I hear how people “brag” about what a “great” (?) snorer they are!
“I can beat EVERYONE at a snoring contest, and proud of it.😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣”
“I’m sure I am off key. Once a roommate heard me in the back bedroom when he was at the front door and thought…WTH is that?!?”
Lemme give you a few REAL examples…
> > My Dad was absolutely the worst snorer in the world!
Or so I thought.
I can clearly remember when he’d fall asleep in his chair in the living room, listening to music or watching TV. He was always such a hard-working man so I actually viewed it as a badge of honor.
Well, one day, my wife & I popped in unexpectedly to see my parents. My Dad was asleep in his chair. Mom was going to wake him up, but I asked her to just wait a few minutes.
And we listened.
I commented about how loud he was. He also covered the complete vocal spectrum…from the deepest of basses to the highest of sopranos!
*insert joke here…No, he was a Joe, not a Tony!*
But mostly, he settled in as a baritone. “That snoring could be the worst…and the best…in the entire world!!!”, I commented.
My wife just burst out laughing…uncontrollably!
“Babe, you are a 1,000 times worse than your Dad!!! There’s absolutely no comparison whatsoever! You are so much louder & most times, it is scary. You’ll stop suddenly & I hafta check to see if you’re still breathing!”
I was completely stunned.
> > For the longest time, ever since I was about 15, 16 years old, I had problems with my neck.
It actually started AFTER I went to my baseball coach’s brother-in-law who was a chiropractor back in Brooklyn.
I hurt my right elbow pitching & it actually prevented me from playing centerfield, too! I couldn’t throw at all (somehow, flipping the ball underhanded wasn’t good enough) and the pain was so bad that I couldn’t swing the bat, either.
After he manipulated my elbow (nope, didn’t work!)…
…he then stuck his finger in the
webbing between my thumb & my index finger and squeeeeezed the nerve there continuously. (Note: The pain he caused was unbearable & actually brought me to tears! His reasoning? “It’ll take your mind off the pain in your elbow!” Bullshit! Now my elbow AND my hand hurt like hell!)…
Then, he started cracking my body!
I heard noises emanating from my shoulders, my upper & lower back, and my neck that I never, ever imagined was humanly possible!
Initially, I felt absolutely great. Not sure if it was partially psychological &/or mentally induced, but I felt so much “looser & free”!
The fallout of all this cracking nonsense was that I developed some very, very bad habits, especially regarding my neck.
I would grab myself in this distorted headlock & pull.
And I’d get my neck to crack, pretty loudly, I might add.
(For you old-time baseball fans, I resembled the great Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder, Roberto Clemente, coming up to bat.)
The problem was that I’d do it multiple times a day. It became an “uncontrollable” habit.
Years later, around the age of 40, I started getting this numbing pain in my right shoulder. The funny part is that it would ONLY hurt me when I was standing or sitting, doing nothing, or when I was lying down, trying to sleep.
But I would have no problem bowling or golfing or shooting pool. In fact, whenever I drove our van, I would have to place my right hand up against the roof for the pain to subside.
Finally, I went to my doctor (Dr. Sybil Morgan, a very accomplished & experienced professional) & she sent me for an MRI.
That, in & of itself, was an experience!
The MRI lady asked if I needed a shot of Valium &/or a blindfold.
“Well, some patients experience anxiety with the MRI & this helps to calm them down!”
I gave her my very best “Do I look like a wussy? I’m a 💪🏼 mighty, mighty man!!!” look.
…as soon as I laid down on the conveyor belt & realized that I was going in headfirst – – into this head-eating monster thingie – – I freaked out!
The paper gown I was wearing instantly became soaked with sweat & adhered to my body!
I sat up & asked if I could go in feet first.
“Well, I guess I’ll take that Valium then!”
“OK. And I’ll get you a fresh gown, too!”
About a week later, as Dr. Morgan read the technician’s report & looked at my pics, she turned to me & commented, “It looks like you have the neck of an 85 year old!”
I was taken aback somewhat, but I managed to respond with “Well, thank you so much, Doc!”, replete with the required sarcasm, followed by, “Do you think I should give it back to him?”
She referred me to one of the top neurosurgeons in San Antonio.
A couple of weeks later, I go to see him & bring my MRI pics with me.
The dude is dead serious, even for a rather “young guy” (= anyone not as old as me). His Dad was SA’s best neurosurgeon in his day…I love going to specialists whose Dads were in the same field.
(Just like my retina specialist who’s performed miracles for me with my diabetic retinopathy. Although I’m now legally blind, all the damages was done before I finally began seeing him in November of 2015 after moving back to San Antonio.
For several years before that, I wasn’t taking care of myself at all…eating like an idiot, rarely measuring my blood sugar & not regularly taking my insulin, including none at all for almost 2 years!
No one to blame but myself, though my primary care physicians in Nebraska, Florida & Ohio NEVER referred me to an eye specialist for laser treatments like Dr. Morgan in SA always did!)
He’s putting up my MRI photos onto that light machine (like doctors do with x-rays) & examining them when I mention to him, “Dr. Morgan said I had the neck of an 85 year old. Can you imagine that?!?”
Without missing a beat, he turns around, says “She’s right!”, then goes back to examining the pics.
(Note: Normally, cracking your body parts…neck, fingers, back, etc….will NOT cause you any permanent or lasting damage – – as long as you don’t do anything “unnatural”, e.g., strain or excessively pull on that body part. And, yes, the self-headlock maneuver is considered unnatural.)
There was nothing he could do for me surgically. Apparently, I had absolutely no cartilage whatsoever in my neck (just like in my knees).
He recommended physical therapy.
I soon began a twice-weekly program, hoping for the best, expecting nothing.
At one of my sessions, my therapist set me up for some traction.
(If you’re never had this done, you lie down & they strap your head into a “harness”. There’s a chain attached to the top of the harness (at the top of your head) and to a machine with will pull, then release on the chain.
In effect, your head is pulled away from your body, thus “stretching out” your neck!
I know it’s sounds like some sadistic, medieval torture device, but it’s really not that bad!
I get strapped into one of these “tools of the Spanish Inquisition”. He turns it on to observe for a minute & says that he’ll return when the session is over.
Despite this thing tugging away at my head, I fall asleep on the table! Thank God I didn’t hafta drive it or anything.
Well, sleeping leads to snoring!
Apparently, a few minutes later, he came running back, along with an assistant, as he thought something terrible had happened.
Everyone in the place heard this horrendous, blood-curdling noise & thought the traction machine had malfunctioned & was either grinding its gears or trying to eat me!
But there I was, just snoring away.
After he woke me & explained what happened, I felt so embarrassed!
And, no, the therapy & the traction didn’t help me at all!
> > In the late ’90s, Laurie, Heather & I flew back to NY for a visit with the families.
We went on TWA, switching planes at their main hub in St. Louis. The flights were fine & we really enjoyed ourselves in NY.
On the return flights home, however, the NY-to-St. Louis leg was completely booked so, as a result, we couldn’t all sit together. As it turned out, Laurie & Heather were next to each other, but I was a few rows ahead & across the aisle.
In the dreaded middle seat, no less!
Apparently (once again), I fell asleep.
When I finally woke up, I sensed this “weird atmosphere” around me. It seemed that people would look at me, then quickly turn away.
Oh, well, no big deal, right?
When we landed, I went & retrieved my luggage from the overhead containers. I tried to get Heather’s attention, even called her name.
But she just totally ignored me.
I tried waiting for them to catch up to me on the jetway, but she just shooed me away.
When I was finally able to corral her & ask what was wrong, oh, she let me know!
“I didn’t want anyone to realize that I was with you or even knew you! You were snoring SOOOOO LOUD that everyone was looking at you! People in the front of the plane were standing up & turning around to see where that horrible sound was coming from!
“Even the stewardesses stopped by several times!”
“Well, why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Are you kidding me, Dad?!? I would hafta get up out of my seat to even get to your row…and I was horrified!
“No way I would do that, especially with everyone staring!!!”
I was mortified.
Thank God the flight back to San Antonio wasn’t crowded & we were able to all sit together.
I know she was still worried that passengers on this leg were also with us on the flight from NY so she kept as low a profile as possible.
> > When I was in Methodist Memorial Hospital in Columbus, OH, for 2 abscess removal surgeries & another one for my colostomy procedure, that is, diverting a part of my intestine through an opening in my stomach wall & having it empty into a colostomy bag, apparently my nurses experienced my melodic snoring at night & whenever I napped.
My third day there, I underwent direct interrogation regarding my sleep apnea.
I initially refused the use of any type of contraption at night to address the issue.
“Look, I’ve been living with this for over 58 years now & it hasn’t killed me!”
They were extremely persistent so I broke down & agreed to try the mask thingie.
“We can’t force you to accept any type of treatment without your consent. If you don’t like it, we’ll stop it as soon as you say so!”
When it came time to go nigh’-night, they bring in this machine & connect this mask thingie.
As soon as they turn on the machine, I feel as if there’s this huge locomotive speeding down the track, straight towards me.
It was loud as hell & I didn’t think there was any way that I would be able to fall asleep with it on.
(Probably a bit premature, yes, considering I fell asleep while in traction. One time, on a NY subway, riding home after a 12-hour day of college, then work in Manhattan, I fell asleep.
Standing up, leaning against the door.)
I pull off the mask & say, “That’s it! I tried it. That thing is crazy!”
(Before you fire off a scathing letter to the Editor, I’m going to try one of these dental appliances or mouth guards.)
OK, that’s my snoring story!
P.S. I never discussed it with Dr. Phillips. I think I forgot.
The guy from Prague is a knight in shining armor.
The Czech’s in the mail (of armor). Prague, Czechoslovakia, Czech.
Yes, I’m going to sit myself in the corner now & think about what I just did…
As always, thank you so much for listening!