In this ever-evolving genderless world we call the New Enlightenment, to suggest that a husband serves a role as protector of his wife and children is a most politically-incorrect concept, if not outright inflammatory to those feminists among us.
But don’t tell that to my wife.
She readily admits to appreciating this traditional male function. Man is the physically stronger gender, so historically it fell to him to be the first line of defense of his family. But that doesn’t mean the wife has no protective role herself. Mama Bear can become quite fierce when protecting her cubs…and yes, even her husband. And she will quickly pick up the shield when her hubby falls ill.
I confess to believing that just such a moment occurred from the first night of our marriage, a moment that no doubt saved my life or, at the very least, has extended my life expectancy.
My wife’s protective spirit kicked into high gear on our honeymoon in 2017. She admitted to hardly sleeping our wedding night…for all the wrong reasons. During the night, she awoke and noticed I wasn’t breathing. Frightened, she reached over and touched me to see if I had died in my sleep. Throughout the night, she continued to notice frequent pauses in my breathing for alarmingly long stretches of time. Refusing to believe she married a man who did not need oxygen, she stayed awake and listened to me sleep, fearing every breath would be my last. The next morning, her first words were, “Did you know that…”
That was right before she took a nap.
When we returned home, she persuaded me to seek medical help for my breathless moments in bed. I say “persuaded” because that sounds so much better than “demanded” or “insisted.” Mama Bear had reared up and spoken. As she noted, “I didn’t marry you for you to up and die on me!” Resistance, I soon discovered, was futile.
I made an appointment to see a Sleep Specialist.
The proper term for my condition is called Sleep Apnea. I knew little about it, just enough to know that people with it often used devices called CPAP machines. Ugh! Not for me, I thought. My doctor said otherwise.
After testing me, the doctor explained how he assesses the severity of sleep apnea by measuring a person’s AHI, or Apnoea-Hypopnoea Index. This AHI indicates the number of apnea events per hour, apneas being those times when a person pauses in breathing for at least 10 seconds, the result being a decrease in blood oxygenation. Normal is five events or less per hour. My AHI was 32 with some pauses lasting as long as forty-seconds. No wonder my wife spent our honeymoon listening to my every breath.
My sleep apnea results were considered so severe, that once discovered, my doctor called to tell me not to wait for my follow-up appointment, but to go immediately and pick up my CPAP equipment. Do not wait, do not argue, do it. Apparently, my brain needs all the oxygen it can get. No doubt some of you may think, after reading my blog posts, that my brain is still oxygen-deprived. Hah!
Nevertheless, I am here to admit to the blogosphere that I have jumped on the CPAP bandwagon. CPAP is no longer a dirty word or an irritating commercial on daytime television. After just a few days on my CPAP machine, I awoke more refreshed than I had in years. I am waking up less during the night and sleeping longer and more deeply. Better yet, the doctor said my AHI had fallen from a dangerous 32 to a healthier level of 3. I told my wife that when I wear the CPAP paraphernalia, our bed might look like it’s been invaded by aliens, but, fear not, it’s just me. “No problem,” she said, “I can sleep with an alien like you!”
I think she loves me.