In the years leading up to 2017, I made some poor economic choices. It came to a head in February. I was forced to move out of the apartment I shared with my partner. To save money, she moved back in with her parents, and I did cheap sublets. We’d had rough patches, but the separation made it impossible, and the relationship came to an end.
At the same time my health insurance kicked in, and I saw a doctor for the first time in four years. I’d been exhausted for months, and it seemed to get worse with the stress of moving and the relationship falling apart.
It was a one-two punch of sleep apnea and diabetes.
The apnea I expected. I snored, and I had years of poor sleep. Bartending meant 5 AM bedtimes. Baking meant I got up at 4 AM. Irregular hours didn’t give me apnea, but years of practice made it easier for me to ignore that I was always exhausted, easily irritated, and mentally foggy.
More likely, the apnea was caused by the same thing that pushed me into diabetes. Obesity. To give you an idea. Once I fled a party because someone insisted I was Action Bronson.
My insurance only covered part of my sleep apnea equipment, and there was medication, blood testing equipment, and the array of appointments with specialists.
The diagnosis also meant I couldn’t continue being the human garbage pail I’d become. The doctor instructed I eat meals at regular intervals, which is not something that fits into most restaurant lives.
The equipment. The medication. The restrictions. Not a great combo with an unstable life.
Then I went to the dentist. Damn.
Through it all, I had the job. Just a waiter. It helped me get through it.
By October I was in my third apartment, a cheap closet in a giant Victorian on the outskirts of Boston. It was two months with grad students who never saw each other and communicated through passive aggressive post-its. We shared a bathroom that looked like a set from Dexter or Saw. The clock was ticking; I had no place to live after the end of November.
The sad thing? Before the medical expenses. Before losing the apartment, and having to shell out for a storage space. Before the break-up. In the first week of January 2017, I’d purchased two nonrefundable plane tickets and a hotel room from LA to Hawaii for what would have been our seventh anniversary.
I was depressed, and I had to decide what to do next.