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Don’t take your breath of life for granted

First Posted: 11:49 pm - November 29th, 2015

By Grey Brendle - Contributing Columnist



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Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

That’s a pretty heady way to start an article. Today I’m not thinking about dust so much, but rather breath. That thing we all need if we are above ground. And, the reason we do, of course, is we need oxygen. That part of air that replenishes our body’s energy via the transportation by our red blood cells.

Still a little heady? Maybe so.

But there is method to my madness. The air we breathe is mainly made up of nitrogen and oxygen. There’s a lot of air, right? So by inference there is also a lot of oxygen. Considering the volume of atmospheric air humans have available, it is hard to believe we can have a shortage of oxygen.

Well, my doctor seems to think I need more, that my oxygen level is a little low, showing up in a hemoglobin test during a routine check up.

He suggests I have a sleep study. At first my mind recoils somewhat, wondering if it is a high commission item, like the flu shot. Anytime I go near a medical facility that’s the first thing I am asked. Even Walgreen and Walmart put their sandwich board out front with big letters “Get your flu shot today! No appointment needed!” That’s a lot of hawking, got to be profitable.

After more conversation, my doctor convinces me to start the program. The first step is to study my actual sleeping. Can you imagine what our grandfathers would have said to such a suggestion? Much like feeding pets. What would Papa have said to a suggestion from a vet that the cat and dog need prescription food? Or, for that matter, that a vet should have been consulted at all.

But, I digress.

So I am given information on my suggested sleep investigation, inquiry, research, examination analysis, review or survey. Or any other name one wants to ascribe to my up coming “ordeal.”

A glance at my “order” to report had the location missing. Expecting a medical facility of some kind, after a phone call I was told to report to the Hyatt Hotel in Irmo at 8 p.m. Being a punctual person, I went a little early. Soon, I was taken up to the second floor suite. That’s right! A suite that was as large as my first apartment! It was plush. There was a living room with a sectional sofa, a king size bed in the bedroom and large flat-screen, of course.

In came my attendant, a very nice woman named Rosa. After volumes of paperwork she went to work on me. She attached 15 sensors to my head and others to my chest and legs. I looked like a bar patron in the Star Wars movie coming in December.

After being asked about any bathroom visit needed, I was placed on the big beautiful bed, alone, except for the equipment attached to my body. She pointed to a black glass ball across the room on the ceiling and said she would be watching me every minute, all night.

She said I should lie on my back most of the time because they get a better reading in that position. And if I had to turn over, say it out loud. So, I was not only watched, but being listened to also. A lot of things go through one’s mind. The first was getting to sleep. Could I do it under these circumstances?

Rosa and I got through our night together without any real problems. She said I stopped breathing 30 times in an hour. “Am I half dead?” I asked.

She chuckled at my attempt at humor, but said I will have another appointment to get fitted for a mask. I’ve almost gone full circle since I lay on the front porch of Grandpa Brendle’s farmhouse and listened to The Lone Ranger on Saturday morning. Two masked men. Hope I can find my decoder ring.

Aside from the humor here, this is serious. Everyone should keep an eye on their blood oxygen level — their breath of life.

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By Grey Brendle

Contributing Columnist

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