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Catching poop and diagnosing sleep apnea.

July 6, 2017

July 6, 2017

This morning’s 7 a.m. dog walking started amiably with an encounter with a woman and her large white dog named Tobal, who seemed only bored with Gunther’s antics.  “Play with me!  Chase me!” Gunther seemed to say.  “Ehhh…” Tobal seemed to answer.  His owner acted only slightly amused as she hurried to the next block.  Well, she didn’t exactly hurry.  She had Tobal on one of those retractable leashes that allowed her dog to sniff trees and bushes and pee on this and that.  Gunther and I held back some to let them get ahead of us.  I don’t leash him for our morning jaunts.

I am happy I invented a new method for cleaning up after Gunther.  I’m used to him walking a certain way before he hunches down for a bowel movement, then letting fly with three or four of his …um…turds.  Gunther always swaggers when he walks, but he swaggers a bit extra before a BM.

This morning, however, Gunther’s swaggering fooled me into getting my plastic poop bag out ahead of time.  I had my hand in the bag fingers extended when he squatted.  I hurried up behind him as he looked intensely at his horizon and I managed to pick up his initial turd, then catch the remainder of his output with my gloved…er…bagged hand.  I had only to close my fingers around the warm stuff, invert the bag, and— no muss, no fuss, nothing on the neighbor’s lawn.  Well, maybe a trace from that first one.  I wouldn’t want to sit on the spot.

This will be my new M.O. for morning walks, but especially for the middle day walks when his output tends to be squishier and more apt to stick to the neighbor’s grass.

Occurs to me that everyone might not understand why I walk Gunther around the block to defecate on the neighbor’s lawns.  You see, Gunther refuses to poop on his own turf unless he is ill or has no choice.  He is a bit more liberal with the pee.  I’ve seen him pee on the tree in front of our place, but he never poops there.  He insists on pooping on the opposite side of the block about as far away from our house as you can get.  One of my strategies is to keep him in the house 15 minutes or so after he gets up in the morning so he’ll feel a bit more urgency in pooping.  Sometimes this works and I don’t have to walk him farther than around the corner.  But I digress.

Still feeling kind of high and giddy from my experience catching Gunther’s poop, I prepared to visit a doctor, a sleep specialist, who may diagnose me with sleep apnea so that I can get fitted for a CPAP, a kind of World War II gas mask to wear comfortably to bed each night.  And to scare my niece’s son, no doubt.

This morning Dr. Kohler examined me and asked me numerous questions about my sleeping and my propensity to feel drowsy in the daytime.  He explained that untreated sleep apnea is dangerous to one’s health.  One is at higher risk of heart disease, strokes, and motor vehicle accidents because of poor sleep and a propensity to fall asleep while driving.  He also explained that CPAPs don’t resemble the masks worn by fighter pilots anymore.  They sometimes fit over the nose only and are lighter and less intrusive, he said.

He stays busy, he said.  He makes his diagnoses based on sleep studies, in which his patients are festooned with wires and other devices to detect problems with sleep.  He is booked up for months ahead, such is the ubiquity of sleeping problems here in Billings.  My own appointment for a sleep study will not be until mid-September.  I promise I’ll fill everyone in later.  The instructions invited me to bring in my own pillow and blanket.

Photo on 3-30-17 at 1.35 PM

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