In our culture, sleep is often a last priority. But for those of us with narcolepsy, it must be a top priority, says a writer for HuffPost.

As a grant writer in rural Oregon, I documented the need for bridge repairs, water treatment and other infrastructure in surrounding communities. When I was 48 years old, as I drove to meet the mayor of a small town, a deliciously tired feeling nearly overcame me, so I pulled over, fell asleep and awoke to a police officer tapping on my window. “Are you OK?” he asked.

I thought I was. But a few days later, while cross-country skiing, the soft, dreamy feeling happened again. “I’ll just rest a bit,” I thought. I sat down in the snow, leaned up against a rock in the sun, fell asleep and woke to concerned friends who had turned around to look for me.

Concerned about what was happening to me, I visited a specialist who scheduled sleep tests, which required me to spend 24 hours with sensors glued to my scalp.