Sleep Apnea I

This past weekend I was scheduled for my sleep study; here is how it all went down. I promptly arrived at the study center at 8:45, I was greeted by the study specialist Barbara. She unlocked the door, invited me in and ushered me to the room I would be sleeping in for the night. It was a lovely room; nice comfy overstuffed recliner, queen sized bed, tv with cable and dvd and a bunch of medical looking equipment on the night stand and a camera pointing directly at the bed. The room was really nicely decorated.

Barbara told me to get comfortable, set my things up and open the door when I was ready for her come back to prepare me for the night (more on that later). I immediately turned on the television so I could catch Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance Paris. I sat in the recliner and signed the necessary paperwork and then arranged my things like water, cell phone (in case of an emergency; it was on vibrate), a book and magazine and my Amy Winehouse cd. I also took out two Ambien CRs for my journey to sleep for the night. I told Barbara if I was ever going to fall asleep tonight, I would have to take the medication, she said fine but was concerned about when I would take the pills since it was going to take her 45 minutes to an hour to gear me up for the night.

Back to Fat Chance Paris; I have mixed emotions about the show. I love the idea of learning to love and celebrate your body whatever the size. But going on such a brief journey to self acceptance seemed a little contrived to me. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate what Mo’Nique is doing, the woman is awesome and I thought the right person won but…(you fill in the blank)

So now, Barbara is preparing me for sleep. She comes in the room with a bunch of electrodes, a water soluable gel and straps (get your mind out of the gutter :)). First she places one strap around my chest to monitor my heart and breathing, then the other around my stomach to monitor the same. Then she dipped a q-tip in the gel and rubbed some on my left leg to place the pad for the electrode to monitor for restless leg syndrome and then did the same to the right. Lets deviate for a minute to talk about the q-tip which felt like wood scraping my leg and Barbara was just a little heavy handed, so she rubbed hard. Anyway, next she scraped gel on my left temple and then the right, my left and right cheek; she scraped gel on the top right and left side of my head, in my hair—which I completely cut off last Thursday; I have a teeny weeny fro again which I absolutely adore. Barbara then taped a microphone to my neck; then placed four tubes up my nostrils and she did various other things which escape me right now because by this time the Ambien started to kick in and I was falling fast so the rest of the setup was a big blur.

I put Amy Winehouse in the dvd player earlier, so I climbed into bed turned her on and opened the magazine while Barbara hooked me up to the “Machines.” She told me that the camera would not be on until the study started and that I could just speak conversationally if I needed her because she could hear everything coming from that room. I said ok, we said good night and before I knew it, I was out.

About two hours into the study Barbara rushed into the room and woke me up to let me know that I was having extreme difficulty breathing and I had pulled out the tubes in my nostrils and some of the electrodes on various parts of my head and that I snored (not a surprise). She stuck the electrodes back on and also put this mask over my face which I learned was something called a CPAP treatment. CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the most common treatment for OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) which I obviously have without a doubt. So she straped me in and I fell back asleep.

A little while later she came back in because the mask was leaking so she made some adjustments to fix it; in the meantime I had to pee. She helped me up, I let her know that I was completely woosy and felt upstable. I got to the bathroom and I could swear I peed in the toilet, but my pajama bottoms felt a little wet when I pulled them up. I do not know how I got back to the room; if Barbara was in the bathroom with me or what. I got back in bed with the mask adjusted and fell asleep again.

Barabar woke me up around 7:30am to let me know the study was over. I asked her about the snoring—she said it stopped; she said she didn’t know how I functioned on a daily basis because I was only getting about 1 hour of REM sleep, she asked if I remembered what I was dreaming about and I couldn’t remember. She told me I talked in my sleep a lot. The only thing I could think of was how tired and grogy I was and that I needed to get home and get some sleep, so that’s what I did. I thanked Barbara for all of her help and said goodbye.

So now I wait about two weeks for the official results and a meeting with my doctor. In the meantime I am now acutely aware that I have trouble breathing when I sleep and this information has made me afraid to go to sleep; what if I stop breathing completely and there is no one to wake me up. This has got me so freaked out that I am probably not even getting that one hour of REM sleep that I was eeking out every night. I am very anxious to get this problem resolved before my head explodes with fear or I die from a heart attack or stroke in my sleep; which wouldn’t be accurate since I am not really sleeping…right!


7 Responses to “Sleep Apnea I”

  1. July 30, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks for the details on the sleep study. I always wondered what went on there… Here’s hoping you have sweet dreams soon!

  2. July 31, 2007 at 5:39 am

    This is what my mother in law does for a living. She runs the lab here in the city and loves her job – she does find it amazing though HOW MANY people actually have serious sleep disorders and HOW MANY people actually suffer from Sleep Apnea.

    As scary as it sounds to sleep with that machine on every night – you will never have a sleep like that in your life! You won’t know how you functioned before. Looking forward to your results, hope it gets you the help that you need.

  3. August 2, 2007 at 3:00 am

    Hey C~
    sending you good vibes, i’m stoked that you did this and you’re taking care of yourself. we all need to pay attention and take action. hope you’re resting better soon!

  4. August 2, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you all so much for your encouraging words, I really appreciate them.

    Take care, CF

  5. August 3, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    I haven’t had a good night sleep in ooooh about 20 years (mostly because I’m up 3 or 4 times a night to pee and find it hard to get back to sleep in between).

    Glad you went in for the study – it is so important to take care of yourself!

    Sending restful good vibes your way!

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