MT VOID 02/09/01 (Vol. 19, Number 32)

MT VOID 02/09/01 (Vol. 19, Number 32)

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
Club Notice - 02/09/01 -- Vol. 19, No. 32

Table of Contents

Outside events: The Science Fiction Association of Bergen County meets on the second Saturday of every month in Upper Saddle River; call 201-447-3652 for details.

Chair/Librarian: Mark Leeper, 732-817-5619,
Factotum: Evelyn Leeper, 732-332-6218,
Distinguished Heinlein Apologist: Rob Mitchell,
HO Chair Emeritus: John Jetzt,
HO Librarian Emeritus: Nick Sauer,
Back issues at
All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.

Sleep Apnea:

Quoting from "Snoring can be a sign of a sometimes dangerous condition called sleep apnea. Having sleep apnea means that you have periods of no breathing, sometimes as long as 30 seconds, when you are sleeping. This can happen many times during the night. It often interrupts your sleep and can prevent you from getting good- quality sleep. These episodes of no breathing cause you to get less oxygen and can sometimes have fatal complications, such as heart rhythm problems. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, being constantly fatigued, and frequently falling asleep during the day. If you have these symptoms, you need to see your health care provider promptly."

Years ago I read about sleep apnea and its symptoms. My first thought was, gee, that's what I have. I have always snored and occasionally felt uncomfortable trying to breathe. I remember hearing my father snore and he would stop breathing for short intervals. It seemed the natural way people snore. But the treatment seemed to be taking a night in a sleep research center. How many people go and become test subjects? I imagined myself going to bed in a room with a large glass mirror and have a team of scientists in white lab coats watching me from the other side of the glass. It all had a feeling of unreality. I never expected I would be doing that. It just did not seem the kind of treatment I usually get for myself.

Everything I had heard about the problem told me I could be a poster child for the problem, so I mentioned it to my doctor and the next thing I knew I had a referral for one of these studies. Apparently these sleep studies are done reasonably often. I have recently found out that of about fifteen people in my work group, at least two have been diagnosed with sleep apnea before me. I have to check this out but it seems to be very closely associated with snoring so that there do not seem to be a high proportion of people who snore but do not have sleep apnea. I guess it is almost like Alzheimer's Disease. When I was growing up senility was considered just a normal part of some people's aging. Now it has been separated out as a disease. Similarly, there is at least a very strong correlation between the common problem of snoring and the problem of sleep apnea and I wonder if almost they are now the same thing. But I don't need anybody in a white lab coat to tell me I snore. Evelyn does that quite frequently enough, thank you. Nobody likes someone who snores. When Evelyn falls asleep in front of friends the reaction is "Aw, look at that. She fell asleep." When I do the reaction is "WAKE HIM UP, SOMEBODY," accompanied with a sharp jab. Evelyn even dropped ice down my shirt to wake me up once. Once.

I had been dreading the drive to the hospital all day. Outside of actually storming this was the worst possible driving weather. There were about four inches of melting snow on the ground and it drizzled all day. That laid down a carpet of very thick fog. My appointment at the sleep center at Riverview, a local hospital--why was I expecting it would be at a university?--at 9:15 PM. It felt unreal leaving home alone in the middle of the evening not to return until early the next morning. And adding to the confusion and strangeness was the thick, heavy fog.

The headlights lit a space maybe fifteen feet in front of the car and beyond that only lights could be seen. It shut down to ten when I got to the Holmdel, which was basically low-lying farmland. Now the stretch of road between the Holmdel and Lincroft facilities was part of the route to the hospital. For several years this was part of my normal drive to work. I had driven this road in many conditions, but never in so thick a fog at night. I had no way of knowing where I was on the road. Basically I could see a little of the road itself and whether it was a driveway or a road next to me, maybe a light a little further away, but little else. My sense of distance was all the more inaccurate for the slow speeds I was traveling.

I told myself that I would see my left turnoff as I got near Lincroft but as I continued to drive and drive and drive and it did not show up. There were roads I had traveled hundreds of times, and it was surprising how unsure of them I was in the fog. Again I could not find the turnoff and I headed up what apparently was the wrong road, but would lead to an alternate route. The only thing to do was turn around and see if I could find my turnoff. But again it was almost impossible to see side roads. Making matters worse, there was a car behind me, impatient of my creeping. Again I did not see my turnoff, and while nothing else would have been familiar about the road, I should have see a road going off to my right.

This was great. I really should not be driving in this weather. If I did not have an appointment I would not drive at all in these conditions. But the driving would get worse. I will continue next week. [-mrl]

Quote of the Week:

    Intimidated people always say they are not intimidated.
    That is the nature of intimidation.
                                   -- Alan Dershowitz