FINALLY, after 3.5 weeks of waiting, mulling about (and losing sleep over?) the "gosh I guess you do have sleep apnea" comment by the nurse, I got to go in and talk to the doctor.
In about 8 hours of down-time, I slept for about 7. I can't analyze the percentage in whatever level I was at because I don't know what the percentages "should" be. Since she didn't comment on them, I assume they're "within normal parameters".
There _were_ actual obstructive sleep apnea events. 7 of them. That averages 1 per hour, so they don't care. (If it's not over 5, it's not a problem that they'll care about.)
I kicked too. 9 times. An average of 1.2 times per hour -- again if it's not over 5, they don't care.
However, I _did_ wake up 187 times. That averages out to every between-2-and-3 minutes. The nurse on duty while I was trying to sleep told me that most of my "arousals" were related to my teeth grinding.
I'll believe that. I know I'm a grinder, and the TMJ got so bad 10 or 12 years ago that I've been religiously sleeping with a bite splint (and yes, I wore it to the sleep study) since then. But while it prevents me from destroying my teeth so fast, (and keeps me from the "I can't insert even one knuckle between my teeth" phase) it does nothing to prevent me grinding.
What are the options? That's a good question. She mentioned some drugs, but said that they are used to help a person fall asleep... which isn't my problem. And I wasn't terribly excited about taking a sample pack of Valium, and she didn't push. She said that she supposed someone could inject botox, but I use those muscles for eating, so it seems really foolish to immobilize them. The only real option she left me with was to call the (unfortunately named) Drug Abuse and Mental Health hot-line on the back of my insurance card to see about getting hooked up with someone who'll do bio-feedback on my jaw -- but that that will probably take quite a bit of shopping, because that's not common. *sigh*
Someone had suggested that maybe what I needed was to go on Prozac -- that maybe that would chill me out and prevent so much grinding, but the doctor said that that particular drug (and all but one in its class -- and she did not recommend going on that) actually increases incidence of grinding. (Dammit -- I wanted a solution! A quick-and-easy one preferably.)
I'd also wondered if a light box would work the magic on me that it has worked on others. She said that what the box does is to regulate the (I forget her words) "It's time to sleep" centers of the brain -- and again would be more related to getting TO sleep than staying there. (Dammit -- if not a magic pill, a magic gadget would have been appreciated.)
Oh, before I forget again, the nap study (even though I fell asleep 3 of the 4 times they put me down for a nap) did NOT show that I was significantly sleepy. She didn't say it in so many words, (and I didn't think to ask) but I think that "not significantly sleepy" in this test rules out narcolepsy.
So the bottom line is:
I might have a problem.
They have no clue what to do about it.