miriam

miriam_experiment

This is a shot from last year’s experiment (black and white) .. so it’s a bit of a throwback thursday I suppose.

Yesterday Miriam told me she liked reading this website, and now she’s on it! This was taken last year at Matty and Sarah’s wedding reception, which I did not ruin with a torch mishap, but I almost did.

There we have it.

change or transformation

Recently, I was doing a search for “transformation” – one of those words that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

In my head I was thinking “of course it means change” – and it does, but change of what? A google image search for the term “transformation” yields a much different result than a google image search for the term “change.” I didn’t care for either for my purpose, which is communicating about change. This morning I was walking to work and, as usual, I walked by a bunch of Canadian maple trees and I scooped the above leaf and decided that was a great metaphor for change – the fall is all about a shift in what we do and how we do it. Trees do this every year – they shed their leaves and all the stuff they do with those leaves as they prepare for winter, which I imagine is like tree vacation for them since they don’t have to do anything in particular.

Actually I just read that trees shed leaves in order to save water. Wow eh. #learning

victoria wine festival notes

A couple weekends ago, I went to Victoria Wine Festival to check out some new-to-me wines. I went with a friend and we limited ourselves to reds to get more of a sense of what we liked and didn’t like as much.

So I have a few notes from that. I am not a wine writer but I did take a few photos of what I liked to remember for later, so here they all are.

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Very nice #vicwf

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beautiful packaging #vicwf

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Lovely Argentinian red – looks light but taste is surprisingly big #vicwf

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some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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the velvet devil; some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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Red Zinfandel has six times lower sales than White Zinfandel in the USA. I prefer mine red, however. #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes #big #bold

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Any-old-hoo, that’s all I got for now.

a life without sleep

“Life must be lived forwards, however, it can only be understood backwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Sleep is one of those basic things that seems simple at first, but as we progress through life, it seems to take on complexity without any additional effort from an individual. If one were to say, simply go to bed, the assumption may be that the rest was taken care of; one would wake up rejuvenated and ready to take on another great day. The next morning’s metadata might have tags like: #refreshed #sunrise #orange_juice #morning_show #running #writing #music #yolo.

Unfortunately for me, it almost never has.

In my adult life,  I have traditionally been a night person. I write music at night, like to exercise at night, socialize at night, work at night – you name it. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to do these things in the morning, it’s just that I’ve never felt like doing these things in the morning. I never questioned why I was more energetic at night; I just knew I liked life more when it was night time.

Then, one day, I happened to see a local doctor on the noon news talking about sleep:

This got me thinking: I have, in the past, received reports that I snore fairly consistently, and there has been a mention once or twice of lapses of breathing. I was not aware of these occurrences causing much of a problem – I mean, we are all limited to our own experience, and I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

As you may have heard, sleep is one of those three vital pillars of health, along with eating well [link to pal video] and regular exercise.  I couldn’t shake the thought: even if I got 8 hours of bed time, it doesn’t mean that I got 8 hours of good sleep time. I needed to investigate this; I needed to talk to my doctor about sleep.

My doctor asked me some questions, such as:

  • Do you wake up tired?
    My answer was “yes, but I assume everyone has their own version of tired.. I don’t have anything to compare it to”
  • Have there been instances where you’ve been told you snore or stop breathing?
    My answer was “yes.”

My doctor asked if I wanted to find out more about what was really going during my sleep; I agreed to participate in polysomnography (a multi-diagnostic sleep study) to track my sleeping patterns. The test was a simple overnight kit that I took home and returned to the sleep lab the next day.

The results came in – they look like this:

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There are a bunch of lines:

  • Sa02 (oxygen level within blood)
  • Heart rate
  • Nasal pressure
  • Something called “Effort”
  • Supine or body position – supine just means whether or not you were on your back
  • Snore level

The numbered valleys mean low oxygen levels. When these patterns come together in a certain way, that can mean there was an occurrence of sleep apnea, which means I stopped breathing in my sleep. Each time this happens, my heart rate goes up as I temporarily (3 seconds max) wake myself up to start breathing again. Here’s some baselining for sleep apnea occurrences per hour of sleep:

  •  < 5: considered normal, most people are in this range
  • 5-15: mild
  • 15-30: moderate
  • 30+: severe

My doctor distilled it for me this way: “You have sleep apnea. Major league levels”:

  • While laying on my side (not supine): 40+ sleep apnea occurrences
  • While laying on my back (supine, how I spend most of the night): 60+ sleep apnea occurrences

This means, per hour, I was waking myself up between 40-60+ times to start breathing again. Sometimes, this means I am waking up more than once a minute throughout a night. It is unclear how my body, or brain, adjusted to this. As you may have noticed yourself, the body and brain need the benefits of sleep:

“It may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.” – Harvard Medical School

No wonder I was waking up exhausted and worn-out every day. More sleep wouldn’t make it any better; during sleep, my body would be working more rigorously than when I was awake. This would be the case for, as far as we can tell, my entire adult life. It stands to reason that I am likely a night person because it takes me a day to recover from a night of sleep. By contrast, simply staying awake at night has been less exhausting.

So now that I had become aware of a completely fundamental health problem that was inhibiting all sorts of aspects of my life every day, what do I do? Now what?

There are a few options if you have sleep apnea; different solutions are more appropriate for different levels and causes of sleep apnea, such as a mouthpiece, continuous positive airway pressure, or more invasively, surgery. Through my doctor, I found a solution that was right for me, and I am finally experiencing what it’s like to wake up rejuvenated and well rested. So this is what people have been so satisfied about when it comes to discussing going to bed early.

It is interesting to know that my brain and body was coping with this as I went through various demanding stages of my life, where my energy levels were being utilized in the day time by full-time work, evening classes, as well as exercise, volunteering for various causes, writing music, running a business, and more, all in a single day. The brain and body must have adjusted itself to operate without consistent (or much) sleep. Now it will finally get a chance to adjust to the concept of having regular patterns of sleep, and who knows, maybe I’ll even start dreaming at night for what the next part of my life might be like..