Asleep in bed the other night at 3am, my amazing and compassionate wife straight up open-fist slapped me in the forehead with a SMACK you probably heard. I screamed and sat bolt upright Hollywood movie-style, expecting to discover nothing short of a full-on SWAT team-like home invasion in-progress. But Evie just mumbled, “roll over,” and dozed right back off.
This is the story of my life.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve suffered from allergies: dust, ragweed, grass, cats, dogs, hay, mildew, you name it. And though I’ve endured allergy tests, allergy shots (once a week for many years as a kid), and daily regimens of a drug you can no longer buy over the counter because it’s the primary ingredient in crystal meth, these allergies remain with me to this day, and are typically bearable most times of the year. However, combined with a super-heroesque ability to fall into a deep and coma-like sleep on a dime, and what I am beginning to suspect is a rather narrow nasal passage despite an usually large nose for an adult male, there is one unfortunate side effect: I am a snorer.
Now, while 75% of Americans–including women–snore at some point in the night*, my snoring is different. My snoring has been compared to the chainsawing of redwood, has gotten shoes thrown at my by roommates (plural) in college, has been considered as an alternative alert for the emergency broadcast system, and has many a time been so loud that it’s woken me up in a stupor Sunday-afternoon-grandpa-snooze style.
My wife is a saint, no question, for dealing with the noise equivalent of a sputtering 747 jet engine sleeping next to her every night, and I’ve made nearly every effort to minimize this cacophonous night breathing of mine. I sleep facing away from her–off of my back, which exacerbates the problem–and routinely wake up convinced I’ve had a stroke because I can’t move or feel anything on the right side of my body. I have gone stretches wearing those nasal strips that football players use, which although helpful, are notorious for gunking up pores on and around one’s nose, leading to a lovely, chronic zitty/peely combo skin condition, which complements my blossoming wrinkles nicely. And I will soon be meeting with an ENT doc as well, to see about hollowing out my sinuses or whatever it is they do to improve snoring on the medical side of things, short of wearing one of those Darth Vader-type masks at night.
The bottom line is that I know it sucks, but I don’t do it intentionally. It sucks for me, too, and I hate being the a-hole who’s kept people awake at night my whole life, from summer camp to sleepovers to roommates to sharing a bed with my wife, who’s no doubt deals with the worst of it, night after night. She has worn those earplugs that stadium show roadies wear, she never makes me sleep on the couch, and she’s (mostly) stopped punching me in the middle of the night.
I think this is a part of why I typically try my best to be the last one out and the first one up, that plus the fact there’s always something interesting or necessary to do. All that notwithstanding, sleep is one of my favorite things–I drift off quickly because
I’m chronically overtired and have an eye disease to prove it I enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds and feelings of dreaming, where we get a glimpse of something beyond the mundane, where we get to see the world from a vantage that’s elusive during the day. But not so much when this enjoyment is at the cost of another’s, one whom I love with all my heart. So, I just bought a new pack of nose strips (for Sensitive Skin), and I’ll happily take a smack in the forehead in the middle of the night any day of the week, for the honor of sharing a bed with her.
*I just totally made that up, but I bet you it’s true. Rumor has it you snore, too.