Monday, April 30, 2012

To Sleep, Perchance to Do it Uninterrupted (Part I)

I have snored all my life.
The Husband has attempted to have me believe that I should hang my head in shame about this fact, but I have preferred to explain to him that it is merely how I more actively participate in the pleasure of the sleep process.  After all, it wasn't keeping me awake.
But the fact of the matter is that while my snoring doesn't wake me, I sometimes usually always wake up multiple times each night.  At first, I blamed it on HRH waking up (she tends to have night terrors and isn't a great sleeper to begin with) or Zooey having a potty emergency, but when I was up in Payson for state testing in February, I woke up so many times I could barely function the next day, and that was without a husband, a child, or a dog to blame it on.
It wasn't an isolated incident.  I've noticed that I've been getting more and more tired of late, and I can certainly feel a dip in my energy levels, even though I have been consistent with my running.  Exercise is supposed to give me more energy, not zap it away!  That my times have been slower this year than last just goes to show that I'm working harder and getting worse results.  Sleep has to be a factor.  I can't possibly suck that badly.
So, off to the doc I went, where I also discussed some colon cancer and genetics stuff in hopes that I can get the HNPCC genetic testing covered now that I have switched insurance companies and have more family information.  I got not only that referral but one to a local sleep center, and after some back and forth with the insurance company scheduled a consult.
I am NOT kidding you, the consult went like this:
          Dr. Gill. "Hi, I'm Dr. Gill."
          Me: "Hi."
          Dr. Gill: "OK, can you open your mouth and say 'ahh' for me?"
          Me: "Ahhhhhh."
          Dr. Gill" "Wow, your tonsils are HUGE.  I'm about 99% certain you have sleep
I mean, there was more; we discussed the exciting topic of how many times I've had strep throat in my life and the fact that one time my tonsils were basically "kissing" because they were so swollen.  And I'll spare you the scintillating discussion of my uvula (also large).  But I DO want you to know that the tech had to measure my neck twice because "it's so slender."
Can I have that woman measure my hips?
Anyway, there had to be another back and forth with the insurance company to make sure I could actually have the sleep study done.
Once that was finally approved as well, it was time to go have strangers watch me snore.
Obviously, a sleep study has to be done when the patient is sleeping, so my check-in time was 8:15.  I was escorted to my room by the nurse who took care of me for the night, where I brushed my teeth, slipped into my jammies, and text goodnight to The Husband, who was being subjected to yet another viewing of Finding Nemo.
After the paperwork, I got to relax just for a bit until the nurse was back to "prep" me.
Prepping me meant that I sat very still on a chair while she measured my head, marked it up with what I am hoping was non-permanent marker, and put diodes or nodes or whatever you call those things that they put on your head that are connected to wires.  Also wired was my chest (to monitor my heart rate, I think) and my legs (to check to see if I have that restless legs business).  Additionally, I had one of those oxygen thingies that went into my nose - not a mask (we'll get to that in a minute) but that thing that is basically a tube and there are little things that go up your nose.  Oh, and I had one of those finger jobbies that monitored my pulse.
Clearly I am up to date on all my medical terminology.
Of course, that night, when I was hooked up to more wires than the world's first computer, would be a night when I woke up having to pee with the greatest intensity ever.  But one does not simply walk into the bathroom when wired so carefully, so I had to call the nurse.  It was an easy unplugging, thankfully.
But holy smokes, was I uncomfortable.  I sleep on my stomach, and I can honestly tell you that the worst part of my pregnancy was NOT being able to do so.  The first night after I had HRH, when I was able to sleep on my stomach again, nearly brought tears to my eyes.
In the case of this night, the wires prohibited my ability to sleep in a comfortable position for most of the night.  Not to mention it's not easy to sleep when you could probably contact Mars for the wiring on your head.  I was able to be on my side for a while, but I ended up nearly pulling off one of the wires attached to my legs, so when the nurse was tucking me back in hooking me back up after I used the bathroom, she asked me to try to sleep on my back.
But, dutiful patient that I am, I tried.
And then she woke me up at 1:30 to change from that nose thingy I mentioned earlier to a CPAP mask.  CPAP stands for constant positive airway pressure.  The mask, which, I was disappointed to find out, does NOT make you sound like Darth Vader when you breathe, is to help keep the airway from collapsing and causing a person to stop breathing (which is basically what sleep apnea is).  There are three kinds of these masks, two of which only push the air in through the nose (preferrable - mouth breathing isn't cool, but I think we all knew that).  I opted, in my completely rational sleep deprived state, to use the mask that fits over the nose but not UP it (not comfortable).  It fit on with a sort of headgear.
C'est sexy, no?
The mask isn't easy to sleep with, either, but I am pretty sure the second half of the night had more sleep than the first half.
Regardless, I still didn't get enough sleep.  The second I got home at about 6:30 (yes, I was woken at about 5:45ish and kicked out!), I crawled into bed and crashed for three more hours, interrupted only when HRH came in to snuggle with me (and subsequently also go back to sleep until 9:30).
The results of the data cannot come soon enough for me, but unfortunately, I can't get in to see Dr. Gill until closer to the end of the month.  I'll be calling my primary care office to get the results in about a week, but I won't get the in depth analysis and the "where do we go next" discussion in until I'm able to  see Dr. Gill.  Chances are I'd be starting with my very own CPAP mask (I've already told The Husband to try to brace himself for me to get even sexier when I sleep), but because I am neither obese nor a smoker, the two most common reasons for sleep apnea, and because I am relatively young, I may be a candidate for something else, like perhaps a tonsillectomy (yikes!).  But we'll see.  I don't want to put the cart in front of the horse.
I just want to get a full night's sleep.

Do you have trouble sleeping?  Do your sleep habits compromise your daytime energy levels?  Do you snore?  Have you ever thought about having a sleep study done?

(Stay tuned for Part II, in which I may get to model one of those sexy CPAP masks! Try to contain your excitement)


  1. Wow. That sounds like more fun than I'd know what to do with. I certainly don't get enough sleep, but I still contend that is my own doing for not going to bed earlier/sleeping longer. I blame all of that on my kids…it's a mother's perogative.

    1. It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
      Of course, I hate monkeys.
      I totally can tell when it's my fault for, say, staying up late to work on a Kentucky Derby hat or when I am waking up too many times each night. Sometimes a momma's gotta have some "me" time, regardless of the clock time.