Monday, August 21, 2006

My sincerest apologies to Love Chunks

I owe my beloved partner of 13 years, Love Chunks, a huge, heartfelt apology. Truly.

He has recently been through a great deal of lingering pain, discomfort and bloody agony for me. Not for himself, but for me. His sacrifice has made me inordinately grateful and already raises him way up there in my esteem and admiration.

And what do I do to thank him for it? Snore so damned loudly I kick him out of our bed!

LC has been a snorer for most of his life. His nocturnal 'talents' in this regard made him famous throughout his college days and he was even taped by a housemate during his beer-and-pizza flat-sharing stage. On a trip to the snowfields, he was apparently hated by all of them during the wee hours as his sonorous sounds cut through the gyprock walls and into their skulls.

When he and I were an item, it wasn't apparent to me for the first couple of years. Perhaps this blissful ignorance can be explained away by blind/deaf love, total post-horizontal-folk-dancing exhaustion and being a less-stressed and much better sleeper than I am today. Even after a few glasses of wine, his snoring was only intolerable when he slept on his back, tonsils-a-flappin', and this always ceased as soon as he rolled over.

Things got gradually worse on the snoring front when a gentle poke in the back to get him to lie on his side began to be a dozen pokes on the back, getting progressively less gentle as the night wore on. At times I would lie there, wondering just how the hell such a quiet and self-contained man could actually produce such ear-shattering sounds during his peaceful repose.

Wonder soon turned to hate, at least after midnight, as I continued to lie there, crazily contemplating whether sleep deprivation and chronic PMT would be a legitimate excuse for impromptu throat surgery by a spouse with a potato peeler. Unfairly perhaps, I made his 'deficiency' rather public, using it as a convenient conversational stop-gap during stilted dinner parties: "Hey did you know that my Love Chunks can snore like an elephant stuck in a swamp?", or, "LC! Give them your aural impression of a dodgy outboard motor!" Not surprisingly, LC wasn't quite so concerned as I was by the volume and quality of his PM performances.

Soon enough though and he too was concerned about what his snoring was doing to my health and humour. My once michievously twinkling snot-green eyes were now hidden by the shelf of puffy skin hanging down over them in a passable Frankenstein impersonation and unflatteringly purplish bags were lingering like onlookers at a car crash underneath. I had taken to putting the dirty socks in the toilet and sitting on the laundry hamper, and thinking that Sharley Boogers instead of 'barley sugars' and 'Lend me the Pole Hunch, Brase Pole' was acceptable behaviour.

We were living like Queen Liz and Prince Philip in separate bedrooms. Our guestroom was now the sole sleeping environment for LC, who could snuffle and snore away to his hearts' content, safe in the knowledge that a solid brick wall was between us and divorce. Despite his generosity, it didn't feel right, not being together. Sure, we tried to tell ourselves that what difference did it make lying next to each other when we were unconscious, but I missed the sense and warmth of his body with mine, not the least knowing I could suddenly lurch up and hiss "Hey! Did you hear that? That's either a mutant possum or an axe-wielding maniac in our kitchen!" and then sink back down into the warm doona.

Finally it was time for LC to go to an overnight sleep clinic, which he willingly did. The report later described the volume of his sleep songs as 'equating to the sound of a whipper snipper at close range.' The surgery was booked for the next month - removal of the tonsils, insertion of a camera up the schnozz to determine if anything was worth clearing out up there and a closer inspection of the palate to also see if it needed to be sand-blasted.

Unluckily for Love Chunks, but luckily for me, his entire throat got the coat-hanger treatment. Not just his tonsils but - for lack of a medical education - the fleshy curtains at the side of the stage as well. He left hospital the following day, still drugged up, puffy and surprisingly able to talk without any hassle. Swallowing was another matter entirely. The only fluids he could take were those with panadeine dissolved in them, and soup was seen as the culinary equivalent of being forced to traverse a terrain not unlike dragging his butt cheeks along the gibber plains of the Great Stony Desert.

Bless him though, he did not once give me a reproachful, 'I Did This For You, You Mean Old Cow' look, but he came close when I attempted to feed him some steamed rice and veges that were (unintentionally) about as soft as aquarium pebbles. As long as I kept the painkillers up, everything was fine.

Despite his total agony, he still cooked dinner for the three of us every night. I should be ashamed of myself - instead of rushing in and saying "No, Love Chunks sweety-darling-sweety, you must sit down and rest," I thought to myself, Thank God for that or Sapphire'd be eating my three versions of One Pot Meals on regular rotation until the school holidays. Love Chunks' effort sent me a clear message: any pain was worth avoiding the Moronic MillyMoo Menu....

Sadly, this was not the only thing regarding his operation that I'm ashamed of. The end of his throat was scarred white, resembling a fleshy Tunnel of Love yet this moist environment produced an odour that could only be described as Morning Breath Times One Hundred. I know it was not his fault, but that did not help things when he turned to ask me for something selfish (you know, like water, or painkillers or to be led to the toilet), blasting me with breath that could only have brewed in Satan's butt. "Geez LC, you STINK! I am banning you from leaving the house until it goes away - you'll end up killing someone with that!" Need I point out that tact never seems to be listed as one of my key personal qualities, not the ability to stop visibly flinching in repulsion.

This morning, two weeks after his operation, he flew interstate for work. Breath now sweet and socially acceptable; throat able to take solid foods (but sometimes requiring a restorative lie down afterwards) and voice able to withstand a seminar presentation in front of his colleagues.

As for the snoring? Nothing, not one snort or oink. Just the quiet whistling of air rushing through the expressway tunnel of his oesphagus, working like a spasming bike pump at inflating his stomach to a full term pregnancy size.

Last night we cuddled, said 'good night' to each other and rolled over to our opposite sides of the bed to sleep and dream. Eight hours later when the alarm went off to take Dogadoo for a run, I stretched, yawned and clambered out, feeling genuinely refreshed. I looked over, but Love Chunks wasn't there. Seconds later, he staggered into our room, rubbing his eyes, muttering "Was that your alarm? I'd better get into the shower before the taxi arrives."

He didn't look his bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Morning Person best. "What's wrong with ---?"
"You. Your SNORING, in fact. You were out like a light, on your back, fog-horning away as though the entire North Sea Oil Fleet depended on you for their safe harbour!" He stomped off into the bathroom, not caring to hear my response of "Oh dear, errr, that's a bit ironic, isn't it?"

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