Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sleep Study: The Aftermath

Well, last night basically sucked.

I showed up at the sleep clinic, and they immediately had me get undressed (completely) so that they could start hooking wires and stuff to me. I tell you, I looked like some weird science experiment gone bad. Most of the wires were on my head, but there were also electrodes on my face, behind my ears, down my legs, you name it. They also put bands around my chest and stomach and jammed a sensor up my nose to measure breathing. Once I was completely wired, I had to gingerly get in the bed without pulling anything out. I had to sleep on my back without rolling over -- not the way I sleep best. They also had an infrared camera watching me (so I guess I just made my first nudie video...). It took them about 30 or 40 minutes to get everything calibrated, then they turned the lights out, so that was it for writing time. Oh well.

I managed to get to sleep finally, but I was not sleeping very deeply. Then sometime in the middle of the night (there are intentionally no clocks in the room -- apparently some people have sleep problems because they obsess with looking at the clock), the tech came in, turned on the light, and said they were going to connect me to the breathing mask since I had stopped breathing in my sleep several times. In theory, if I do in fact have sleep apnea, I'd have to sleep with this mask on for the rest of my life.

I think I'll just die early.

The mask only covers your nose, and it has a sensor that supposedly detects when you exhale. If you exhale through your mouth, however, the sensor doesn't pick it up and keeps blowing air down your throat. Instantly, you feel like you can't breathe. Talking is basically impossible. The mask also has to fit very snugly, and if there are any leaks, the sensor doesn't work. I had a little bit of congestion last night, so sometimes I wasn't breathing hard enough through my nose -- and once again, the air was being forced down my throat keeping me from breathing. Again, you can't roll over because you'll break the seal on the mask. It took me forever to fall asleep with the mask, and when I woke up once in the night, I had trouble falling asleep again.

And then there were the various other indignities. If you have to go to the bathroom during the night, you have to call the tech to come disconnect you and make sure the coast is clear in the hallway since you're buck naked. You then have to wander down the hallway naked with a bunch of wires in hand while you attend the call of nature. Over all a lousy, lousy night. What makes it worse is that if I do indeed have sleep apnea, I'm grounded -- I can't fly. We'll have to see how that goes...

3 comments:

marisa13mot said...

Wow. Yowza.

Sweet dreams?

Carter said...

My wife has used a CPAP at night for a couple of years, now. You can get used to most anything if you have to.

Keith Watt said...

Hi Carter -

Well, you're right of course, humans are a rather adaptable species. I got used to deafness after being hearing for the first 21 years of my life, after all. I'm still not convinced the CPAP would be worthwhile for me. I have so much congestion that I really have a hard time breathing through my nose in the best of times. That CPAP really made me feel like I was drowning.

How much noise does it make? My wife is not a terribly deep sleeper...