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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

These Four Things

December 20, 2023

My CPAP machine broke. In the middle of the night. I am freaking out about it. It’s 4:12 am and I won’t be able to get back to sleep, not just because the machine is broken, but because I’m freaking out about it.

I’m sitting here at my laptop taking deep breaths and trying not to panic about my broken CPAP machine, and thinking about all the things I simply can’t live without.

Top of the list would be my sight. I have two pairs of glasses: computer glasses/bifocals, and distance glasses/bifocals. I’ve had a hard time getting glasses to work for me, I’ve given up progressives for bifocals. They make me look very bookish… and… very old. And you know what? I don’t fucking care. Being able to see clearly is the most important thing in my life. Plus, I notice a lot of older actors wear bifocals, you can tell by the way the light reflects off their lenses. I just started noticing this in the last six months, when I made the move to bifocals exclusively. Richard Gere wears bifocals. When you’re out and about, I challenge you to look at old people, not really old, maybe just over 50, and check out how many people wear bifocals. A lot. It’s kind of sexy. Not really. But I’m choosing to frame it that way. Ha ha I said “frame it”.

Next would be my hands. I don’t know what I’d do without my hands. I’ve had this thing called trigger finger in my left middle finger for decades. When I clench my fist, sometimes that finger locks, and when I unfurl my hand, that finger sticks and then springs back with a snap and it hurts. I’ve just lived with it for a long time, it wasn’t that troublesome, it didn’t happen all the time. But it started happening more recently, and then that finger started to really hurt at the knuckles. It aches at night and when I wake up, it’s stiff and won’t straighten completely. Then a couple months ago, seemingly overnight, my right middle finger started doing the same thing – locking and aching. I have a referral to hand PT, but I moved, so I have to reestablish with a doctor in Portland and get a referral in this area. That takes time. I spent hours calling clinics Monday and the soonest new patient appointment I could find is in March. Man, we have a healthcare provider shortage. Not good. I digress…

I not only need my hands to care for myself, but my hands are the conduit for the two things upon which my quality of life hinges: writing and making jewelry. Those are the two things that feed my innermost being. I’m scared about my hands. But I’m doing all I can do to ensure they stay in good working order. It just takes time sometimes.

I could continue on with the physical, but those are the things I think about – that I worry most about losing. My sight and my hands. Now for the inanimate things. Although I’m not sure you can consider electronics inanimate anymore. They have become so like living things.

I can’t imagine any quality of life without my laptop. To have the full laptop experience, you need electricity and the internet, but I’ll focus just on the things I must have – not all the things the things I need, need to work.

I live a great deal of my life in front of my laptop. Six years ago, I realized just how much of my life is built around my laptop. In the depths of depression, I wrote to Jeff:

"I'm also not emotionally healthy enough to live fully in the real world right now. Or that's how I perceive it to be. So I stay in my mind a lot. And I isolate. Too much. It's not ideal. I need to get hooked back up with a therapist. I didn't think about it before, but I am really and truly all about staying in my comfort zone. Sitting right here and living life from this laptop seems real and right. But it's counterfeit. But I'm scared."

I don’t isolate as much as I used to, but I still isolate. It’s still true I cling to my comfort zone, which is largely in front of my laptop. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it does give me joy and it does bring me peace. I should get out more. Regardless, I do believe the greatest benefit of living in this day and age is personal computers. My laptop has saved me, over and over. And many many many people share this connection with their laptop. I am a writer, after all. If I had to use pen and paper I could and I would, but I’d need my sight and my hands for that.

A rather distant cousin to my laptop is my phone. I like my phone, but if I had to choose between my laptop and my phone for the rest of my life, I would choose my laptop, hands down. Mostly I use my phone for texting, looking up shit on the internet when I’m not in front of my laptop, and Google Maps. I like my phone, but I’m madly passionately in love with my laptop.

And then my CPAP. I can’t sleep without it. Without sleep, I fall into depression very quickly. If I don’t have a working CPAP for more than a couple of nights, I sleep because I can no longer not sleep. But sleep without the CPAP has little value. It’s such a stupid little machine, all it does is suck air from the room and ramp it up and shove it down your airway. And the fucking things cost $1000 – ya – I looked up my model to see what it would cost if I have to pay for it out of pocket. I can’t afford it, thus, my panic. But it will work out. Because things work out. Right?

The added benefit of using a CPAP is it makes me The Sexiest Woman on the Planet. Kidding. I rarely spend the night with a man, and I never let a man spend the night with me because the CPAP is rather an embarrassment. Oh well, too bad, so sad. There truly is nothing like The Full Coco, and she happens to come with a CPAP. Oh geez. I can’t believe you all know about my CPAP now. It truly is one of the most embarrassing things. And yet, I love that stupid piece of equipment. Its contribution to my quality of life is invaluable.

So normally, if I was up this time early morning, which happens sometimes because I get super stressed and have insomnia, I’d write up a lovely blog post (such as this) and go to bed. But not today. Today I’m waiting for 8 am to roll around so I can start making phone calls about my CPAP.

I Persevere. And life goes on.





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