About 18 months ago, Kate convinced me that I probably had a touch of apnea. (She described the noises I was occasionally making when I was sleeping, and they were pretty tell-tale.) So about a year ago I got a CPAP, and I quickly decided that it was at least a little helpful -- I felt slightly more rested when using it. So I've been utterly faithful about it ever since, and have used it every night since I got it.
But I realized, when I was packing for 50 Year, that I had no good way to *power* the bloody thing. I have a big battery, but it puts out DC, not AC, and while that's a solvable problem, I couldn't deal with it in the hours that I had left to prep. So I decided that it wouldn't kill me, and I'd just do without it for four days.
That was illuminating. Granted, it wasn't a perfectly controlled experiment by any means: I was sleeping on an air mattress, in rather warm and humid weather and (most importantly) without Kate, so my sleep patterns were a bit disrupted. But I would have subjectively sworn that I was getting at least six hours' sleep a night. By the second day I was running on pure adrenaline, and by the third I was comatose on my feet. It was startling: I sometimes think of myself as tired during the day nowadays, but I haven't felt that sort of bone-deep *exhaustion* in the past year. The contrast was vivid.
So the moral of the story is that the CPAP is *not* optional -- I'm going to have to be consistent in bringing it with me on trips from here on out. And I am now *especially* keeping my fingers crossed that the Airing project works out -- while I'm likely to continue using the conventional CPAP at home, I would love to be able to using Airings when traveling, especially when camping...