My sleep study ended up being scheduled the night before my work Christmas party, so in an effort to make it all easier on myself, I took the day off work.
I turned up to the sleep clinic with a duffel bag filled with pyjamas, books (Tana French's IN THE WOODS and Duane Swierczynski's THE WHEELMAN), a pillow, and extra underwear (you never know). After a relaxing check-in where the nurse did her best to sooth my troubled soul with the mention of a catheter, I was led to my room in the sleep study ward.
St. Lukes is somewhere between a hospital and a bed-and-breakfast joint, an older building that isn't the usual hospital maze but is still filled with the expected equipment (and thankfully not the usual smells). My room had a semi-obscured view of the buildings around Potts Point, with a picturesque backdrop of the city to flesh things out.
Not long after settling in, the first assistant of the night showed up to tell me the plan for the stay. First, dinner; hospital style, followed by the initial stage of hooking me up to the equipment. Later in the evening, the final stage of the hookup would leave me semi-chained to my bed, so I was advised to make plenty of trips to the toilet beforehand. So, no catheter, but I did have the option of a bottle if needed.
The first stage of hookup made me feel a little like I was going to one of those hairdressers that specialise in rastafarian-style dreadlocks, although this lot had a decidedly cyber influence. Then I had a couple of hours to kill so I paced around and took some photos. I'm especially proud of my Blue Steel look. Either proud or embarrassed, I'm not sure.
Stage two of my Borg-like transformation saw me hooked up to various equipment that measured parameters such as EEG (brainwaves), EMG (leg movements), airflow, and oxygen levels. At this point I settled in for a good few chapters of IN THE WOODS, which was far less heart-pounding than THE WHEELMAN. Around midnight I wound down enough to switch off the light and attempt to find a comfortable position with cables coming from my head, legs, finger, and nose.
I slept like crap, of course, for an estimated total of three hours before I had to wake at the ungodly time of 6am. Some exciting moments throughout the night included taking the tubes out of my nose to blow it, standing at an angle to fill the urine bottle, and waking up half an hour before I needed to. With the work Christmas party being an all day affair, I can say I'm very glad for the existence of bourbon and Coke.
Stay tuned to find out the results and the aftermath in Part III.