Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sleep Clinic ???

      Last Friday night I slept at the sleep clinic . Now sleep clinic is an absolute misnomer as you don't get much shut eye . However , the sleep clinic is the end of my story .

      How did I get to the sleep clinic ? Was it when my daughter slept in the same hotel room and complained the next morning that she had a very poor sleep as one of us snored (my wife of course ) and the other choked . Was it when my children were infants ? Was it stress from my work ?

    Well, let's start from the beginning . I was born in 1939 to a young farm couple who had a very meagre residence ...three rooms ...no insulation or central heating . Eleven and one half months later I had a baby brother and by the time I was two years old I also had a little sister . My poor mother ! But that's another story . This one's on sleep . I can remember the three of us sleeping in one bed which wasn't crowded as we were little . As children we slept soundly even though three little bodies rolled and thrashed around and occasionally fell out of bed .
Later a new house was constructed and we had our own rooms ! Sleep was great . I was young . The house had central heating and was insulated .
I left after high school to attend college and lived in various boarding houses with shared accommodation . I did wake up from time to time with noise from other roomers coming and going . I changed localities very often in my early twenties as I taught and went to university . I spent three years in a very noisy single staff accommodation were there was much coming and going through the night . I remember being awake as I would hear people coming and going in the hallways . Sometimes there were all night parties .

    I lived in a remote northern settlement were my wife was the nurse . She was on call twenty four seven . Many nights she was required to attend to a sick person . We weren't in the habit of locking the house door until people walked into the house and into he bedroom to get the nurse .

     Children arrived and took my attention . I felt a great responsibility for the welfare of my children while they were infants .Hungry , cold or ill children had to be looked after . Teenage children were another thing . From a young age my son liked movies . He would try to sneak downstairs to watch a movie and would get caught . He said ,"Dad, I never got downstairs to watch a movie . You always caught me ."

      My children left home , but my interrupted sleep became worse . For many years I have set my thermostat so that the furnace does not come on after bedtime as I found a running furnace always awakened me . Through all of my poor sleep patterns I never felt fatigued and was always a morning person . I never needed an alarm clock .
In January of 2006 I began to feel fatigue and found it difficult to rise in the morning . When my daughter made the choking observation , I could immediately of sleep apnea as I would be waking up with a jump . In 2007 My family physician referred me to a sleep specialist . The sleep specialist ordered a sleep clinic experience .

     So there I was last Friday evening . Now the sleep clinic really wants to see how badly you sleep so they wire you up from head to toe . They will miss nothing . Sensors are attached to your shins and arms . A belt is put around your chest and another around your stomach . A box about twice the size of a mouse is attached to each belt . All these gizmos are firmly attached with liberal amounts of plastic tape . They tell you you can sleep in any position ...just try it . Then they say ,"Have a good night ."

     As you can well imagine I did not have a very successful sleep . It's not easy sleeping in a strange place with all kinds of material attached to you .
I have not received any results from this ordeal, but I would rather go through the investigation as it is well known , that sleep apnea can lead to many health complications . What happens with sleep apnea is you stop breathing and oxygen levels decrease and your blood pressure rises . The combination can lead to other health problems so I will put up with the discomfort as it may prevent other options which are not positive .

     So , Friday night in a sleep clinic !!! Kind of a bad joke !!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Election 08

     When I started this blog the last thing I ever thought of was making political comment . Well, they called a federal election and I can't help myself .

      Now I haven't really made up my mind as to who to vote for ,but I do know who I won't vote for ...Steven Harper ...Conservatives ! I will comment on one area which is only one of several which makes it impossible for me to vote Conservative . I think that crime is an area that needs serious attention in Canada . I think that stiffer sentences and less bail is necessary but this is where the wheels fall off of the Harper bus . This is the only plan they have ...just pass a law for stiffer sentences ...that's it ...done ...finished ...problem solved . They have come up with a one dimensional plan .

     The corrections system /justice system is large and complex . Any change has to go along with other changes in the system . For example, there's no use giving out stiffer sentences if there's no place to put the inmates . For too many years federal and provincial governments have been cheaping out on building new institutions and as a result it is difficult for judges to refuse bail and give longer sentences when there is no room to put people .Inmates are double bunked in many institutions . Double bunking is a recipe for disaster . Inmates can not be locked up for twenty four hours a day in such confined spaces . I once stayed in a hostel unit with four bunks . When you sat on the edge of your bunk , you touched knees with the person across from you. My example is close to a double bunking situation .

      If you want stiffer sentences to succeed you need more judges , prosecutors , police , correctional workers .... Now police find it difficult to arrest and go to court as it takes too much time as the court system is back logged . For the last election Steven Harper promised 1000 more police which morphed into 600 and 400 clerical people and I'm not sure any new personnel were actually hired . Can you imagine 1000 more police for 33,ooo,ooo people . 100,ooo new police may have made a difference .

      So I think that if success is to be made in dealing with crime all areas have to be considered at he same time . The conservative plan is only one dimensional .

      I also know that some of Steven Harper's main ministers are some what lacking in their concept of a justice system . For example, Stockwell Day used to think and may still think that if a defence lawyer defends a pedophile then the lawyer supports pedophilia . This was illustrated by Day's letter to the Red Deer Advocate and the subsequent law suit which cost Alberta tax payers a bundle .

     So I won't vote Conservative . There are other areas which could receive the same criticism...fixed elections, in and out election funds, trust fund flip flops, Canadian wheat board ....

     Now all I have to do is find someone I can vote for. I will definitely vote as I think it's extremely important .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Alf

    Four year olds make interesting friends . Four years old you say? There ought to be a law against them !
Okay , there are four year olds and then there are four year olds . There are all the ranges of four year olds as you would find in any adult age group of say forty nine year olds , twenty year olds ... So we will find four year olds who are nice , nasty , humorous , talkative ,loving , energetic or any variety of human characteristics . There are as many different little four year olds running around as you would find in any adult age group .

     I guess I happen to be lucky as a four year old stays over night with his Dad a couple of times a week and they live next door to me . When Alf comes he looks to see if I'm out in my yard and he has to shout a friendly greeting and ask how I am . He listens to my response and reacts appropriately . Sometimes I tease him and say I feel really lousy and he almost cries . Next , Alf wants to know what I'm doing and if he can help me . Alf questions everything I do and wants to know why it's being done . You can see the wheels turning in his head as he processes and digests the information . He especially likes to help me wash the car . He says he likes cleaning things so he sprays water over the car and rubs an area until he thinks it's clean . One time he dropped the hose on the ground and the handle hit just right so that the hose began spraying . It hit Alf exactly in the face and took his Flames cap off . At first I thought he was going to cry . Then he looked surprised and then he started to laugh . Alf thought that he had put on quite an amusing show and didn't mind that he had got his clothes wet .

     Alf is rather cautious and doesn't want to say anything which would offend me . Alf watches lots of movies at his mom's place . I wanted to know what were his favorites . He likes action movies . So I pressed a little further and asked if he liked Dora the explorer. No, he didn't watch Dora . That was it ...no comments . I asked why he didn't watch Dora . He replied rather vaguely . Then I decided to be more direct and asked if Dora was more for girls . His face lit up and his head nodded vigorously ...yeah, Dora was for girls. He had tried to be very diplomatic in case I liked Dora .

     One day I was cutting grass and Alf wanted to know if he could watch me cut grass . I really didn't want him around a lawn mower so I said if he sat in a chair he could watch me . This was fine with Alf and he sat tightly in the big chair until I stopped the mower and then he exploded off the chair . I thought wait minute buddy! I said sit in the chair. However , before I opened my mouth I realized his interpretation of cut grass . Okay ,Alf you win . I emptied the grass bag into the compost box which came exactly to the level of Alf's nose . He had to closely watch me empty the bag as if he'd miss something exciting and then I heard a voice "It stinks !" . I guess it would stink if your nose was at the level of Alf's That day I got a very precise opinion of compost.

     So each day's visit from Alf brings the unexpected , honesty and curiosity which makes me rethink my actions and so them through very curious young eyes .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Blog Start

     What does one say when one starts a blog ? Obviously something must be on my mind . I'm interested in the environment , music,reading, Xcountry skiing , cycling , issues of health and education ... So from time to time I will leave comments on these topics and other related issues . I hope that you find something of value ...informative, interesting or something which you wish to comment on.
     I look forward to coming up with topics and putting them together for others to think about .