Sleep Apnea Man

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here

On Fridays this month, I’ll be telling the story of Husband-Mans journey through illness this year. This post is about one of the hardest tests he went through on his journey to diagnosis.

I could not, for the life of me, focus on anything. The TV screen didn’t have his number on it yet, so I didn’t know what they were doing. Had they started the procedure yet? Was he in pain yet? Was he just waiting by himself in the tiny room created by a sheet on casters? Or were doctors that we didn’t know trying to take out a piece of his liver?

I had to keep working on my blanket. The large, pink, crocheted blanket that had occupied my hands through waiting for appointment after appointment and while watching hours of TV because he was just too tired to do anything else. I couldn’t even crochet. I knew they weren’t putting him to sleep. I knew that it was going to hurt.

The sounds of a dying hippo invaded my thoughts. I cannot accurately capture the sound with letters, but it was something similar to “SSSNNNOOOCCHHHTTT”.

I looked around the waiting room. There was an old man with his Bible out. A younger man nervously bouncing his leg. And a middle aged man who looked like he just woke up.

I went back to worrying. I tried to watch at TV show (legally) posted to YouTube. My mind would not calm down. “God, be with him. Don’t let him hurt too much.”


I knew it was the middle aged man this time. I knew I’d heard that sound before. That is what sleep apnea sounded like. He was awake again, but I could see his head starting to loll to the side again.

“That man needs a CPAP.”

I imagined Darth Vader sitting in the waiting room with me. Worrying about Padmé. Waiting for her to have a test done. I imagined him catching the eye of a nurse hurrying through the room, rasping “*ooooHA* Is she done yet?” “What’s the last name, sir?” “Amidala *ooooHA*”. “Have you checked the screen for her number? We post updates there.” “Her number hasn’t *oooHA* shown up yet”. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know.” In his head: “The ways of the force are NOT strong with this one.”

*For those of you who didn’t grow up with brothers who would ONLY watched Star Wars, *ooooHA* is the sound that Darth Vader’s respirator that’s attached to him mask sounds. Curious to know what it actually sounds like? Here you go:

I giggled.


“That man really does need a CPAP.”

And then it was my turn. Husband-Man’s test was done. More waiting, except this time, next to his bed. He had to lay on his side to help seal the two holes they’d punctured in his liver for hours. He then proceeded to toss his graham crackers and peanut butter because he was so dehydrated. And I drove us home, through ice and snow covered rows. But at least he didn’t throw up again.

Darth Vader’s loved one wasn’t in recovery in the same part of the hospital as Husband-Man. I hope he has a CPAP. I hope his loved one’s test yielded results like Husband-Man’s did.

I’m still amazed that he could sleep in the waiting room.
What do you do when you’re in a waiting room? Do you sleep, or do you make up random stories about strangers?

2 thoughts on “Sleep Apnea Man

  1. beks21 says:

    Oh man, I might have nudged Sleep Apnea Man to wake him up, but then pretend I didn’t actually do it. That snoring would NOT have gone over well if I was waiting in your shoes.


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