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sleepy head

Some of you who know me know that I am a narcoleptic. For those of you who don't, I am.

It's been a fun little problem for me for a while. My best friend Ali has some good stories to tell. She and I used to work together, and she would come into my office on numerous occasions to find me in various states of comatose. Drooling face-down on my desk was the most frequent...but there was the one time where I slid out of my chair and onto the floor-under my desk. She actually thought I had left until she saw my purse and had to search around for me. This was before I was diagnosed, to be sure. Now when she finds me sleeping on the job, it just means I'm drunk.

The diagnoses was a long time coming. I have always seemed to need more sleep than most. I loved naps-even as a child when you were supposed to hate them. As I grew older, though, I suspected that there was something wrong. I would doze off all the time. I would feel sleepy-even after a good night's sleep. I grew a little ashamed - only really lazy slobs slept as much as I wanted to. When I was married, I would sometimes leave work early to take a nap, taking care to set the alarm for 15 minutes before he was going to be home. I would even make sure I used a satin pillow so there would be no tell-tale crease marks on my face.

I was a junkie hiding a nasty little habit. Naps.

I had what seemed like every test known to man. Blood tests for sugar, protein, all manner of levels. I had my thyroid tested. I even went and saw a shrink because everyone kept saying, "Oh, you're just depressed. That's why you sleep so much." Well, after about 4 sessions, she confirmed that I was, indeed, a whack-job...but not a depressed one. No help there. It finally dawned on me that if there was no other medical problem that was causing me to sleep too much...that maybe it was the sleep itself. I scheduled an appointment at a sleep clinic.

A few weeks later, I had my bags packed for "Sleep Camp" (my name, not theirs). I was to check in in the evening, and get hooked up to a fuckton of electrodes. Then I settled in for bed with a camera trained on me (and not in the fun Paris Hilton video way) and machines quietly measuring me. (A Multiple Sleep Latency Test-or MSLT for you brainy types.) The next morning, I was woken up at 7:00 a.m. and was scheduled to take naps at 8, 10, noon, and 2. They basically say, "Go to sleep"...and you try. Being the overachiever I am, in two of the "naps" I fell asleep in under 30 seconds...the other two in under 15 seconds. I entered REM Sleep every time. Yeah, I'm that good.

The nurse informed me upon leaving that the doctor would call me within a few weeks and I would come back for a visit. To my surprise, he called the next day asking, "Um...how do you function?" I actually think I cried with relief at the diagnosis. It is so hard to know that there is something wrong, but not be able to name it. It makes you feel a bit nuts, to be honest. He called in a script that night for Provigil, and said that I needed to start on the medication the next morning. I did, and the change was immediate.  Like many users, I thought that it wasn't working-there was no "high"...no buzz...nothing that I could feel. Until it was 6:00 that night, and I was still awake. And then at 10:00. I fought the urge to stay up later, but had no problem sleeping once I did settle in. It was amazing. I could go on in greater detail about how this diagnoses-and this expensive little drug-changed my life.

But perhaps another time. Because...I told you that story to tell you this story.

I got a pretty good night's sleep on Monday-turning in at a fairly early hour for me, anyhow. I woke up, drank my coffee, and even ate breakfast. As I settled in to work on a client's site, I washed my face, grabbed a Coke, and a Provigil. I was coding away when I heard from the next room the little dog that lives with me having a little dog nightmare. I went over to her, woke her up, and petted her until she calmed down. When I woke up two hours later still curled up on the bed, I was stunned. What the hell? I immediately started to worry. Maybe I am getting worse. Maybe the drug isn't working. Maybe this is all happening again. The mind reeled.

It wasn't until I walked out to the kitchen to grab another Coke that I saw the untaken pill sitting on the counter where I had left it. 

I had to take another nap after that because I was exhausted from kicking my own ass. What a fucktard. 

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