Thursday, August 8, 2013

Snoring in The Firehouse Could be Dangerous to Your Health!

I snore so I’ve been told. I snore loudly very loudly. It has never bothered me, because I’m asleep when I do it and it’s no big deal when you sleep alone which is how I have slept for the last four plus years. 

My snoring is also transient, in that sometimes I have been told it is unbelievable the volume and the duration of my rattlings, and sometimes it is absent. The biggest factor years ago was my drinking if I had been drinking I was told the amount of snoring increased and if I hadn’t been drinking it might be absent altogether.

Another factor was my level of exhaustion; if I was really tired when I went to bed, I was really going to snore. So if I went to work at the firehouse hung-over and exhausted it was going to long night for my crew.

So back in those days if I had gone out to the clubs with some of the boys, got drunk and maybe gone home with a nice lady I met, It was guaranteed that I was going shake the windows in the bedroom at the firehouse the next day.

On those days or nights, I should say when I woke up my bed and the floor around my bed would be littered with dozens of coat hangers. My crews had taken to bringing a hand full of coat hangers to bed with them and during the night when I got going they would simply hurl a coat hanger across the room and bean me with it.

I guess it was a pretty successful method based on the number of coat hangers on the floor and me. It was somewhat inconvenient when we got an alarm in the middle of the night and I had to negotiate a pile of wire hangers, more than once I ended up face planting before I could get out of the bedroom.

In an effort to reduce personal injuries and to accommodate the rest of my co-workers, we experimented with alterative solutions. The first idea was I would warn the boys when I was getting ready to go to bed. It seemed if they could get to sleep before I did, they had a good chance of sleeping through my snoring.
Of course it never occurred to me that if I didn’t get so drunk on my days off there wouldn’t have been an issue. But that wasn’t going to happen, my first marriage had come to a painful end and drinking and chasing women was the only treatment I knew for a broken heart.

The go to bed before me tactic worked fairly well except for when we got a call at night. When we returned to the station and went back to bed I had the ability to fall asleep again almost immediately, which was a good thing for me, but not so much for my crew. I would wake up again buried in a sea of coat hangers.
So I got in the habit of just going to the TV lounge and sleeping in a lazboy recliner after calls, it spared the crew and it spared me from the occasional black eye.

Now I wasn’t always the worst offender, in many stations I was maybe 2nd or even 3rd on the depth charts of nocturnal rattlers. There were guys that put me to shame in my snoring abilities.
One Captain I worked with had sleep apnea, I don’t know if you are familiar with sleep apnea but it is truly terrifying to witness. The sufferer actually stops breathing for a period of time (in his case it was every 32 seconds because I used to lay in my bed and time him) until the body takes over and reacts to the lack of oxygen.

The reaction was much like, what I imagined it must sound like when a drowning person gets their first breath of air after being under water too long. It was petrifying the noises that came out of this man, horrifying sounds of gasping, gurgling, chocking, and some wheezing mixed in just to make sure you would be off balance.

And he did it every 32 seconds; he was another guy that we would try to beat to bed.
I’d ask, “Hey Cap are you getting tired yet?”
“Maybe, why TimO you trying to beat me to bed?” He’d ask.
You see he was completely unremorseful about his condition, he was the Captain, and he didn’t give a shit if we were losing sleep, he was fine, and that was all that mattered.

It finally got so bad that he was about to have a mutiny on his hands, guys were trying to get out and go to other stations and some were getting down right insubordinate about it, they were so mad about not getting their rest, that a compromise had to be made. The solution was to build a wall across one end of the bedroom that blocked off about ten feet of the room and move the Captain in to his very own mini bedroom; it also doubled as a gym.

So we had either a gym in the Captain’s bedroom or a bed in the gym. It didn’t matter either way because the Captain was out of our bedroom and in his own. Still the wall only provided a slight reduction in the decibels generated by the Cap, but it was enough to maintain harmony and stop the rebellion.