Richard J. Anthony, Sr.
It struck me the other night: the older I get the longer it takes me to get ready for bed. At first I thought it was a temporary aberration. But as I thought about it and began to pay closer attention to the ritual that proceeds my climbing into bed each night, it became clear that I had fallen into an automated elongated, lockstep routine.
It begins with what I laughingly call exercise at about 10 or 10:30 PM. I’m not a morning person, especially if it requires sweating. My evening exercise consists of a short time on a draconian device that operates like a rowing machine but isn’t. It’s got pedals and handle bars and a seat designed for thin people whose butts rest comfortably on its injection molded plastic surface. The idea is to rhythmically pull on the handle bars and push down on the pedals, thereby theoretically giving your upper and lower extremities a workout that is easy on the knees and stretches your arthritic back. The time I spend on the contraption is not nearly long enough to get my heart rate up, but just long enough to report to my doctors (I have several), that “Yes, I exercise routinely.”
After the late news, which leads with the late breaking horrors of the day preceding the your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine weather forecast, I approach the kitchen cabinet to put out my evening and morning medications, mostly prescription potions, reinforced by supplements to support the continued operation of various organs. All of the containers are arranged so that I can retrieve their contents blindfolded: a statin for cholesterol, a blood thinner, a beta blocker, another pill to offset the adverse side effects of the statin, something for reflux, a pill for memory and more. Add to the morning collection two fish oil capsules and something else the size of a 38 caliber bullet, the purpose of which is a bit vague.
Next, to the shower, followed by two minutes of vigorous brushing with a chemical compound that promises to whiten one’s teeth by at least two shades within five days. I’ve been brushing twice a day, as proscribed, for six months. It’s part of the routine.
I’m one of the 18 million Americans who has sleep apnea, requiring that I sleep with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a nifty ventilating device consisting of a machine that pushes a stream of air, at just the right velocity, through a plastic hose, to a mask fitted over my nose, held firmly in place by adjustable elastic straps that leave track marks on both cheeks. After shaving in the morning, they are hardly noticeable. The machine contains a reservoir that must be filled to a certain level with distilled water. If the reservoir is over filled, the excess humidity in the hose makes a loud gurgling sound reminiscent of what water boarding must be like.
To avoid grinding my teeth down to the gums during slumber, I wear a mouth guard, which helps with the grinding but may result in lockjaw, a very painful side effect of nocturnal clenching.
Because of my sciatica, I must sleep with a separator, a $30 spongy thing, between my knees. It doesn’t provide much relief, but my rheumatologist has persuaded me that the principle seems plausible and the benefits are cumulative. An opinion shared by my acupuncturist.
Stretched, medicated, showered, brushed and properly equipped, I approach my bed, exhausted by preparation.
Rick Anthony is managing director of THE ANTHONY GROUP, INC a full service management consulting firm specializing in business advisory services, organization effectiveness and performance improvement. He has over 35 years of experience as a manager and counselor to senior management. He is an accomplished speaker on managing intellectual capital to accomplish business objectives. As a presenter or panelist, he has spoken on or presented college-level courses on the following topics: Trends Affecting the Workplace, Regaining the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Managing the Multigenerational Work Force, and Motivating Employees to Become Business Partners.
Rick’s book, Organizations, People & Effective Communication, is available on Amazon.com.