Pectoriloquy |

I Couldn’t Sleep FREE TO VIEW

Dave Morrison
Author and Funding Information

Camden, ME

Correspondence to: Dave Morrison, 3 Park St, Camden, ME 04843; e-mail: writer_rocker@yahoo.com

Chest. 2008;133(6):1527. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0036
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Published online

I couldn’t sleep because I

couldn’t breathe. I

did not dream. I

woke up exhausted.

To run the

marathon of each day I

drank coffee going uphill,

smoked cigarettes going down.

In the evening more

caffeine to try to

write. I wore my life like

an ill-fitting


The drinks saved me and

I fell in love with

the lifeguard.

I gained weight. I

did not like the

doughiness, but

after a life of feeling small it was

intriguing to appear


I couldn’t sleep because I

couldn’t breathe. I

did not dream. I

woke up exhausted.

My wife, also unable to

sleep would shake me awake and

whisper “Stop! You’re

doing it again!”

I wanted to weep –

I had no idea what I

was doing, except I had

just fallen asleep.

All my life.

Stop – you’re doing it again.

I couldn’t sleep because I

couldn’t breathe. I

did not dream. I woke up


They wired me from

head to toe; strange, bored

science fiction.

The data suggested that

I was dying little deaths

in my sleep.

No dreams.

My heart was a fairly new car with

too many miles on it.

The apparatus turned me into

a nightmare pachyderm. The

hum, the tangle, the constant wind

in my face.

Now I had dreams.

Bad dreams.

The doctor broke my

nose and stuffed my head with

cotton. I got

four days off from


I woke up tired. I

cried in the shower, my

prayers to make it through

another day sounding


Drinks and

cigarettes were my

Christmas and


Desperation can make you do

foolish things.

Exhaustion can make you

turn away from the one who

truly loves you.

I placed my false peace in

a paper boat and

put it in the stream.

And now I sleep.

and now I dream.

And sometimes I dream of


And sometimes I dream of


And sometimes I dream of

me, in the paper boat,

taking on water.

Editor’s Note: Dave Morrison is a writer and plays guitar in rock and roll bars. His poetic personal window into sleep apnea speaks of this disorder with a raw intensity that makes us wiser about it, the way only poetry can.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP Section Editor of Pectoriloquy




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