Thursday, December 20, 2012

almost awake

I promised I was going to write more, and I haven't. That's the story of this year, really. There are numerous things more important than writing that I haven't been doing, either.

The sleep clinic seemed pretty confident they can fix me, mostly using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is fancy-speak for "tweaking your sleep schedule with science." Their first tip, to go to bed when I'm drowsy and fix my waking time, may or may not be helping: this past week I was approaching "rested," until yesterday. I've been through this before, so it's just as well I'm taking a week off from work.

The clinic has a 6-8 week lead time on appointments, so the followup won't be for a while. I liked the feeling of going there, though. Most doctors I've met, they don't seem particularly smart. Obviously they have the mental abilities to get through medical school, but those are not overwhelmingly abilities of curiosity, intellectual engagement, learning, and problem-solving. The internist I talked to has already trained as a neurologist, then went to Stanford to learn more about treating sleep. And I met the insomnia group's director. They are smart, not just doctor-smart.

Here's hoping.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vegas, baby.

I've been sleeping! The makers of NyQuil, the mightily soporific cold remedy, saw another niche and decided to make ZzzQuil, which skips the "cold remedy" pretense.

It uses a different antihistamine to knock you out--diphenyhydramine instead of doxylamine--so the quality of sleep is better and the hangover is, for me, not so bad. In fact, it's not so much a "hangover" as it is "I could just lie here and sleep another 3 hours," followed by a day of being able to lie down and sleep at almost any time. I skipped it one night, though, and decided this is preferable to the usual routine of broken sleep.

I have an appointment at the Stanford sleep center on Monday. I don't think I've ever looked forward to seeing a doctor before, though I'm trying to keep my hopes down.

I went to Las Vegas last week, to do a panel with my boss at the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference. (The short description of AWS is that it's an infinite number of virtual computers and services that I can use without having to worry about the physical hardware for.) The panel went really well, and in general I hated Vegas less than I expected, though that's probably just because I'm more grounded than in my younger years.

I may have been a little crabby about it because the night before I slept about 2.5 hours, then spent a day talking and learning stuff, went to bed responsibly about 10:15, and woke up two hours later. This is the shopping center at the Venetian at 2 A.M.:

2 AM at the Venetian's 

It's quite pretty, actually.

I went for a long walk down the Strip. There are some profoundly sketchy people walking around Las Vegas at that hour. The distinction between "working prostitute" and "partying woman" is not always clear to me. And the drunks! Las Vegas is like the never-ending party of Bourbon Street in New Orleans! Except with the added reek of human desperation. It's amazing that humans build places like that, but imagine if we could put all those resources into something useful! Instead of building a populous monument to degradation in the middle of the desert.