Yesterday I got the news. I had failed. There was good news with the bad. I had averaged six and a half hours a night during the past six months with the blessed Bi-PAP machine. My number of apnea incidents per hour had reduced by… three. Whoopee! The resulting total made it three times the acceptable goal. My fifth mask had done pretty well. It usually let me sleep an hour before waking me. Unfortunately my face is evidently misshapen from what any of the existing masks fit. The neurologist’s verdict—a fail.
It is not easy to accept failure. I never failed a course. That ‘B’ in English the freshman year in high school, and in Biology in my sophomore year in college, were had to take, but in my defense I suffered with a kidney stone and infection during that college semester. I was never fired from a job, and when one job ended I always had another one to go to. I married one of the most helpful, loving, and gracious persons in the world, and we had two wonderful children who found terrific spouses, and we have three fantastic grandchildren who amaze us with their accomplishments, and they all still love me. At least they do everything to make me think they do. Somehow I have survived illnesses and close calls and the deaths of people close to me, and to faith goes the credit, but I made it through. I have made many mistakes and people have for the most part forgiven me and let me know that. I have enjoyed a long career that was, if not successful, at least fulfilling and rewarding in every way that I could expect. I consider myself to be one of the richest, most fortunate people who have ever lived, even without winning a lottery. Why buy a ticket? I can donate directly to the schools.
The money that my insurance companies have spent could have helped someone who really needed it. It could have bought a new car. (Not for me. I didn’t really need a new car.)
I am pretty tired of the Bi-Pap machine, but I will continue to use it until something else replaces it. I cannot remember sleeping so badly for months at a time, and feeling so exhausted because of it. I am cured of the sin of looking forward to bedtime. The initial hopes of reduced angina and arrhythmia have given way to just being glad I do not bother my wife with snoring as much as I did. That is probably enough, come to think of it.
One is supposed to learn from failure; it is respected as a great teacher. Next on the agenda is an “oral appliance.” I will make a call to the installer now. I have been delaying long enough.