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Illustration: Jim Boraas

Suzanne Beal: Vacation
Illustration: Jim Boraas


During a recent visit to my general practitioner I discovered I would be going on vacation, and as a bonus my health insurance was footing the bill. Next week I’ll check into a small but comfortable room with a double bed, cable television and room service. In truth, I might have lost sight of what a “real” vacation consists of. If I remember correctly there are activities like dancing, drinks with umbrellas, snorkeling and lots and lots of sleep. But I have two left feet, think combining small pointy objects with hard alcohol demonstrates an obvious lack of judgment, and, ever since watching Jaws, am more than a little suspicious of what lurks in the deep. It’s the sleep I’m dreaming about.

When my doctor proposed participation in a sleep study for patients with suspected sleep apnea, it was all I could do to stop myself from shouting “Bingo!” You see, since the birth of our son four years ago, neither my husband nor I have had much shuteye. Hugo is that rare urban myth child that even as an infant could stay awake for 16 hour periods with two 20 minute breaks for recharging. Technically he needs 12 hours of sleep a night. Ask the manuals. But Hugo will tell us – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at five in the morning – that he doesn’t even need a quarter of that.

A somber staff member informs me that I’ll have to have electrodes glued to my hair during the study. I’m in! I haven’t had the time to participate in a craft project in years. I am not afraid of glue or electrodes or even being monitored as I snore, drool and gracelessly flop around on a mattress. It sounds a lot like horizontal karaoke.

I know most people wouldn’t consider my little getaway much in the way of a vacation. No bikini, no sand, no surf, no romance. In reality, the only bags I’m packing are those under my eyes, which is why sharing one uninterrupted night with the sandman – even in the lackluster atmosphere of the hospital – will be absolutely, undeniably dreamy.



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