When you finally break down, after years of putting it off, and get your CPAP, you will wonder what took so long. After using it the first night, you’ll wake up with the first of your three alarms, something that never happened before. Your eyes will open and you will realize what it feels like to be well-rested. You’ll notice that the covers are where they were when you went to sleep—the bed isn’t torn to pieces; your pillows haven’t been thrown across the room.
You will look at least a little bit ridiculous with a strap around your head and two silicone nose pieces forcing air into your sinuses. You’ll be glad that you’re married, because your wife has to sleep next to you, and with the headgear, you don’t think you’d be able to convince anyone else to do so. Not that it would have been easy anyway, given your tendency to thrash and snore when you don’t have the machine.
You won’t be able to talk when the machine is running, because when you open your mouth, air rushes in from the nose pieces. When you wake up in the morning, your nose will be sore from the pressure, but that will go away in half an hour. And maybe it will stop entirely once you’re used to using the mask.
You’ll think about the reason you finally broke down and got the machine you’d been avoiding, how you woke up one night gasping for air, sitting bolt upright, panting like a fish yanked from the water and laid on the dock to die in the air, and how your wife, who was reading next to you, was terrified. You will wish that it hadn’t taken something so dramatic to spur you to take care of yourself.