The first sound I hear every morning after I turn off my C-PAP machine is the breathing of my beautiful darling, my wife. We have hugged and snuggled for over forty-two years. Many of those years included my snores every night. Readers might ask, “So what? Sounds like this post is going to be a yawner.” Well, let me explain.
In May 2020, tests at a local sleep clinic concluded I have a condition called extreme obstructive sleep apnea. The diagnosis freed me from almost sleepless nights for over thirty years. Since my diagnosis, I realize how brutal this condition is on one’s body, mind, and heart. I realize I am wounded.
Until my diagnosis, I never heard of “obstructive sleep apnea.” I had heard of “sleep apnea,” but not the “extreme obstructive” type. My Respiratory Therapist at the sleep clinic has educated me on the damage obstructive sleep apnea can cause. This condition is harsh, but the education I have received about it makes sense now regarding what I have suffered with for decades.
There are consequences because of sleep apnea. My biggest adaptation, at least for now, is to accept I have memory and concentration challenges. These challenges are common for people with obstructive sleep apnea. Believe me, this is not fun, but one can adjust and adapt life to these temporary challenges.
I, therefore, welcome adaptive creativity. I used to enjoy researching writing projects and working on them for days at a time. Now my concentration, at least for now, is good for about two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. I need a break in between or else my mind sees too many “shiny things,” my mind wanders.
In my life as a writer, I have embraced adaptive creativity via poetry. I find poetry is easier to focus on. While concentration continues to be a struggle, I can write at least one poem draft per week. I turned to poetry in hopes not only to sharpen my writing skills but also aid in my concentration.
My major writing project this year is my book of poetry I call, Plant Them A Garden: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry. I hope to have the book published this year. I am happy to say I am learning a lot about poetry as this project takes shape. I must persevere and increase my concentration at the same time to bring this project to fruition.
Extreme obstructive sleep apnea caused me to put my life on pause. I saw a need to step back from my writing and evaluate where I want to focus. I mean as a writer, not to write means not to breathe. Well, I love to write and I’m super in love with the ability to breathe.
My journey with extreme obstructive sleep apnea continues, but not as severe as it has been. I thank God I still have an ability to write. I also thank God for InScribe and writer friends. Thank you for a place even wounded writers know they are safe.
PS: No more snoring!
Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017 and Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018. Alan has also written articles for FellowScript Magazine. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca. Alan is the Provincial Rep. Liaison and BC Rep for InScribe.