A Different Type of Sleep Mask

One of the things I don't wear at home, but often carry with me when traveling is a sleep mask. You know the kind. You wear it over your eyes so, maybe, you can fall asleep. I can generally sleep without them but it sends an important signal to my fellow travelers: I'm trying to sleep, let me be. Also, in the quest for shuteye at 35,000 feet, every little bit helps.

However, it turns out I really do need a mask to sleep. Not just at 35,000 feet, but anytime. And not just any mask, but one attached to a CPAP machine.

I generally don't have a problem getting to sleep. However, when I am sleeping, I tend to do so very loudly, as my wife will attest. Not only that, my sleep is not always restful. I'm getting better at sleeping the right amount, but clearly there's a problem.

My doctor recommended a sleep study with a particular pulmonologist in the area. I had a sleep study done some time ago, so I had an idea of what to expect. Back then, it didn't point to any treatable issues, so I had my doubts if any would be found this time around.

Despite not being woken up during my sleep study to wear a CPAP mask, which I was told was a possibility during the study, the pulmonologist called me ahead of our upcoming appointment to tell me I need a CPAP and that I should come in sooner if possible to get started right away. Sadly, between my doctor's vacation and my work travel schedule, the appointment I have already scheduled is the soonest I can see him.

For those who don't know, CPAP means Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It's a treatment that involves wearing a mask hooked to a machine that forces air into your nose and/or mouth to aid in breathing. It is used to treat sleep apnea (which I clearly have), among other respiratory disorders. This means wearing the mask while I sleep.

I briefly tried two different CPAP masks while I was awake at the sleep study. One mask covers just the nose and the other covers the nose and mouth. There are some variations within these mask types, but generally, you use one type or the other. My preference was a mask that covered both the nose and mouth based on the brief test I did. The pressure on my nose and nasal cavity felt a bit weird in both cases.

One huge issue with CPAP treatment in general is non-compliance, namely patients don't like wearing a mask to sleep. I admit the idea does not appeal to me, but like with many new experiences, I am approaching it with an open mind. Even if doesn't work for me, there are several other options.

However it turns out, I'm looking forward to getting a good nights sleep for the first time in a long time.

The Skinny Drawer

Back when I started doing Atkins more than 10 years ago, I dropped quite a bit--to the tune of 100 pounds! Naturally, when you drop weight, your clothes need to change to accommodate, so I had clothing at sizes a bit smaller than my current size.

Unfortunately, when I stopped doing Atkins, the weight eventually came back and my clothes no longer fit. Some of the clothes I got rid of due to wear and tear, others I kept, some in my closet, others in a drawer in my dresser.

I've dropped some weight as a result of actively managing my diabetes (eating habits and lifestyle changes). Nowhere near the 100 pounds I dropped on Atkins, but its a start. People have noticed and it feels good. I feel good.

That said, my pants are starting to be too big. And since I'm mostly going to be traveling for the next couple of weeks, I decided to peek in my "skinny drawer" to see if I had anything that might work a little better.

The smallest thing I have in there is a size 44 slacks. That's inches for the non-Americans, and even that is not really "skinny." Compared to where I'm at now, even a size 44 is a huge difference. I also have a couple of pairs of pants at size 48 in there, which I'm not quite small enough to wear just yet but I see me wearing those pants in the not too distant future.

My goal years ago was to get to a size 38, which is about the largest most "normal" stores go. I still think that's an achievable goal but it's going to take a while at this rate.

In short the skinny drawer was a bust. That said it was nice to get a concrete reminder of where I was, and where I know I can be if I keep working at it.

Downright Normal

It has been three months or so since I was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After I saw the doctor in October, he ordered up a set of blood work to be done in January to see where I was. I did those labs earlier this week, and have results.

While the blood tests checked many different things, the only result I cared about personally was my A1C number. According to the Mayo Clinic [www.mayoclinic.org]:

The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

So what should the number be?

For someone who doesn't have diabetes, a normal A1C level can range from 4.5 to 6 percent. Someone who's had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time might have an A1C level above 8 percent.

When the A1C test is used to diagnose diabetes, an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes.

The number I had in October was 7.9. This week: 6.3. This is a very good sign what I'm doing to keep my diabetes under control is working.

This week in particular my blood glucose tests have been in the upper end of the "normal" range. 96 mg/dL for pre-meal, 107 mg/dL after.

Sadly I suspect this will not remain the case as I will be traveling on and off for the next couple of weeks. Unusual food and different eating patterns always makes for higher blood sugars.

The only other notable result from my blood tests was my LDL cholesterol, which was below the normal range. I guess when you take statins and already had normal cholesterol levels, that's bound to happen.

That and I appear to be sleeping better, so all things considered, I feel downright normal for a change.

A Small Portion To Be Polite

Back when I was attempting to do the Atkins diet 10+ years ago, I pretty much didn't eat anything with carbs in it. It worked really well for losing weight, but after a while, it got harder and harder to do. Because, let's face it, carbs are tasty.

Now that I have diabetes, I have a somewhat different view of carbs: carbs can kill. Not immediately of course, which is the problem. The main problem for me: my body is not efficient at breaking down sugars in my blood. When it remains high over a period of time, different parts of the body start having issues. I'm sure my high blood pressure, swollen feet, and migraines are all related to it, and they have been much better since I started getting treatment.

But the reality is: swearing off all carbs is next to impossible. First of all, they are everywhere in everything. Second of all, cravings for particularly carby things are sometimes difficult to overcome, especially if you've been repeatedly denying yourself.

So, I try and have some once in a while. A small portion to be polite. Often times I find it wasn't nearly as good as I thought it was going to be. Especially when I see the impact to my blood sugar a couple hours later.

At the end of the day, if I'm going to have something I know isn't good for me and it doesn't taste good, what's the point? But then again, now that I know what the negative impact is and I can even see an indicator of it right away, maybe that's playing a role in how I feel about how it tastes.

Will I find something really worth it? Not sure but I'm gonna keep trying. Because I already know not trying ultimately results in failure. Now that I know what's truly at stake, failure is simply not an option.

Post Nine Hundred... At Least On This Blog

The one thing I see on 10 Centuries that I haven't seen on Posthaven is: the number of blog posts I have in a blog. Apparently, this is post 900 for this blog. Which is sad because I have more than 3200 on phoneboy.com, some dating back to the 1990s (note this also includes nearly 730 episodes of the PhoneBoy Speaks podcast).

That doesn't include the more than 26,000 ADN posts, the nearly 39,000 tweets, the thousands of Facebook posts, and who knows how many posts on various other social networks.

Clearly, I put a lot of stuff on the Internet. In the grand scheme of things, it is probably all for naught as it will all get lost in the noise of everyone else's postings or the great EMP pulse that will take out all electronics everywhere.

Kinda depressing, if i think about it too much.

Green Pill Redux

It's been a little more than a week since I got new blood pressure medication. I've been checking my blood pressure periodically, and sure enough, it's crept back into the hypertension levels. Not as high as it was (yet), but I'm definitely concerned.

So, of course, I checked the Internet and found this little gem [www.drugs.com]:

It may take 3 to 6 weeks of using losartan before your blood pressure is under control. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks of treatment.

Fantastic. It's been a little over a week since I changed medication. Hopefully this will resolve itself in the next couple weeks, if not, back to the doctor…

Welcome to the New and "Improved" phoneboy.info

I followed through on previous threats and I've moved my personal blog onto 10 Centuries. Thanks to some handiwork by Jason, other than the temporary DNS hiccups that occur with these changes, you shouldn't notice a thing. All the previous URLs should work as before.

The one benefit I get from the current 10 Centuries platform is that, when you search on this site, it will also search all of my App.Net postings (which I've had quite a lot of) as well as recent tweets (starting from around 20 November 2014). Hopefully when Jason gets 10Cv3 launched, I'll be able to import my entire Twitter archive and have that searchable as well.

Another benefit with this new arrangement is that it allows me to blog using App.Net private messages, which ends up being fairly convenient as I can use Drafts to craft the post and send it to Chimp, which will get it to 10 Centuries. The downside to that approach is I'm limited to 2,048 characters which isn't the end of the world.

Meanwhile I posted several blog posts in anticipation of having my blog moved over to 10 Centuries. I didn't advertise them because the URL for those posts were going to change, so I just wrote them and figured I'd let folks know about them once the changeover occured. If you care, here they are:

Meanwhile a few of my other blogs will also move over to the 10 Centuries platform in the very near future.

It's End Of The Season As We Know It, And I Feel Fine

As I expected, the 49ers lost to Seattle in Seattle. And since Detroit won, the 49ers are out of the NFL playoff picture for 2014. And you know what? I feel fine.

Sure, I would have loved to see the 49ers compete for another Lombardi trophy, but the Quest for Six will have to wait another year. With all the injuries suffered during the Seahawks game, the penalties (some questionable), and the poor execution and play calling, it just wasn't meant to be.

I came to terms with the fact the 49ers weren't making the playoffs last week after the Raiders loss. Given how bad the Raiders have played this year, there was no reason they shouldn't have walked out of O.co Colosseum with a win.

Of course, as much as I enjoy watching the 49ers win, and I occasionally feel depressed when they lose, I have to remember: it's just a game. Whether they win or lose, it does not materially change my life. I still have my family, my health (which is generally improving), and everything else that's important. It also doesn't change my faith in the team.

I'll enjoy the last two 49er games of the season and go back to whatever it is I do when it's not football season, which is: live my life.

The Green Pill

When I asked my doctor for different medication for my high blood pressure, he gave me Losartan. As usual, the potential side effects [www.drugs.com] are always a frightening read, making me wish I had taken better care of myself when I was younger.

One of the side effects listed there, of course, is a cough, very much like the cough I have when taking Lisinopril. I still have it, but it seems better than before. Still have to drink a bit of water to keep from coughing too much.

Unfortunately it takes a while for the drugs to reach their full effect and I can already see my blood pressure numbers creeping back up while my body adjusts to the new medication.

On the plus side, my blood sugar has been below 100 mg/dL for the last few days. At least that's going right.

Oh Christmas Tree

It's that time of the year when, at least in this part of the world, many people are putting up their Christmas trees. Personally, I could do without Christmas, but the family likes it.

To be perfectly honest; I don't remember too many Christmas trees as a young child. Oh sure they were there most years. Because I was with my mom one year and my dad the next and they both moved regularly, there just wasn't anything I could consistently remember.

I did remember a couple of trees from Hawaii. Typically, an evergreen-type tree is used for this, but those are exceptionally hard to come by in Hawaii. And they were pretty expensive. While we did a "Christmas Palm" a couple of years, my stepfather "won" a real Christmas tree one year, which of course we put up. But beyond some lights and maybe a few ornaments, none of which I remember particularly, that was that.

Now, with a family, we have boxes of ornaments that my wife has acquired or the kids have made for us over the years. Surely, there are memories associated with each one for my wife and/or kids. I recognize most of the ornaments, of course, but most of them hold little memories for me and just feel overwhelmed by the whole thing.

Maybe forgetting all the Christmas trees is my coping mechanism for that…