I am a middle aged Italian woman. I know myself.
I make meatballs.
I serve chicken soup to kids with colds.
I have dark brown eyes, I used to have dark brown hair, and I have a big nose.
Yes. I do. I have grown up with the realization that I have a lovely, prominent Roman nose.
This is my identity. Italian woman, big nose, big heart, big piles of pasta. It all goes together.
Because this has been my image of myself for some 60 years, you can understand how upsetting it would be to be informed that this is not actually the real me. You can imagine my moment of disorientation when the very core of my personal belief was shaken.
Holy panic attack, Batman. It was terrifying.
This is what happened.
I went to have my CPap fitted this morning. I talked to the lovely, intelligent, articulate cPap using woman at the home care facility. She fitted me with just the right hose to force my throat open and thereby stop my snoring, snorting, gasping, death inducing nighttime routine.
I have been reading about the incidence of sleep apnea in women, and have come to feel pretty much at ease with the realization that a whole lot of us women suffer from this disorder.
I am OK with that. Sorta. I am accepting of the fact that the sleep issue does not mean that I am old and fat. I am accepting of the idea that I just need some help to keep myself breathing while I sleep. It’s just a little medical issue.
All of that is cool.
While i was meeting with the lovely woman who introduced me to my machine, something happened that has shaken my entire belief in myself and who I am.
Part of the fitting today included taking a measurement of my nose.
My big old, honkin’ Roman Italian schnozzola. I needed to be measured so that the nasal mask would fit me.
I sat back for the measurement. I breathed out. I was sure that the measurement would come out as “big” or “huge” or “Italian” or “Holy shit”.
When the friendly woman held up the measurement and said, “You have a small nose”, my entire world came unglued.
I mean. OK. I gasp and choke and have a fat neck and can’t sleep and I need a stupid giant machine…..but my NOSE IS SMALL???????
That was the moment when I realized that I no longer have any idea of who I am.
In all of my most fragile moments, it has never occurred to me that I might have a small nose.
Look at this picture.
Do you see a small nose????
I don’t either.
So….who am I? What has become of my entire view of myself?
If in fact I am a woman with a small nose, might I not also be a woman with a boatload of patience? (Nope.) Or a woman who struggles to put a decent meal on the table? (Nopie, nope, nope).
I am my nose.
I am my internal view of myself.
OK, fine. I’ll give the stupid CPap a chance. But seriously?
A SMALL nose??????
These medical people have no idea what they’re doing.