So I'm feeling heavy and sad at the moment, so naturally I'm making a huge negative out of something that promises to be largely positive, by which I mean a tentative-yet-almost-certainly-correct diagnosis of severe sleep apnea.
I waited months for an appointment at the sleep clinic at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. And of course I almost didn't go because why NOT get incredibly pessimistic and assume that it won't help at the last minute? The psychiatrist/sleep specialist guy was AWESOME. Not dismissive, not supercilious, not humourless (all things I've come to expect from medical specialists). There was a long set of forms to fill out and an exhaustive interview about family medical history, my history of depression and anxiety, the fact that I display allergy symptoms but the allergist says I'm not allergic to anything (this doctor said: "just because you're not allergic to anything in his little needles doesn't mean you're not allergic to anything" - HA!). Then at the end of this he spent thirty seconds looking in my mouth and said, "Huh. Your palate is the size of the average eight-year-old's. And your tongue is actually fairly small, but enormous in comparison. I'll eat my stethoscope if you don't have severe sleep-breathing issues."
So there. Years and years and years of never waking up feeling rested, of not being able to drag myself out of bed unless I absolutely have to, and feeling like a zombie when I did. I have my overnight assessment at the end of September and then likely will be provided with a CPAP machine. And it could all get better. The doctor said this probably developed when I hit puberty. I said "cripes, I could have been a brain surgeon". I was joking.
But today my thinking is a jumble of stuff like this: how stupid am I that I didn't do this years earlier; what if it doesn't work and things stay the same; I've always suspected that the sleep stuff is all tied up with my depression and weight stuff, but what if it's not; how much of my life have I wasted sleeping. I could have been a better mother, a better student, a better worker, a better person.
In other words, it's an ugly knotted tangle of being afraid that the treatment won't work and being afraid that it will work.
Let me approach these concerns rationally. None of my doctors suspected this condition or suggested the sleep clinic despite years of hearing about how I never felt rested when I woke up - they just gave me sleeping pills. Sleep clinics weren't even on my radar until recent years, and if they were then they were for people who had REAL problems (whatever those were). There is every chance that things could improve, but it won't be a magic bullet, so I shouldn't expect to suddenly be Suzie Sunshine or lose thirty pounds, and THAT'S OKAY.
I've been joking since my appointment that when anyone bugs me about sleeping late I can just say "I have a medical condition" now, but the truth is no one really does. My husband is sweet and understanding about it and my kids have never known me to be any other way - they just know that I'm going to be not much use to them in the early morning, and we figure out how to mange that. I did realize shortly after describing the condition to Angus as a breathing obstruction and then said I wasn't going for the overnight assessment for a couple of months that I had just intimated to my anxious child that I don't get oxygen at night, so I assured him that I wouldn't die before then, which was good because I'm pretty sure he would have been parked beside my bed to make sure I was breathing otherwise.
So I need to settle the fuck down. My life hasn't been a waste because of this, and treatment is just a good thing.
Besides, I'm pretty great even at half-speed. Maybe I would have been just Too Much Awesome for the world without this.