What Would Darth Vader Do?

Here’s the report we’ve all been waiting for. Well, okay. Here’s the report I’ve been putting off for the longest time because I wanted to have good news for you all.

The good news is that my magic CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine really is magic. I’ve gone from years and years of interrupted deep sleep (93 interruptions/hour when I had my sleep study) to sleeping like a regular person (96% success rate with only 2 interruptions/hour). Well, okay. I’m sleeping like a person who looks like he’s wearing the Darth Vader Starter Kit. The thing rams air up my nose at a pressure that would raise some unknown column of water 12 centimeters–not quite enough to blow up a balloon, say, but enough to keep a small plastic paratrooper aloft indefinitely. It took me, oh, about 45 seconds to adjust to the pressure on the first night. I closed my eyes. I opened my eyes. Eight hours had passed between and I hadn’t moved at all. I had a cramp in my right buttock all the next day from not moving. I slept like a dead guy for the first week.

Now I can roll over and do several other tricks short of begging for breath. I have so much energy, most of the people around me (except maybe my kids) can’t stand it. I have enough juice to fully form an opinion and the will to argue my point of view. That’s scaring a few people and I have had to figure out how to get that roped in. I’ve had to refer to my mantra, “Better happy than right,” more than once since my rebirth.

I’m back in the gym. My weight had topped out at 250 lbs., pre-CPAP, so I was looking forward to almost instant weight loss when my hormones rearranged themselves to convince me that I wasn’t starving to death anymore (excess cortisol + exhaustion = let’s eat!). I gained eight pounds in the first two weeks. Yikes! But I also went down a belt notch and a half. I normally put on 2-3 lbs. when I start lifting again in the fall. I think what we’re seeing is evidence of real recovery, thanks to a new diet of deep sleep. But I think that’s it for freebies.

The parameters are these: Regardless of sleep patterns, I’m still a grossly overweight 49-year-old former bicycle road racer and cyclocrosser who moved into the ranks of recreational mountain biking 15 years ago. All those exercise articles out there will tell you that diet alone won’t get you where you want to be fat-wise. You gotta do the work. Well, if you read the diet articles, they say that exercise alone won’t get you there either. This is news to me, in a way. So this week I added the cardiovascular part of the program back in and started shaving calories (eat the corn nuts instead of the Pop Tarts and save 200, pick roast beef sandwich over double cheeseburger and save another 200, etc.). I’ve lost two pounds and another half belt notch. I like where this is going.

I’m an old dog, but these are familiar tricks. I like how I feel, for the most part. I find I actually have to stretch now, if I want to avoid feeling stiff. And running is a bad idea at 258 lbs. I got to the mailbox and back before I felt something starting to tear in one of my calf muscles. I’m hiking, treadmilling (big incline/low speed so I can walk), trying the elliptical trainer and trying to get Tattoo Dave to give me back my indoor bike trainer. Pretty soon I can add x-c skiing and snowshoeing. The plan is 30 minutes of activity a day during the week and some longer stuff on the weekends until I get light enough to think about improving performance. I’ll get on the bike at least twice a week and do some snow riding in preparation for this year’s Jay Challenge. That’s the plan. Simple, but not as easy as it sounds. Gotta be mindful, hopeful, diligent, and adaptable. This is Vermont. The weather is a variable.

Meanwhile, back in the boudoir. The other night we had a power failure, which woke me up instantly when my throat slammed shut in the absence of what’s described as an “air splint.” I took my headgear off and attempted to go back to sleep. I couldn’t do it. I’m addicted to breathing in my sleep. I wondered what Darth Vader would do if his batteries ran out. (Thus the title of this little ditty. Hey, it was 3 AM–not my best hour for reasonable thoughts.) It was a little after 3 AM so I reasoned that I’d gotten four good hours in, which is four more than I got for a decade or two BCPAP (before CPAP), so I’d just read my book until the sun came up. The power came back on after 45 minutes and, not having reset the clock/alarm, slept another seven hours. Anyway, the thing can be adapted to DC with a $130 inverter, so I’m going to have to look into that. The power goes out up here all winter long. And I have to figure out how to adapt my new toy for summertime camping adventures. But these, as they say downtown, are Cadillac problems.

I’ll leave you with this erudite poetry recital and images of last fall’s final mountain bike season moments. The structures and trails are all the brainchildren and muscletude of Dr. Dizzle. Enjoy:

Here’s the URL if the embed isn’t working for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tVjlYcNVd8

4 Responses to “What Would Darth Vader Do?”

  1. Repack Rider Says:

    Hey, I’m a lot slimmer and I don’t run much, except to jog across Sir Francis Drake every morning after I park the truck to see whether any of my collection of lifetime injuries have anything to say today. Then, no matter how I feel, I go out and move a few pianos.

    But I can ride a bike, and when I do, nothing hurts. Makes me think I should stick with it.

  2. Repack Rider Says:

    No blogging, no blogging, no blogging no blogging…


    No blogging, no blogging…

  3. dondo Says:

    Hey, quit yer whining. Ya get what ya pay for out here in cyberspace. Dr. Dizzle wants to invade your space in March. Then I’d have some blog fodder.

  4. moose dookie Says:

    Holy Crap! CPAP and a motorcycle?? What say we meet up this year eh? been too long my OLD friend

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