Sleep Apnea Narrative

Author: Jacob B.
When I was about five years old, I began to join my grandfather who I know as “Papa” and my father at our hunting lodge which was, and still is down deep in southern Virginia. I had not fully begun to understand the concept of hunting, however I did enjoy the meat my father put on our table and the loud noises of the shotguns when they fired, so it did not matter to my youthful self. We went on our usual two hunts that cold day, one in the early morning and one later on in the afternoon. We killed two deer during these hunts and at the end of the day; we had meat on the grill and the joy of one another’s company. Alternatively, when my father suggested we retire for the night, you could say I was in for a rude awakening.

Going to sleep in the hunting lodge was surprisingly easy. My bunk was comfortable, padded, and piled high with blankets at my Papa’s insisting. It was a bit chilly in the lodge so the blankets were welcomed and when everyone had gotten in their respective bunks, it was lights out. Of course even though I had no earthly idea what it was at the time, the mysterious machine buzzing in my Papa’s room did not hinder me much in my slumber. I estimate it took me perhaps thirty seconds to fall asleep at most, and then I was out…for that moment. Unbeknownst to me, my Papa had been a sufferer of sleep apnea
for years before I was even born. In the middle of the night, I heard a sound similar to that of a startled dog bark mixed with a gasping elephant. I sat up in my bunk with a start and looked around. Did someone break into our lodge? Who would break into a lodge when the city was twenty miles away? Perhaps my father had gotten up for a midnight drink? All of these thoughts were running through my mind as I sat there quivering at the thought of what, or rather who, was outside of my room waiting for me. I then bravely decided that no intruder would intimidate Jacob Beville, so I got up and carefully snuck out of my bunk, my Toy Story footie pajamas silencing my every creeping step. The sound that startled me did not make itself heard again, so I headed for the other noise, my Papa’s bunk. As I peeked around yet another corner, I heard the sound again. Except this time, I could clearly see it was my grandfather himself who was making the noise. Thinking something was wrong with him, I quickly rushed over to his bunk, and his shoulders were about level with my chin. I shook him several times as much as a five-year-old could shake a 300 pound man and he woke up. When he questioned me as to why I woke him up, I told him it was because I heard him yelp and he simply sat back and laughed, knowing that there was no real issue. He told me to go on back to bed and he would explain in the morning. Trusting my Papa’s word, I went back to my bunk, climbed in, and went to sleep.

The following morning, I was the first one up and ran straight to my Papa, the covers barely settling on the bunk as my feet hit the floor. He laughed when he saw me staring at him by the stove, making coffee, and told me to sit down. When I asked him again what was wrong with him, he explained to me it was something called sleep apnea, a disease that interferes with his sleeping if he does not have his machine. The confused look on his face called on him to explain the subject more, so he continued to tell me that it had come from him smoking before I was born and how it really hurt his lungs. At this point, I fully comprehended what had happened during the night and my Papa and my father shared a good laugh when he joined us in the “kitchen” of the lodge. From that night, I learned one important thing; always cover your ears with the sleeping bag when Papa is staying at the lodge.

This entry was posted in Scholarship 2015. Bookmark the permalink.