Losing Sleep

My wife had enough! For too many years, she has had to put up with my snoring. Sadly, though, it was more than the nuisance of my snoring that prompted my wife to make me request a sleep study from my doctor. I would actually stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. She feared that I have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. This means
I may not be getting enough oxygen!

According to WebMD, if left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:
• high blood pressure
• stroke
• heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
• diabetes
• depression
• worsening of ADHD

Could this be contributing to my hypertension? My pre-diabetes? My allergies?

So, I finally had my sleep study last Saturday night at the St. Jude Sleep Disorders Institute.

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The accommodations were nicer than I expected. I thought it would feel like a clinic but I was pleasantly surprised to find a room similar to a small hotel room or dormitory… except with cameras, a speaker in the headboard, and a network panel behind the nightstand.

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My technician, Andrew, spent the next few minutes explaining the procedure and wired me up. I had probes and wired all over to monitor my brain waves, heart rate, muscle activity, and oxygen levels. I felt like I had been assimilated by the Borg from Star Trek.

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I honestly wasn’t sure that I would be able to fall asleep in my cyborg state. Thankfully, it had been a long, tiring day so it only took me a few minutes to fall asleep.

A couple of times during my sleep I heard Andrew through the speakers telling me to roll over to my back or to go ahead and sleep in my side. About three hours into the night I was awakened by Andrew. He told me that I had stopped breathing and he needed to connect me to the CPAP machine and that I would need to sleep with a mask for the rest is the night. Falling asleep was much more difficult wearing this mask.

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I had some serious anxiety about it. I could only breathe through my nose with this mask on. I felt like I was going to suffocate. Eventually, I did fall asleep again but only after what seemed to be forever.

Well, I survived the night. Andrew woke me up at 6:30 am and I was released to go home at 7:00 am.

While I am still waiting to have my follow-up appointment with my primary care physician, I’m pretty sure that I do have sleep apnea and I will have to plug into a CPAP machine at night to sleep. It’s going to take some getting used to but I’m hoping that getting enough oxygen at night will help me resolve some of my other health issues.

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