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At the Solano Stroll
September 16th, 1999

Tomorrow evening I'm scheduled for a sleep study at Summit Hospital to see if the operation to move my jaw forward last April has cured my sleep apnea. I hope it worked, although the result could be improvement, probably great improvement, but maybe more improvement needed. The idea was to get rid of the face mask and air pump device called a CPAP that I needed to sleep at night and it would be a shame if it worked, but not quite enough.

Sleep apnea is a condition where your throat closes while you're sleeping and you stop breathing, waking up suddenly catching your breath. A little scary, but everybody's seen it or done it. Anyone who does this 20 or more times in an hour is considered to have severe sleep apnea, severe enough to endanger your life. Makes you sleepy and causes heart attacks. They clocked me in at 80 and suggested an operation on my palate which I had about his time last year. Stopped me snoring, but I still stopped breathing 80 times an hour. I was put on the CPAP. Uncomfortable at first, but it worked and I felt better, a lot better. Moving the jaw forward is the big enchilada operation that fixes it most every time except for the times when it doesn't and tomorrow night I find out if it did or it didn't. Dood it.

Tomorrow night they wire my brain and my chest and my legs and my breath and my waist and my dick and my toes and plug them all into a computer network. Cameras mounted up near the ceiling recording to tape. Go to sleep, wake up, go home, meet with the doctor later to see how I've done. Get my gold star.

This apnea, fix the apnea business has plodded along one day at a time without particular conscious The Solano Stroll parade thought or comment on my part as if this were happening to someone else and I'm wondering what that says about me and my own reality, just going along all happy faced as they lay it out. Can't sleep? Go in and get your palate shaved. Still can't sleep, go in and get your jaw rewired, pay the man the $14K your insurance company won't cover, smile nicely at the man who wielded the scalpel. I had no idea what moving a jaw forward meant in the way of time and discomfort, numb teeth and gums. Why didn't I ask? Lots of people my age are dropping over dead of heart attacks and cancers of their various parts, not to mention automobile accidents and gun shot wounds, no insurance, no hope of living, screw the idea of paying anything off. One reason to not worry too much about saving a pile for the future, the future may be now. Bust your butt for thirty years saving for retirement and choke to death on a chicken wing at your 50th birthday party. Spent a lot of money on cameras? Spend some more, man, get the ones with the gold plated shutters before the dollar goes all to hell and they raise the prices.

I don't really have the balls to do that. I managed to build up a mountain of debt screwing around with off the wall ventures up until about the age of 50, but since then I've been paying everything off and building one of these 401k accounts. Which will probably come crashing down with the stock market before the millenium arrives. Which means I should probably have put the money into Nikon cameras and trips into the heart of the American dream, to capture it on film before December 31st and the stroke of midnight. Sleep apnea, the operation on the jaw are just the beginning of a long decline and I'd better get on with the things I haven't done yet. But I won't. Because I'm chicken. Cluck!

The photographs were taken at the Solano Stroll on Sunday.