put much stock into doing much research into what they were writing about.  Certainly a lot more things about Star Trek don’t make sense when you start delving into the science of space travel or just plain living in a space environment.  This just rubbed me the wrong way.  And yes, there are a lot more other things that Jim Kirk is a dick about.  This is just one.

Donuts are not just for eating

As I get older, I’ve been finding myself encountering physical maladies that I’ve never had to deal with before.  Certainly one recently has given me pause about things like driving long distances, something I never really gave much thought about.

It started as a slight twinge in my right posterior (or gluteus maximus if you will) while I was at work.  A slight pull in that area, when I bent over to pick something up off the floor.  It didn’t hurt sharply, it just twinged.  I didn’t think anything about it until a few days later when it happened again.  Still didn’t pay it much mind.  A week or so later my wife and I were driving about 90 minutes north on an errand and I discovered I was having trouble sitting still for a long period of time in the car.  My butt hurt, so I had to continually readjust how I was sitting in the seat, trying to make the pain go away.  I was never very successful, but discovered that after driving about 20 minutes, I needed to readjust.  Repeatedly.

I already have lower back pain and have had it for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been going to a chiropractor for the last five years, after having tried several others in the area, all of which said that they weren’t able to do anything to help me.  The one that I’ve been going to wasn’t negative at all, and insisted that he could be of help.  And honestly he has.  I definitely don’t hurt in the same places where I used to, but chiropractic isn’t something that’s a cure, it’s an ongoing thing.  Has to be done about once a month or once every 5 weeks, just to put things back in place, or be ‘readjusted’.  I mentioned to him about this pain that I’d been having, and (naturally) after only having consulted ‘Dr. Google’ did I suggest that perhaps sciatica was the cause of the pain, because (duh) it fit the symptoms.  Of course, he neither confirmed nor denied my self-diagnosis, he checked me out as he always does before doing the adjustment and said that he would pay particular attention to that area, and see if he could alleviate the pain that I was feeling.  I’ve been through two adjustments since first noticing the pain, and I can’t say that there’s been marked improvement.

Over the last several weeks I’ve been using a cushion on my chair here that I use for sitting in front of my computer.  It’s helped somewhat, but it’s not really designed for more than cushioning the whole bottom of me and the chair as well.  Last week I purchased a ‘donut’ from Amazon, a cushion, well…in the shape of a donut.  It says that it’s supposed to help with sciatica pain as well as a host of other similar maladies, the design of it is supposed to change the way you sit, so you’re a bit more upright, and it takes the pain away from your tailbone, sciatic nerve, whatever.  I had a Dr appointment this past Friday and my GP seems to believe what I’m experiencing in the bottom is sciatica, at least from what the symptoms I related to him.  Hence, the donut.

I’m hoping that the pain goes away in time.