Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — My apologies for stealing the headline from “Your Local Lung Association’s” public service announcements from the late 1970s, but if you didn’t read Don McNay’s column which appeared in Friday’s paper, some of you may want to go back and read it. McNay, who writes for our CNHI group of newspapers, wrote about the diagnosis of his sleep apnea and how it’s being treated.
His advice could be a life-saver. Apnea is the suspension of external breathing. Since we all need to breathe to live, this can cause a serious problem while we’re asleep. Many people, especially those who are overweight, have it and there are far too many who don’t know they’re suffering from it.
Apnea made headlines after the death of former NFL star Reggie White, who died the day after Christmas in 2004, when it was reported that he suffered from apnea. Although the cause of death was cardiac arrythmia, apnea is believed to have played a factor in the events that led to his death while he slept.
A CPAP machine (it’s a breathing device) attached to a mask worn by the user, provides a continuous stream of air, allowing the user to breathe. One of my friends who uses the device calls it his “Darth Vader mask.” He jokes about it but doesn’t mind wearing it because he knows it’s doing what it’s designed to do: helping him sleep through the night, getting proper rest and — most importantly — staying alive. I’m sure his wife and kids are grateful for it.
I have several friends who have apnea. One went to Sisters Hospital’s St. Joseph campus in Cheektowaga for a sleep study. There’s an actual room where you’re monitored while you sleep. He got there one evening and they hooked him up to several wires that recorded his sleep patterns.
They determined he has apnea. Bad. He stopped breathing several times an hour, then would start up again on his own. He was provided the breathing apparatus and now sleeps through the night and feels more rested when he gets up in the morning.
Another friend just got tested. He, too, has apnea. The sleeping test found that my friend stopped breathing 120 times an hour. That’s twice a minute.
It’s scary stuff.
Many people have apnea but don’t know it. If you’re having trouble sleeping or if your snoring could wake the dead, you may want to get tested. It could save your life.
McNay’s column can also be found at http://cnhinews.com/node/3171.
And now, an apology.
First, some background. LIke many guys, I enjoy quaffing a beer or two —or more, when I can find a designated driver — and I’m a bit of a beer snob, preferring the upper-end labels. However, they’re expensive and so I usually turn to my favorite of the well-know brands, Labatt Blue.
Labatt took over primary sponsorship of the Canal Concert Series this year. We made note of it and things were going swimmingly ... until July 26 when we misidentified the series by its former sponsor, a lesser beer at all levels.
I was on vacation when that happened, and I hoped it wouldn’t happen again. It did, and this time it was my fault.
It occurred a week ago Saturday, when the series was misidentified following the last concert of the season. I was the editor on duty that night and my job was to ensure there were no errors in the paper. I failed.
How did it happen? I was in a rush. I spent a few hours gathering information on a large brush fire in Hartland, and then we received additional information on a fatal fire in Newfane. I tried to do too much and it cost me. The good people at Labatt’s weren’t happy, and I don’t blame them.
Like I said, Labatt is one of my favorite beers. The company sponsors the best sports show around, Hockey Night in Canada, and it irks me that I accidentally disparaged it. They gained extra points with me a few years ago when they moved their U.S. headquarters to Buffalo, from Darien, Conn.
It’s a company that sponsors many events and charities in the area and I’m glad the canal series is one of them.
So, to Labatt — which is to me what Duff is to Homer Simpson — I’m sorry!