(Note: A few years ago I had to have a Sleep Study done, which I wrote about on Sarah’s site. However, just this past week, I got to thinking about that whole experience again and the thinking made me giggle and the giggling made me decide to share the (slightly re-written) story here on Smithellaneous, too. We can all use a good laugh!)
My Giggling, Pig Snorting, Sleep Study Story
Since I had no idea what to expect, I was just slightly nervous as I drove toward my Sleep Study appointment. When I arrived--favorite pillow in hand—the first thing I discovered was that it takes about ninety minutes just to get all the monitors and sensors attached. My tech guy had stuff laid out everywhere and all of it eventually had to be attached somewhere to my person.
This is only about half of the stuff-to-be-attached.
At 10:30 pm, when he had finally finished wiring me up, I asked for one last trip to the bathroom before the final plug-in procedure took place. When I got to the bathroom (trailing numerous wires behind me) and saw myself in the mirror, I broke out into laughter.(I’ll let the laughter die down a bit before moving on.)
After I had finished giggling at myself, I took my strange looking little self to the bed and arranged my tired, wired self upon it. The technician got all my wires plugged into a large, mysterious looking receptacle and then told me that he would step into the adjacent control room and give me some instructions over a speaker about calibrating the equipment before the actual sleeping commenced.
I lay there feeling oh-so-foolish, not to mention oh-so-self-conscious as I followed his instructions to roll my eyes to the left and then to the right, to open and then close my mouth, and to take a few deep breaths and let them out. I obeyed the instructions as well as I could, even though I felt incredibly goofy, lying there looking like an apparition from a low budget science fiction flick.
Everything was going along as well as could be expected until my technician pal said to me over the room speaker, “Now I would like you to please make a noise like you’re snoring.” (I guess he had to make sure that the “snoring sensors” were in the right place.)
Well, it took me just a moment to fully assimilate that request because no one has ever asked me to “make a snoring noise” before. (Just for fun, try to make a noise like you’re snoring. It wasn’t easy, was it? And didn’t you feel like giggling, just a little?)
When I realized he waiting patiently for me to comply with this relatively simple request, I finally took the plunge and launched forth into my very best snoring effort. Unfortunately, my sample snore came out sounding very much like the unattractive sound that a portly pig might emit while rooting around in the mud.
Well, that sound escaping from my very own mouth, coupled with the surreal experience of being wrapped in wires and lying on a bed at 10:30 at night while being observed through video cameras by two strangers --it all just struck me as being incredibly funny.
And unfortunately, the more I thought about my perfectly executed “pig snort,” the funnier it got. It didn’t take too many more moments of “pig snort pondering,” before my weird looking, wired up self was inexorably overtaken by uncontrollable giggles.
That would have been perfectly fine except for one small thing. The sort of funny-ish, pig snorting, calibrating moment—the moment where a little laughter might have been appropriate--had already come and gone. In fact, it was already several minutes gone.
So in the minds of the technicians, there was no reason in the world why their wire-wrapped guinea pig should suddenly start chuckling cheerily in the midst of their sober and scientific calibrations.
It got very quiet in the control room and then I heard a worried voice inquire over the speaker, “Um. Are you okay, miss?”
I could just picture them calling the hospital across the street and asking them to send one of their psych people over (STAT!) to evaluate this odd woman who was lying on the bed laughing for no apparent reason.
I eventually got myself back under control and the reassured techs finished up their little round of calibrations and then turned off the lights in my room.
It was then that the pressure started. It was then that I realized it was up to me to produce some sleep. So that it could be studied. Which, after all, was the whole reason I was even there.
I did my very best. Really, I did. I tried my utmost to be a calm, cooperative patient. I lay there quietly. I attempted to think peaceful, sleepy thoughts. I tried to take deep, relaxing breaths. Everything was going along fairly well, all in all.
But then? Then a crisis came calling. A crisis in the form of a pig snort.
Yes indeedy, before I could stop it, that whole “snorting pig” thing hit me again, full force. And then the funny image of myself in the bathroom mirror added itself to the “snorting pig” memory and I proceeded to guffaw merrily for several long moments. Too late, it occurred to me that every single bodily response I produced during the overnight hours would be recorded (on hundreds of computer pages) and then minutely examined by highly analytical medical persons.
I belatedly realized that the little machines in the control room were probably going crazy and the graphing needles were probably flying all over the place as the two technicians looked worriedly at each other and started wondering again about calling the psych team.
I could hear the conversation now. “Hello? Um, we are currently working with the strangest subject we have ever studied, the only woman in the history of our sleep clinic who makes pig snorts and then bursts out laughing several minutes later for no reason whatsoever, even when nothing is funny.”
Well, I am to happy to report that I finally got myself settled down. However, all of that laughing followed by all of my frantic attempts to stifle said laughter had caused me to feel just a wee bit hyper--so hyper in fact, that I had one of the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had. I lay awake for at least an hour, drifted off, popped back awake (trying valiantly not to think of pig snorts), lay there again, drifted off briefly, and woke back up.
I finally got into a deep sleep at about 3 am, only to have a happy voice chirp over the speaker at 5:30, “Good morning!”
The technician came into the room to unwire me and as he did so, he said that they had been able to record some things "of interest." (Which was probably a scientific term for the recording of a wacked out patient’s uncontrolled giggles.)
I got back home at about 7 am and found Steve eating breakfast and Sarah packing her school lunch. They asked me how it went and when I started telling them the “pig snort” story, I got tickled all over again.
Sarah regarded me with concerned but cheerful alarm while Steve looked at me and said, “Becky dear, I think you might need to go on to bed.” (He’s been married to me long enough to recognize the signs of sleep deprivation.)
So off to bed I went and slept deeply till 11 am, reveling in the fact that there were no tubes stuffed up my nose, straps wrapped around my chest and stomach, or wires extending from my limbs.
And the best part? If I wanted to think about a pig snort and laugh, I could.
And so I did.
Quick note about yesterday’s post:
It has occurred to me that I might have stated a little over dramatically the “liver damage” possibility connected with taking a toenail fungus medication.
Actually, what the doctor said was that I should have blood work done halfway through the round of medicine just to make sure the liver was processing the medicine well. If it wasn’t, I would just discontinue the medicine.
But no actual liver damage would be done.
Which is a good thing.
Okay. I’m done.