Saturday, 12 May 2012

Best laid plans, or "I love 24-hour supermarkets"

It all started as a plan to dash down to Maple Grove for a first-of-the-season Trader Joe's/Williams-Sonoma run.  I do this two or three times every summer.  I usually do this by dashing down to Fargo, bedding down for the night, heading over to the Greater Twin Cities for some shopping and then back to Fargo for a rest before heading back over the border and home. 

All was going well.  I stopped by Future Shop to buy a spare cable to attach my phone to the Aux outlet in my car stereo (so I don't have to fuss with the iPod that lives attached to the USB cable port in my armrest) (and so I can hook anyone's audio device into my stereo). Fortunately, I had to stop by Staples for a pair of scissors to open up the blister pack.  This will become relevant in a moment.

So I'm in Fargo, having Mexican food, making sure I have cash, and do my usual Friday evening in Fargo routine (while skipping the mall for Mrs Fields cookies), and then get ready for bed.

For this next part to make sense, you have to know that I have obstructive sleep apnea, for which I sleep with a CPAP mask--this is pressurized air mask that fits over my nose and mouth, held on with a neoprene strappy thing, which is why in the mornings you can see me with strap lines in my cheeks and usually my hair pressed into interesting shapes.

Anyway, the mask is hard plastic, and to keep it attached to my soft face there's this silicon gasket thing that goes around the edge of the mask and when pressurized is supposed to maintain the seal.  Because of the relatively high air pressures I need, there's often some comical flappy leakage. So I've learned to do things to hold the mask to my face in my sleep, like sleep with my arm over my face, or a pillow over my chest holding the bottom of the mask down. Or sleeping on my side and pressing the mask into my face with the pillow.

So back to the story. I'm staying in my palacial not-quite-suite in the new Hampton Inn in Fargo.  This is the nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in. I suppose it helps that it's brand new.  Aside from the amenities you might expect, the light in the bathroom is controlled by a motion sensor. How cool is that?

Anyway, I'm getting ready for bed and I discover that I've torn the gasket thingy on my mask, inconveniently near the bridge of my nose, where because of the way the mask is built it's difficult to put any extra pressure down toward my face, and even more inconveniently on the right side such that any air that escapes, which is most of it, blows into my right eye. Not comfortable.

I have not slept a night without my mask since September 1, 2009. I have dozed off without it, lying in front of the tv or in bed listening to music or somethig, not more than four times. Three of those times, I woke up with a sore throat from snoring.  So I want my mask.

So I put on the mask and try to stuff the gasket around my nose so it holds.  As soon as the pressure hits it blows open.  I go down to the front desk and get some tape and try to tape it up. No go. Scotch tape doesn't like to stick to greasy silicon apparently. 

So just about 2 am, I head out in search of something more useful. Like surgical tape.  But the Walgreens that I know about is closed. As is the Target.  Luckily, there's a grocery store that's open, Hornbacher's.

I live across the street from a 24-hour drugstore, which may be the only one in Winnipeg. When I end up moving, I'm going to miss that.  There aren't any 24-hour grocery stores in Winnipeg that I know about.  I love America.

Anyway, so there I am, grocery shopping at 2am for the first time since moving to Canada.  I did find some tape, and as long as I was there I went looking for mint and cinnamon M&Ms which I heard about for the first time a few hours ago. And I looked a Crystal Light, in the absence of the Fibersure lemonade I like. Ended up getting some diet root beer for liquid. And wheat thins because if I'm up at this hour repairing my mask I'm damn well going to pump my sugars up.

So I bought some clotch first aid tape (which is supposed to be very adhesive *and* easy to remove--yeah, right) but since it is designed to stick to skin I'm going to assume it can deal with a now slightly cleaner silicon mask.  It's also 'easy tear', which is where the scissors come in. I have never,  in my life, been able to tear surgical tape, medical tape, or athletic tape that was 'easy-tear'.  Which is wear the scissors come in.

The end of the story is that it is now 3am, I'm blogging while I wait for the mask to dry from where I hit it with a non-alcohol wipe to clean it, and now I'm going to try to repair my mask enough for me to go to sleep.

But the point of all this is a) I love America where you can shop for things at any hour of the day or night and b) I don't think there's any way I'm going to be in any kind of shape to drive to Minneapolis and back tomorrow.

But I've already reserved my palacial room at the new Hampton Inn in Fargo for two nights, and I'm damn well going to enjoy it.