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David Carroll’s News and Notes: Leave My CPAP Out of It

David Carroll

You know you’re getting old when you remember that we used to elect a president every 4 years, and we didn’t think about the next election until at least 3 years later. These days, the next presidential campaign begins immediately after the inauguration.

In 2020 we elected a guy, and for reasons both good and bad, he’s been in the news ever since.

As for the guy who didn’t win, due to various accusations, investigations, indictments, arrests, court appearances, TV interviews and campaign rallies, he has been all over the news too.

In my youth, every president faced criticism from newspapers, jokes from TV comedians, and jabs from political opponents. But one thing was clear: he had been elected to a four-year term, and during that time, most of us wanted him to succeed.

When faced with a crisis (the Persian Gulf war, the 9/11 terror attacks, or a major recession), we locked arms to show the world that we would prevail. Any political repercussions could wait until the next election. We would eventually vote out an incumbent in 1992, and we would choose a new president from the opposing party in 2000, 2008, and 2016. The Founding Fathers’ grand experiment was working.

But the atmosphere has become toxic. There is a daily drumbeat designed to incite anger. Whoever is president, from either party, is Public Enemy Number One, much to the delight of our enemies.

We are now 15 months from election day. From a pool of 332 million Americans, the major parties have apparently determined that two senior citizens are the best choices to lead the nation from now until January 20, 2029. Their flaws are rather obvious, and polls show that most voters don’t want either of them in the White House, yet here we are. If there is a knight in shining armor, he or she has not come to the rescue.

In the meantime, various scandal-thirsty media outlets look for any excuse to rile their partisan audience. Recently, one so-called journalist “scooped” the competition by reporting that President Biden uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to battle sleep apnea. The telltale marks of the tight mask on the president’s face gave it away.

This inspired the latest wave of “Sleepy Joe” jokes. I find it amusing that his critics have two basic lines of attack: he’s either a doddering old fossil who can’t stay awake, or he’s a criminal mastermind who manipulates foreign governments and the justice system to punish his political opponents. So, which is it?

At any rate, as a sleep apnea patient of 15 years, I proudly use one of those CPAP devices to keep my nasal passages open while I’m sleeping. Without it, my snoring used to alarm my wife, and caused our neighbors to report low-flying aircraft.

Throughout our marriage, Cindy expressed amazement I was still alive each morning after enduring sleepless nights caused by my high-decibel snoring. The piercing rattle was frequently interrupted as I gasped for breath. I had no idea this was happening. All I knew was, I would awaken bone-tired, as if I had worked in a cotton field all night. I would lumber out of bed wondering why I was so achy and exhausted. Eventually I’d snap out of it, but mornings were difficult.

I visited a sleep center and took the test, with the sticky electrodes and uncomfortable gear making it darn near impossible to sleep. But the doctor acquired enough data and video evidence to prove that I had sleep apnea. He prescribed the CPAP device and almost immediately I slept better, stopped snoring, and felt great at the start of each day.

The first CPAP I ever saw belonged to my father. It was large, loud, and uncomfortable, but that was a long time ago. The newer models are quiet and the gear is lightweight. I take it with me when I travel.

I’m proud to be among the millions of Americans who are CPAP users. It has probably saved my life.

So if you want to pick on President Biden during election season, go for it. He’s far from perfect. But leave my beloved CPAP out of it.