It will come to no surprise to the people who have slept with me (or in the same room as me) for the past few years: I snore. I snore very well. It has been (gently) suggested to me more than once that I should talk to my doctor about said snoring (loud, cacophonous snoring).
I had my physical in February, and I mentioned it to my doctor. We discussed options, doing the test at home or going into the sleep center. I chose the sleep center, and thankfully my insurance agreed.
The sleep center because I was pretty sure they’d find something, and if you do the test at home, you’d still have to go in to get an official test. I didn’t want to mess around.
My doctor put in the order. The sleep center called me a few weeks ago, and we arranged a date. And Last night was the night. I posted the picture above on Instagram, which caused some conversation. Including freaking my mother out, even though I TOLD her about the sleep test weeks ago, and reminded her earlier in the day.
I am pretty good at sleeping. When I actually get to bed (sometimes I stay up late reading, or catching up on television or planning world domination.) But even with 7+ hours of sleep I feel sluggish when I wake up. So it was time. Time to TCB (that’s Take Care of Business).
I’ve said it before, one of my failings is hubris. It usually manifests itself with directions and driving. I will say to myself “I know where I’m going!” and then get totally lost.
Well, the sleep center sent me a packet a few weeks ago. Stuff to fill out before the test. At 6 pm last night, 3 hours before my appointment, I logged out of work and opened up the packet.
In it was a questionnaire for me, a questionnaire for Edmund, and a sheet for a 7-day sleep journal.
Luckily, Ed filled out his section in record time. And I went back to fudge notes for 7 days of sleep. Oy. (Good thing I didn’t wait until I got to the hospital/sleep center!) I don’t think the technician (Derek) noticed. Or if he did, he was too polite to say anything.
I was early to the hospital. I only live five minutes away, and I had to carry my ginormous wedge for my ankles, so I just went when I was ready.
The room was nice, mostly like a hotel room. Except for the tiny bathroom. Nice carpet, little couch, and armchair. The bed was a double, and had lots of pillows on it. Like I said, nice.
The technician was great. Derek, explained everything very well. Good bedside manner (heh). He wired me up, putting electrodes all over my brain (on my head people, not IN my head). He took care with my legs, as the skin on them does not take well to exfoliating.
You know the drill, he is not a doctor, so he can’t diagnose me. My order was not for a CPAP test, it was for a baseline test to see if I had a sleep disorder (namely sleep apnea). But he tells me, if I have symptoms bad enough, he can put a CPAP machine on me during the evening, was I interested in that? Of course, I opted for yes.
The wiring up was fine. He told me where things were going, and why. They felt odd, not not uncomfortable. I quickly got used to them.
Even though I usually go to sleep at around midnight, I turned in early, at 11:15 pm. I kept 1 light on, mainly because that is what I do when I sleep alone. There was a microphone and a camera going into a side room where Derek hung out for the evening. I streamed Men in Black on my Kindle Fire.
I was sleeping within 20 minutes.
Derek woke me up at 1:30 – we were going to need to use the CPAP machine.
Yesterday morning as I got ready for work, I did some research about sleep apnea. I mean, I was going for a sleep test in the evening, so I should probably know a little about the disease, right? I watched a couple of youtube videos, so I am an expert now.
Basically, sleep apnea is the phenomenon where while one is sleeping their throat relaxes on itself, blocking the airway. Because of this, breathing stops. Usually breathing is automagical, but in this case, the brain thinks “Oh, we’re not breathing now, gotcha.” and ones body stops trying to breathe. After a while, your brain kicks in again, and says, “Hey, I need air, I’m gonna wake up the meat sack so they can breathe.” (I’m paraphrasing.) One wakes up, and resumes breathing (one hopes). And the cycle starts all over again.
The kicker is that when one is not breathing the oxygen in the blood gets lower and lower. Oxygen saturation should be between 95-100%. Mine was much lower.
With the CPAP machine, I didn’t need the silly thing sticking out of my nose, because, as you can see in the photo, I had a nice big mask covering my mouth and nose. From the mask ran a hose to a machine hidden in a side table. Derek told the CPAP machine what to do from his command center.
What does a CPAP machine do? It blows air down one’s throat so it doesn’t close. When you are sleeping, you totally relax, all of your muscles relax, especially for when you are dreaming (presumably so you won’t act out the dreams as you are having them). The machine keeps a steady stream of air going. It kept me in REM sleep a bit longer, and I truly felt more refreshed than I have felt in a few months.
To be clear: I have not been officially diagnosed with sleep apnea. But I think we all know, based on what happened last night, that I have it. (I knew it was likely years ago, but I’m my father’s daughter, stubborn and always wait until the last minute.)
I will most likely get my very own CPAP machine for the house. And I am pretty excited about feeling refreshed when I wake up in the morning (that might be a strange feeling, but I am so up for it now.)
Apparently, someone will come to my house and set it up for me.
But first, there may be more tests. Because I started on the machine at 1:30 am, I might have to go back in for another sleep test, if I didn’t have the CPAP machine on long enough to get all the readings they needed for it. I might have to go into the office and talk to one of the sleep doctors. Or I might have to go back to my general practitioner.
I am in the TCB stage, the process has started, and I want to be able to breathe at night again.
Also, If I’m gonna do CPAP, I want Immortan Joe’s Mask.