Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Well, that was definative.

One of the complaints I gave to my doctor during the course of the last year was how tired I am all the time, and she recommended that I go and have a sleep study done. So back in January, I went down to the Sleep Disorders Center of Georgia for a sleep study.

Today, I went in for the followup to find the results of the study. Dr. Wellman had predicted, just based on my description of symptoms, that I was suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. When I sat down in his office, he flipped open the chart, glanced at the report, and said “Well, you just about broke the record.”

During the course of the sleep study, I stopped breathing an average of 130 times an hour, and my oxygen levels dropped as low as 84%. No wonder I’m so fatigued all the time, if that’s the kind of sleep I’m getting!

I have to back in tomorrow to get set up with all the apparatus. Looks like I’m joining the growing legion of folks with CPAP machines. I wouldn’t say I’m looking *forward* to it, per se, but I *am* looking forward to a good nights sleep.

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64 Comments

  1. *hugs*

    I have no idea what it’s like on your end, obviously, but watching you sleep was very scary. I’m glad it’s getting taken care of.

    *kiss*

    • I was gonna say, not only does the wearer sleep a whole lot better, but so do his sweeties…

    • I don’t think you ever saw/heard him “sleep” before his surgery, did you? It actually did make a huge difference. I am terrified, in the light of these results, to think how bad it would have measured out at before.

      • Anonymous

        That’s even scarier, since yeah, the first time was last March during a nap, and it was pretty bad then, at least to me, who’d never dealt with anyone with sleep apnea before.

        • Whoops, that was me obviously.

          • well, if he gets the unit tomorrow you’ll be able to observe the difference this weekend. I am sure, just from when he came home after the study, that he’ll have a lot more, ah, energy. *G* Good timing, that.

  2. CPAP Good.

    I knew it was going to work for me the moment they starpped the mask on me. It opened up exactly what I felt closing up when I was falling asleep.

  3. Jeez louise, yeah, that beats me…. (I was averaging every 30sec, 130x an hour is worse than that) You will not believe the difference it makes. The only pain in the ASCII is travelling with the thing; the Gestapo knows what a CPAP is but they still treat you like a common terrorist, with the chemical sniffer bovine scatology and such like… I’m tempted to hang it into them under the ADA… but it is worth it.

    And you will find, I think, you’ll actually sleep less time (six hours is very common), but it’s far more effective sleep… I call it “turbo sleep”… I think the extra partial pressure of oxygen has something to do with it…

    Welcome to the club. (Oh, and I just got a link last weekend for a reasonably inexpensive UPS that’s capable of powering *two* units… haven’t even had a chance to look at it yet. Don’t know how your power is out there, but…)

  4. As a member of the legion you are about to join, I would like to share a couple of things.

    First, be ready to have *WAY* too much energy after the first night you use the CPAP. My first night, I woke up after four hours, bouncing off the walls, and insisted on dragging my poor wife out to Waffle House at half past three a.m., because there was no way I was going to be getting back to sleep. Besides, I was hungry, and had to find some way to occupy the remaining three hours before I needed to get ready for work. It was a large enough difference that even one of my coworkers, almost a decade later, still remembers that day.

    Second, not every night will be like that. In fact, none of the nights since have been like my first. But I remember what it was like before, and my life has been much improved as a result.

    If you have any other questions on all things CPAP, feel free to ask. I will offer any help I can.

  5. First, I am going to quietly sit in this corner with a large paper bag over my head and a pillow to cover my face and yell I TOLD YOU SO, just once. 🙂

    Second, I sure hope we can find something to help MY tiredness…. perhaps your less restless sleep will help me as well, or maybe they’ll be able to help me on Monday. All I know is if you’re full of energy at fuckall am, I’d just as soon be able to keep up with you. *EG*

    • I never doubted you, sweetie. I’m sorry if I ever seemed to. *hug*

      • No, you never doubted me, but I remember actually telling you that if you really wanted to give me a gift for Christmas you’d go get the study done finally. 🙂

        • Oh, sure. That was just garden-variety procrastination. I’m the champion of that. 🙂

          • Well, I’m probably the runner up in that case, so I can’t point fingers too much. I’m still elated for you that they’ve found something to help.

  6. Well, it’s about time… 🙂 I;m glad you took your Dr’s advice. Spencer has had one of those most romantic of all face masks since 2001, and it really makes a difference. On all fronts.

    *hugsyou* and wishes lots of good sleep from now on.

    • Cause hey, you know… think about it -- James Earle Jones has a sexy voice right? and so when Ed becomes Darth Ed I just think of James Earle Jones.

      Grin.

      Besides, they come off when needed. 🙂 Although I commented to Ed that we’re getting to be a fine old middle aged pair when fooling around spontaneously at bedtime may mean me removing my toothgaurd and him removing the CPap and…

      yes yes… 🙂

      • Cause hey, you know… think about it -- James Earle Jones has a sexy voice right? and so when Ed becomes Darth Ed I just think of James Earle Jones.

        I find your lack fo sleep….disturbing.

  7. Yowza! Sounds like the machine will be a good thing. Glad you found out what the problem was. And yeah, watching people stop breathing in their sleep is SCARY. *hugs*

    • I can learn to sleep through snoring -- I have NEVER been able to learn to sleep through someone NOT BREATHING ALL OF A SUDDEN. I betcha I get better sleep too. *G*

  8. While in the best of all possible worlds, Kitanzi would’ve just waved a magic sleep wand and everything would be better, I’m glad it’s been addressed and figured out, and there’s (noninvasive) treatment. Wishing you lots of energy and better quality of life (as if that can be possible :-)!

    *hugs*

  9. Have to tell you that my little sis has had a CPAP for several years now and it has made an enormous and life-changing difference to her. It was really scary to watch her sleep before she got the machine, and she constantly fell asleep during the day, every few minutes, anywhere. She got very adept at waking up suddenly and seamlessly continuing conversations that were left in mid-sentence when she’d drift off…
    She says there are times when the mask is a pain (very cold rooms can make the air coming in the mask painfully cold, for example), but the overall good benefits are so huge that she’d never go without it voluntarily now. 🙂
    And I’m so glad you’re taking care of yourself.
    *hugs* to you and kitanzi.

    • *hugs* to you too, and real life *hugs* to come in just a couple of weeks! 🙂

    • There are units with humidifiers, which heat up the water a bit… and a knitted wool “cozy” over the hose can keep the air getting to the sleeper, a bit warmer. I made one such for … not that he’s using it right now, for some reason.

    • Humidifier. Ed tried his without for a bit and decided he MUST have a humidifier. Since we couldn’t afford one (terrible insurance) -- he played around with various ways ultimately settling on a small crock pot to which he wired a dimmer switch (to better control the temp). It works great.

      Humid warm air is the thing.

  10. Glad you’re getting it taken care of. The list of “and this is what could happen if you don’t” is pretty darned scary.

  11. CPAP and stuff

    As another sleep apnea person, I just want to join in my voice with everybody who is saying it will make your whole life better, and you’ll sleep fewer hours but it will be better sleep. I have found this to be overwhelmingly true for me; I am better rested after six hours, these days, than I used to be after ten hours. It did, however, take me about a month to really adapt to the CPAP machine; and for some of that time I was waking up very groggily, taking off the uncomfortable mask and trying to go back to sleep. It took a few weeks even to break myself of this bizarre and counterproductive habit. But, among other things, this has changed my whole work life and feelings about work; I am functioning far better, and when I need to get a new job in a few weeks, I will have far fewer problems dealing with a job that would want me to get up very early.

    Nate B.

  12. I’m glad you’re making the effort to take care of yourself.

  13. Ooh, you’re going to be one of the sleeping elephants!

    (I say this affectionately, as I do dearly love my own sleeping elephant)

    I hope you’re a back or side sleeper, though. And I hope it helps lots lots and they get you set up right away.

    • Getting set up tomorrow, in fact. Would have been today, but they were all booked up.

    • Sleeping elephants, huh? Hmm, now that you mention it, viewed from the right perspective, it does fit, rather well. Hee!

    • Actually, you can sleep on your stomach when wearing a CPAP mask. You just have to figure out where to put your nose. 🙂

      Anyway, welcome to the club! And remember, adjust the mask so it’s exactly as loose as you can make it without it leaking.

  14. Ohgoshyay!

    I am teh happy that you will get good sleep. Sorry you’ve got to go through all the hoo-hah, but all the spacemen I know are quite satisfied with their helmets, and, on a personal note, I find the whooshing noise they make quite soothing.

    • Glad to know that. I’d hate to find a solution for my own sleep woes that made me destined to forever sleep alone sans the company of lovely snuggly people. 🙂

      • As someone who sleeps with an ocean waves sound machine -and- a fan running, I don’t think you have anything to worry about on my end, either.

        Just sayin’. 🙂

      • You already know what I think about that. *G*

      • The only reason you’d be destined to sleep alone would be if you take up so much of the bed there’s no *room* for somebody else! Since it sounds like that’s not the case, no worries, my friend. 🙂

        • If that was the problem, I’d just buy a bigger bed. 😉

        • well, we *were* already looking at getting a king sized…. but since I expect he’ll be a less restless sleeper now, I think it will at the very least balance out.

          • oh, kingsize is SO worth it. You get terribly spoiled to them, but it’s worth it.

            I *love* our kingsize.

            The queensize guest bed gets a bit crowded when I’m in that one with company.

    • Yes! We no longer have to use our white noise generator! 🙂

      I will say that very occasionally now I poke my husband when he is leaking but considering how often I poked him when he was gurgling or snoring I don’t mind in the slightest. 🙂 (it makes a slight whistling sound every once in a while when the mask slips).

  15. CPAPs are wondrous things. I love mine. I want to comment on the idea of needing less sleep with one, though. Even with a CPAP, I need my eight hours. But I don’t need eight hours plus an afternoon nap.

    I hope they get you fitted soon. Do get one with a humidifier if poossible. They’re very useful.

    • I’m less concerned about the number of hours of sleep as I am with the idea that when I wake up from however much sleep I get, I won’t *still* be tired.

  16. Just remember, there’s love after CPAP!

  17. Wow, is this part of an epidemic or what? I’ve lost count of the number of folks I know who have been diagnosed.

    I’m tempted to ask for the study since I don’t sleep well, I’m almost always fatigued unless I’ve been able to sleep a long time and then take a nap. I suspect fatigue has been a factor in my inability to ignore distractions at work.

    I’d have to wait until summer since I have to be home in the AM to drive my son to school. Hmm, do these studies have a waiting list?

    • Yes. I had the original consulation in November, and the sleep study itself wasn’t conducted until January. So it’s probably worth going in for the initial visit sooner rather than later.

      I haven’t yet done enough research on it, but the feeling I get is not so much that this is an epidemic as it is a condition we didn’t understand and had no effective treatment for until recently. According to the Wikipedia article linked above, the first described cases were in 1965, and the first CPAP machine didn’t exist until 1981. So this is, historically speaking, a pretty new thing for us to actually have a handle on.

      Go get the study done. Better to know.

      • IIRC the numbers I saw once were that of an estimated 20 million people who have it, only 1 million have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment. And some of those who are diagnosed don’t comply with treatment.

        There are still a lot of doctors who don’t think to evaluate people for sleep apnea even when they have issues with fatigue and depression.

  18. I started writing a reply, got wordy, realized I keep telling people similar info, and then just up and made an LJ entry. It’ll be a public webpage soon and I have more to write about, but hope it helps.

    I’m very glad you had the study done, feel free to ask me any questions as they come up. My AHI was “only” in the 80s, but I know people who are up in the 100s like you are. Scary stuff! And who’d’ve thunk it? I always thought I slept soundly! (Though I did suspect I had sleep apnea for a while based on others observations, it took me far too long to get in. Now that I know how serious it is, I can’t believe I waited; life is much better now.)

  19. Here’s to a good night’s sleep! *hugs*

  20. All riiiight! You and Darth Ed!!!

    Seriously it has helped Ed a lot. Now mind you, he never did the follow up study -- we decided we couldn’t afford it (we have CRAP insurance). He got his Dad’s old machine, then, after buying a new mask for $200 (gack) he rigged it up to a crock pot with a dimmer (I am not making this up) to serve as a humidifier. Seems to be working a charm.

    So if you are ever broke and need help rigging up an old CPap? Ed’s yer man. Hopefully you have better insurance. But I will say it has helped him become less grumpy and he isn’t falling asleep at his desk all the time now.

    YAY!

  21. Hmmm…This is exactly word for word what the sleep clinic told a friend of mine. Same thing -- you nearly broke records…130 times per hour…84%. Same clinic.

    Not that I am saying that you *don’t* need medical intervention for very dangerous sleep apnea, but the word “timeshare” comes to mind.

    In any case, I hope it helps you. That is the most important thing.

    • Could be. On the other hand, today I checked with the other 4 people getting set up with CPAP machines, and they all got different feedback, so it could be a coincidence.

      I’ll report back whether it makes a transformational difference.

  22. Quite thankful to hear you’ve been diagnosed and it’s being addressed. My father had the same experience, and indeed had much more energy and restfulness. It can be quite frightening to hear someone literally stop breathing in the night for fits and starts. His had gotten to the point where he was almost narcoleptic during the day — at one point, he recalled driving out of a ditch with no recollection of driving into it. That was the point, I think, where he decided to stop screwin’ around with it and get checked out.

    (The situations aren’t identical, of course, as he also had emphysema and a host of other respiratory and cardiovascular issues. But getting the apnea under control certainly helped his quality of life.)

  23. I’m very happy that you have a diagnosis, a way forward, and from the looks of it lots of friends who can provide specific relevant experience as well.

    I’m aware of two people with sleep apnea -- one is getting treatment with the CPAP and it’s made a real difference to him, the other for other medical reasons can’t use a CPAP and really wishes he could.

  24. Welcome to the club! I envy those of your respondents who seem to have adapted to wearing a mask with no problems at all. It doesn’t always work like that. I tried 4 different styles of mask before finding the one I’m most comfortable with.

    Be aware too that hotels (at least British ones) seem to be phasing out the electric sockets beside the bed in favour of putting them by the work-desk instead. Consequently we now travel with around 30m of extension leads in order to get a safe connection to beside the bed.

    Having said that, I really hope you are one of the lucky ones and you start feeling the benefits almost immediately. *hug* Looking forward to comparing machines and experiences next time you are over.

  25. Oh, I’m glad you’ve got the diagnose and are getting the help. Here’s hoping the machine won’t disturb Kitanzi’s sleep and that it’ll fix most of your issues/give you the sleep/energy to sort the remaining ones 🙂

    *bhigghugs*

  26. And all they want to do is EAT YOUR FACE!

  27. It’ll be worth it!!

    The tests that you go thru are not fun at all….and for me, the test machine was pretty uncomfortable overall..yet I woke up around 6:00 am(early for me)..and was not sleepy at all..despite being woken up several times by the techs…I’ve had one for 3 weeks, have used it for all but 4 days, this week I was in NY, I flew there and didn’t want to take it. I notice that even if I sleep less, I very rarely feel sleepy, I feel good in the mornings. I am looking forward to using it tonight, though I’m not totally use to it yet, it feels odd when it starts up, but mine is just a nose piece only, surrounded by a gel like substance, so it doesn’t feel bad once it’s on, just kinda weird..

  28. Having suffered from EDS for other reasons, it’s a hell I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, even if I was the vengeful sort. I’m glad they’ve found an answer for you, and I hope it works well.

  29. 130???? Man, I thought 60-70 was bad….

    Good luck with the CPAP, and good luck with finding a hose that doesn’t pop connections in the middle of the night, leaving you waking up confused and half-suffocated….

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