CPAP. Such an innocent-seeming acronym, no? It stands for continuous positive airway pressure, which also comes across as pretty harmless.
I use one of those things, though, and I have to tell you something. They're a colossal pain in the you-know-what. The only thing worse than a CPAP machine strapped to your face is obstructive sleep apnea (which I have) or central sleep apnea (which I don't as far as I know).
Here's the deal. You strap one of these masks over your face – over your nose in this case – and it blows air past the obstruction into your lungs. Never seen one of those airway masks up close? Take a look at the picture. Now imagine having that thing strapped to your face all night long.
So here are my top five reasons to HATE (I know it's not politically correct to admit you hate something. Too bad. I hate these things) having to use a CPAP machine.
Five: For those who don't sleep alone, you look a little like Zoidberg from the cartoon television show Futurama. Without getting sordid here, any resemblance to Zoidberg has anything but a positive effect on conjugal bliss. I don't care how weird you are. It's a buzzkill.
Four: If you sleep on your back, you are probably going to have apnea even with the machine. If you sleep on your side, you wake up in the morning with these interesting impressions on your cheeks where the headstraps pressed all night long as you did something that may have resembled sleep. They look like those canals you can see on the Moon and Mars with a telescope. If that's the only way we we know that CPAPs were invented by intelligent life … oh, nevermind.
Three: The headstraps, as you might have surmised, go over the head. FYI. They go over the same spot on the head every night. Night after night. When you wake up, you look like you'd done something more interesting than sleep, but let's just say there's a conflict between number five above and the interpretation of the effect of those straps on morning hair.
But what's worse is the tendency of the hair to acquire a more or less permanent torque that sometimes persists even after a shower, and there are times it looks downright idiotic. To go out in public with that effect on the coiffure? As Ashton Kutcher might say: “Dude, where's my dignity?!”
Two: Travel. They take up a lot of space in the luggage and it's fun to ponder how many times I might have had to pay overweight fees if I flew a lot for extended stays. Thankfully I don't.
The number one reason to hate CPAP machines: The sensation of having that God-forsaken thing on your face. If you saw the movie Alien or any of the sequels, think about when the baby alien pops out of one of those eggs and jumps on its victim's face.