I’ve been working on a sleep study recently. And working on trying to figure out why I have to pee every hour at night. Still working on the pee thing.
On the sleep study, I did it last Thursday evening. I thought I’d just run down the road (the center is only a five minute drive from where I live), sleep all night and then go to work the next morning. Didn’t quite work out that way.
I had no idea that I’d be hooked up to so many wires and stuff. I figured they’d have four or five wires. A couple on your chest and a couple on your head or face. Instead, I had at least forty of them. I felt so constricted and uncomfortable, I was afraid to move all night. And then, of course, I had to call my attendant every hour to unhook me and let me go to the bathroom. The technician (nurse?) was a chatty soul. She’d answer my call with “Okay, Ma’am, I’ll be right there.” and then she’d enter the room, switching on the light and talking a mile a minute.
“I could almost set my alarm by your bathroom visits. I was telling myself, another five minutes or so and she’ll have to go to the bathroom. It’s almost exactly an hour, give or take five minutes or so. Let me get you unhooked so you can go and then we’ll get you tucked back in so you can get back to sleep. Although I can tell you don’t get a lot of sleep. You do a lot of tossing and turning and moving and you’re not getting into those deep rem periods that really help you get the rest you need. It’s no wonder you’re tired all the time. Your body is exhausted. Is the room too hot or too cold? You can adjust the temperature if you want. I can get you some more blankets or pillows, too. There! That’s got you unhooked. I’ll just let you go to the bathroom and then you can call me when you’re ready to go back to bed. Do you need anything? A cup of water or anything. No, I guess you don’t want a cup of water. That’s for sure, hee, hee. That’s probably the last thing you want. There you go, honey. You just call me when you’re ready to get back in bed.”
And then I’d spend 45 seconds in the bathroom and be ready to go back to sleep. “Cheryl, I’m ready to go back to bed.”
“Okay, I’ll be back in just a minute. You just hang on and I’ll be right there…”
And two or three minutes later, Cheryl would enter the room like a sparrow tending her chicks. Fluffing up my pillow and hooking up my wires. Chatting all the time. “Let’s get you back to bed. We’re getting some good data on you but we really need to see if we can get you into some rem stages. Even if it’s just for an hour or so. That gives us some really good information about a lot of things. Do you need me to adjust the room temperature? Are you comfortable? You know, these wires are pretty secure. I know it looks like you can’t move but they’re attached pretty good. I usually don’t have any problem with them coming off so you don’t have to worry about moving around if you need to. Unless you have to get up, that is. But, of course, you know that. If you need to get up, make sure you call me. These microphones are really good. They pick up everything you say and I can hear you if you need me. You just call me and I’ll be here as quick as I can. I’m right down the hall and I just have you and one other patient tonight so don’t worry about calling me if you need anything. That’s what I’m here for. I just want you to be as comfortable as possible so you can get some sleep and we can get the information we need. We get lots of data during a sleep study. We’re going to run almost a thousand pages of data on you tonight and all you have to do is just get as much sleep as you can. Do you need another blanket? No? Okay, I’ll just straighten up your covers and we’ll get you tucked back in bed so you can get back to sleep. Okay. It looks like you’re all fixed up. Do you need anything else? No? Okay, I’ll be right down the hall if you need me. You just call me and I’ll be here as quick as I can.
And then Cheryl would turn out the light and blow out the door leaving me exhausted in her wake. I’d be wide awake and staring at the ceiling. Tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable so I could get back to sleep. I had asked them to wake me at 5:00 instead of 6:00 so I could go home and get ready for work but I hadn’t planned on the night being quite as lively as it was. By the time I got home, I was dragging and looking at the possibility of taking a sick day. Which I did. Called in and left sub instructions and hit the bed. Second sick day this year and we’re only two months into the year. I slept until 11:00 and then woke up and DH and I ran some errands. We were having lunch around 1:00 when the sleep study called and told me I definitely had sleep apnea and they wanted to set up an appointment for another sleepover with me hooked up to the CPAP. They said I only slept about 3 hours during the eight hours I was in bed and I had an “episode” on the average of 31 times per hour. More than five episodes per hour is an indication of sleep apnea. According to an article I read, when air flow stops during a sleep apnea episode, the oxygen level in your blood drops. Your brain responds by briefly disturbing your sleep enough to kick start breathing—which often resumes with a gasp or a choking sound. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you probably won’t remember these awakenings. They may or may not be accompanied by snoring. Most of the time, you’ll stir just enough to tighten your throat muscles and open your windpipe. You may toss and turn or be awakened by frequent urination. These are all signs that the body is in trouble and is doing whatever it takes to awaken and resume normal breathing.
According to the article, other signs of sleep apnea include:
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headaches
- Restless or fitful sleep
- Insomnia or nighttime awakenings
- Going to the bathroom frequently during the night
- Weight gain
- Waking up feeling out of breath
- Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
- Moodiness, irritability, or depression
Well, gee whiz, I’ve felt like that for the last two years. I scheduled my next sleepover for last night because today is a parent conference day and I don’t have to be at work until 11:00.
I was prepared for another grueling night but it didn’t turn out that way. Bryan was my technician and, as sweet as Cheryl was, I prefered Bryan’s minimalist approach. He was pleasant but not overly talkative and had me hooked up and ready for bed in a flash. I decided to call it a night at 9:30 because I didn’t have anything else to do and there wasn’t anything on TV. I woke up to go to the bathroom and Bryan was in the room within 30 seconds of my call. He turned on a nightlight, had me unhooked and ready to go in about 20 seconds and said, “There you go. I’ll be back in just a minute.” I went to the bathroom, came back in the room and sat on the edge of the bed and he walked in, hooked me up and said, “Okay. Call me if you need anything.” I asked him, “What time is it?” and was shocked when he said, “It’s 3:30.” I felt like jumping up and down and cheering. I’d been asleep for around six hours! Unheard of! Before I could really process the thought, I was asleep again and Bryan woke me up at 6:00 to go home.
I’m totally amazed! Not only did I sleep through the night with only one trip to the bathroom, I don’t remember tossing and turning at all. I closed my eyes and slept like a rock. I scheduled this study because I knew I’d be able to come home and crawl back in bed for a couple of hours before I have to go to work today but I’m not sleepy. Instead, I took my coffee out to the spa, logged on to Facebook and did this post. Now I’m going to do some laundry and then go to work.
Wow! Can’t wait to get my CPAP machine. DH gets to sleep with Darth Vader!