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mbumby
My Sleep Study 
18th-Mar-2008 04:02 pm
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I've always needed a lot of sleep. 13 hours is what I think I need. That's per night not per week. (This is not to say I get that very often. The last time I got enough sleep, waking rested, was in 2001. The time before that was 1996.)

When I was in high school, I know I was frequently late, and I seem to recall Rose, the crossing guard at my primary school scolding me for always running late.

Well, things have started to get worse -- I'm more tired -- and my spouse is referring to me as "solar powered" -- so I talked to my doc, who set me up with a Neurologist, who set me up with a sleep study last night, to be followed by a nap study today.



I left work with a couple of hours to spare. Spouse had told me that there was a Wendy's at "the" exit, but I didn't see it, so I went to the hospital and asked my GPS what was local. I "never" eat out unless it's with people other than fast food, but it mentioned Barnes Ribs, and I decided I'd give it a go. Heh. After it told me to turn down a dirt road, I had a bad feeling, and when that dirt road ended as someones driveway that feeling was confirmed. But I had seen some other things as I was driving, so I resolved to do one of them, ending up at the Chelsea Grille and ordering Chicken Marsala. The Tomato Basil soup was wonderful, the broccoli was yummy and the mashed potatoes were heavenly. Oh, and the chicken was okay too.

I got back to the hospital with about a half hour to spare, and managed to forget to bring in my overnight bag. *sigh* I rang the bell, like the sign said, and there was no acknowledgment. But someone else was waiting there, so I waited. After the 3rd person showed up I remembered my bag, still out in my car. Waited to see what they would want me to do -- should I be checked in then go get it, for example, but after the time of my appointment rolled around and I'd still seen neither hide nor hair of anyone other than patients, I said heck with it and went to get my bag.

When I got back, one of the other people was gone, so I was more comfortable waiting. The other guy was brought to his room, and then I was retrieved.

With no direction other than to get into my PJs, I put all of my stuff on the wooden chair, except my shoes, which I put under it. When the nurse came in, she had to move everything -- even the shoes. (Hmmm... I would have dressed (somewhat or) somewhere different(ly) had I realized then that the room was monitored -- I saw the camera later.)

She came in, talked to me, applied about two dozen electrodes and whatnot to various portions of my anatomy -- many of them on my head -- buried in my hair. Of course she first had to take measurements and write on my scalp with a pencil. She said several times that I am too skinny, I cannot have sleep apnea. I would not describe myself as skinny, but given the choice between large and small build, I would admit to having a smaller build. Then suddenly, a bit before 10pm (I'd been told that lights out was at 11pm) she came in and asked if I was ready for bed. Sure.

Then she hooked up a few more sensors, including two that went a little bit into my nose -- the tape for which on my upper lip was quite annoying.

Of course the fact that I could hear conversations (she told me in the morning I was the only quiet one), and I could hear bleed-through from the PA as she talked to others, and I could hear water running, and I itched under where the glue holding the electrodes on was placed, and my nose itched, and the tape on my upper lip was aggravating meant that I didn't sleep much. Or rather, I was awake much.

The next morning (they woke me at 6) I learned that just because she said it three times didn't make it true. I had told her that I don't snore. She said I did a bit -- the first time just audible breathing and the 2nd time a bit louder than that. Spouse has never heard me stop breathing, or gasp for air. I don't wake up with a headache. But, she said that I do seem to have apnea.

I guess I should take comfort from the fact that she didn't say "OMG we need to get you into a mask now or you're going to Diiiiiiie," but I found it very disheartening that it was apparently bad enough that she called the Neurologist to see about canceling the nap study -- because if I have apnea, that needs to be treated first. Guess the doctor overrode.

A bit after 7 they fed me one of the more uninteresting (ok, for hospital food it was probably pretty good) breakfasts I've ever had. At 8 I went down for a nap. I know I slept. Not sure I dreamt. At 10 I went down for a nap. Slept for sure. At 11 they gave me lunch -- I got a pesto pasta thing, and broccoli... that ... if that's the only broccoli a kid has ever had, I can support him hating broccoli. But the pasta was good. At noon I got another nap, and again slept. At 2pm, there were lots of noises -- conversations, rain, water running, and I was already starting to plan what I was going to do when I left, and I did not fall asleep. Each of these times they only left me down for 20 minutes.

She removed the electrodes and told me to shower and then I could leave. Their water pressure left something to be desired, but the temperature was good, and I eventually got, I think, all of the glue out of my hair.

Yes, in case you're wondering, I'm yawning as I type this.

But it's time to run off for food and class.

And then wait 3.5 weeks to talk to the Neurologist and learn what's up.
Comments 
18th-Mar-2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
The sleep study is quite specific. They don't just watch and listen while you sleep. All those electrodes capture information and stream it to the console. There are other bands, etc. that measure when you do or do not breathe, and for how long, and the oxygen level in your blood. They actually see what sleep level you get to, when, for how long.

If they say you stopped breathing in your sleep - however little there was of it -- then you stopped. While it is true that sleep apnea correlates strongly to obesity, there are people with sleep apnea who are just fine or underweight.

All I can tell you is this: When they told me I needed a CPAP machine, I cried out loud, tears flowing. When I went back (if you end up diagnosed with sleep apena, you go back a second time to try out the different "dosages" to determine the settings for your machine) I couldn't stop crying. I told the technician (a very nice young Brit who eventually calmed me down in a skillful but gentle way) that I felt I was being punished for being fat.

Now that I've been using one for a year, I went to my physical with my doctor, and *begged* that she refill the order for my CPAP. They will get it from me only over my dead body -- unless I really do get over the condition.

I had no idea what a difference it makes. Not just that you get enough rest. You also have less physical stress -- sleep apnea is dangerous to the heart. My night sweats have gone away.

Keep us posted. If you need to talk, you know where to find me.
19th-Mar-2008 04:36 am (UTC)
Thanks. I'm looking forward (kind of) to learning how often I stopped breathing, and low my blood oxygen went (according to the glowing thing on my middle finger) and everything else that they know. Or will know within the next 3.5 weeks.

I don't think I'd be doing the "denial" and the "anger" thing as much now if the only contraindication were my weight -- but dangit -- I don't snore like any of the famous folks we know who learned of their apnea -- nobody's noticed me stopping breathing -- I don't gasp -- I don't wake up with headaches -- the only "symptom" I have is being on the edge of the bell curve as far as how much sleep I need, and I've been there since I was quite young.

Much appreciation.
19th-Mar-2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
I didn't have the other symptoms, either. (I thought the night sweats were due to my age, not the sleep apnea, as did my doctor.) I've never been a snorer, but lately I started breathing more heavily. As for needing more sleep when you were young -- yeah, that's actually normal. Seriously.

I'm not saying you do have the sleep apnea. That's for the study to reveal. I'm just saying that, if you do, dont' fight the CPAP and go for it. It's worth the trouble.

You're welcome. As I said, you know where to find me.
19th-Mar-2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
I needed more sleep then my classmates as a child. And I seem to need more now than I did then. And it's getting worse and I'm getting (more) worried.

I won't fight it if they prescribe it.
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