Wednesday, May 24, 2023

...awake at 3am: my CPAP mask and The Yakuza Papers

So this is new: I'm having cause to think of Kinji Fukasaku's Yakuza Papers films in light of my CPAP situation. In particular, the first one, Battles without Honour and Humanity. There is a scene where - as I recall, anyhow - Bunta Sugawara's character has to cut off a finger, to present the severed digit to someone he has offended as a token of apology. (For some reason, he and his friends are doing this in a barn or some other rural location where they are hiding out). He does the deed, laying his hand on a piece of wood, setting the knife to one side of it, and bringing the blade down, severing his pinky - a momentarily distracting thing to do to oneself, I'm sure - then sets to looking for his finger, so as to safeguard it for presentation. It's nowhere to be seen. The scene becomes quite comical, as he and his friends search, mystified, for his missing finger. Where the hell did it go?

It eventually turns out that while no one was looking, a chicken ran off with it. 

Now, all my fingers are presently connected, but to sleep, I wear a ridiculous amount of headgear, including a blindfold to keep the light out, a chin strap to keep my jaw shut, and a CPAP mask over my face, which blows air up my nose to keep my airways open at night. The mask means I don't snore, can breathe effectively. Alas, the people who design CPAP masks - a relatively simple thing, you would think - have done nothing but make them more complicated as the technology has developed. My current mask has seven points where it can fall apart. The magnet - you see it lined in blue below my ear - can come detached on either side (this can and does happen). The velcro strap that holds the magnet on can also come detached. There are two velcro straps holding the headbands to the mask on the top, as well. And there's the nosepiece, which clips in place to the hose by a mechanism that also makes it very easy to remove altogether. Not sure why this is considered an asset, because all it means is, periodically my nosepiece comes off. 

This is exactly what happened tonight. The nosepiece is nowhere to be seen. I was trying to re-assemble my mask, having gotten back to bed after my washroom trip. Erika is still asleep in the bed. Half an hour on my knees on the floor, first groping in the dark by the dim light of my cellphone, then with my actual cellphone flashlight on, has netted no nosepiece. All my extra masks are, I guess, on Vancouver Island - there is no other nosepiece to swap out for, or at least none that I can find without making a major production of it. 

There are no chickens to have run off with it, but there IS a curious kitten who might have picked it up and batted it elsewhere while I was in the toilet. I've searched the hallways to see if maybe it ended up out there.

I'm really tired, I just want to go back to sleep, but I also would like to breathe while I sleep. More restful that way - for Erika too, because otherwise I will snore. 



5:08 addendum: eventually I wake up my wife, more by accident than design - "What's happening?" she murmurs from the blear of sleep as I root around on the floor again with my flashlight, looking for the nosepiece. She tells me to turn on a light if I have to, and covers her head with her blankets (CPAP is good for that). I look under the bed, under the dresser, in a drawer that was open. I find a Dayglo Abortions' pin I did not know I had - a Two Dogs Fucking pin, probably their best album cover before Hate Speech - but no CPAP nosepiece. 

Finally I figure, fuckit, I'll go back to bed anyhow. I'll snore a bit, but I still can sleep, sort of. Just before turning out the lamp, I look down at the floor...

...and there is the nosepiece. It had rolled under the cedar chest - was down where my knees had been, while I was looking near the head of the bed. Only by virtue of giving up and going back to bed do I find it. There is a cheap Zen koan to be fashioned from this experience, if you like. 

Despite having been able to put my mask on, turns out that I'm still awake, two hours later - my brain got jammed into the "on" mode, and sleep was not much assisted by the kitten (who climbed in bed with us about half an hour ago and is now doing windsprints between the bathroom and the living room). Mostly I just had to pee again. But at least my CPAP mask is intact, so that when I try to sleep next, I can.

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