Learning to Sleep

Warning…non sexy post.

I have fought my doctor for years on doing a sleep study.  Yes, I have had a snoring problem over the years that gets more pronounced when I don’t work out…because I gain weight.  Usually, when the weight goes away the snoring problem subsides.  Earlier this year, after the series of bronchitis episodes and the scare with the stress related angina I gave in a went to a pulmonary specialist.  He didn’t give me to option to not have the sleep study.  I delayed it as long as I could but finally had the test at the end of August.

Oh, the other reason I finally broke down and did the test…the last couple of months or so MrsL has been retreating to the guest bedroom just about every night because of my snoring.  If we went to bed at the same time she would “nudge” me three times before leaving.  However, if she stayed up longer than I would (which is most nights) and she could hear me as she came up the stairs…well she would just grab her pillow and sleep in the other room.  I didn’t like that at all!

The results:  moderate obstructive sleep apnea.  After the first visit with the sleep specialist I was granted a reprieve from the full bore overnight, strapped to a thousand (okay I’m exaggerating) leads and cords, and having a camera watch my every move while sleeping.  Yes, I got to bring home a smaller version that was more like an over sized smart phone that connected to a oxygen saturation monitor (the little thing that clamps on your finger) for my O2 saturation and heart rates along with nasal tubing to gauge my breathing.  The results were a bit of a relieve with a big dose of concern.

I had zero actual full blow apnea events where I would stop breathing completely; however, I had 18 hypopnea events per hour.  Hypopnea is the shy smaller sibling of apnea.  It is a minor blockage of the airway resulting in lower oxygen supply to the body BUT it doesn’t create a complete blockage of the airways.  I guess 18 of those per hour is an issue because my O2 saturation levels dropped into the low 80’s several times the night of the test with the bottom end at 83%.  The other end of that spectrum was my heart rate.  While my average heart rate for the night was 89.7 it raced several times with the highest heart rate topping out at 217 bpm.  No wonder I would wake up feeling so damn tired.

With those results I didn’t have a choice…I was told I was going on a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine.  This is the biggest reason I fought a sleep study….I didn’t want one of these damnable machines.  Boy, was I wrong!

After having to weight 2 more weeks for a special order mask I finally picked up my machine this past Friday night.  I have to admit…I was so wrong for waiting.

Each night, my sleep has gotten better and my instances of waking up have dwindled down to one last night.  I don’t even wake up when MrsL crawls in to bed (now that is a bummer).  The only drawback, so far, is the little strap marks on my cheeks each morning.  I am feeling more refreshed each morning.  I have another week and a half to decide if I want to try a different mask.  I am thinking about that very seriously even though this one is very comfortable.  There is a one that sits in the nostrils only and doesn’t have the cheek straps so I may try that one.  I have my first business trip in two weeks and have my special note allowing me to have that one extra carry on for this thing.

After having tried every off the shelf device on the market:  those mouth pieces that force your jaw forward (hurt like hell), the little “micro” non electric nostril inserts that are supposed to have “super strong” magnets that force air down your throat (don’t work), and even the jaw strap that supposed to keep your chin pulled forward (very uncomfortable) I can honestly say I regret not doing the sleep study earlier.

Guys, if you have a snoring problem and don’t feel rested when you wake up….DO THE SLEEP STUDY.  It is worth it!

2 thoughts on “Learning to Sleep

  1. Sleep apnea is nothing to fool around with Three months ago, family friends lost their 22 yr old son to such an event. He often refused to use the C-PaP, and this night it cost him dearly. Please follow the doctor’s advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t slept without it since I got it and don’t intend to. The respiratory specialist who fitted me and showed me how to use it showed me a chart with the number of sleep apnea deaths last year…very scary.

      The week before I got my CPAP I woke up two or three times each night feeling like I was choking…maybe it was psychological maybe not but it definitely got my attention.


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