Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sleep Study

One of the most annoying things about getting older is the whole host of problems that seems to come with it.  I've been on overdrive for the past twenty-five years and some days I feel it far more acutely than others.  I don't talk about it most of the time, though, because nothing is more annoying that someone talking about their medical issues ad nauseum...with the exception of someone who is critically ill or is facing something BIG.  Those folks are free to do whatever they need to do to feel better.

But the rest of us?  No.  Just no.

In my quest to blame my weight "situation" on anything other than myself and my inability to meet a calorie that I don't like...I have tried everything short of weight loss surgery.  I refuse to do that because I just know I will be the one person who gains weight eating the equivalent of three grains of rice and a garbonzo bean twice a day with a thimble of water...because somebody has to be the "one in a million" - right?  If only I could be a lottery winner instead.

I've thought my weight freakiness might be thyroid problems...and between us...I still hold out hope that it is something fixable and easy.  I daydream that I might someday be told "here...take'll drop thirty pounds by next weekend"...but no such luck yet.  I've even gone so far at times to actually wish for a stomach virus to give me a jump start...or for some kind of happiness that would keep me so happy I'd forget to eat. 

As if.  I mean...who DOES that?  Answer: Skinny people a/k/a Not me.

But seriously...when I am very, very happy or very, very stressed...I won't eat.  When I'm happy I'm busy doing happy things...and when I am stressed...I'm curled up in the fetal position asleep.  The "stressed" food deprivation plan is also far less desirable because to get to the "serious stress" stage...I have to eat myself into oblivion first as a warm-up act.

Oblivion meaning anything and everything in the house...and possibly the Dairy Queen.

But enough about me and my eating habits.  I could seriously go on and on and on about all of that and completely miss what I came here to document for posterity...and we can't have that.

So, on a recent doctor's visit, I happened to mention that one of my friends, Sandye, told me that I "kind of quit breathing" several times during the night when I wasn't snoring when she was unfortunate enough to draw the short straw and had to room with me on a girls' trip we took last September.  Bless her heart for not smothering me with a pillow right there in the condo.

Did you catch "last September"?  You do realize that she gave me this information eight months ago...and I'm just getting around to checking it out.  Yeah, avoidance behavior at its finest.

At my annual checkup in February, I forgot to mention it.  But when I started having shin trouble and some edema...I did an "oh, this important?" kind of thing and my doctor suggested that I go see a sleep doctor because he was fairly certain that this, my weight, and the fact that I am tired all of the time...could actually be a medical problem and not just the basic laziness that I credit it with more often than not.

A couple of weeks ago I made the appointment to meet with the sleep doctor.  I wasn't all gung-ho about it...because it reeks of me being on that slippery slope of many, many doctors appointments.  For someone who hardly ever misses work (or anything else) due to illness...I just can't handle having SO. MANY. DOCTORS. 

I showed up anyway...and filled out a questionaire that seriously had no fewer than 500 questions on it.  Three hours later...I left a few of them blank because quite frankly...some of it just isn't any of his business.  AT ALL.  As in "Hey, Doc, if I didn't answer the question on the 500 question thingy you made me fill out...chances are it is because I didn't want to go there."

Oh, but he wanted to go there.  And he did.


In spite of my mortification I agreed to do a sleep study last week.  Primarily because he is fairly certain that I have sleep apnea.

I don't want to have sleep apnea.

I almost cancelled three times.  But like a brave little soldier...I didn't.

On the day of the study, I had raised the level of whining to DEF COM 5.  I was about as pleasant as a bad case of heat rash coupled with a kidney infection.  And that was actually before I arrived at the center all pouty and ready to go home before I ever walked in the door. 

Yeah, I walked in that door at 7:32...and I was supposed to be there at 7:30.  HA!  Take that sleep people!  I was going to be late because I was all passive-aggressive and thought that would "show them." (I sincerely doubt that they noticed.)

Big Dave happily dropped me off at the center.  I don't know if it was because he is a generally happy person or if he needed to let someone else have the "fun" of dealing with me in that kind of mood.  (Actually, I do know the answer to that...but whatever.)

I was met by the nurse who led me to a nice bedroom painted green with a television on the wall and a sleigh bed that actually looked comfortable.  The bathroom was tiled with eighteen inch modern looking tiles and it didn't look even remotely institutional.  Except for the two little machines on the bedside table on the left side of the looked like a Hampton Inn.

She even offered me Sprite Zero or water. 

She told me to relax, left me some paperwork, took my picture, and that she'd be back in a little while...about hook me up. 

I was still pouty...but getting better.

And then it was 9:00...and 9:20. hookup.  She was coming in and out of my room a lot checking the two little boxes...but still...

Apparently the equipment thought it would be a great idea to just not work.  I, of course, was immensely relieved...because I honestly was not up to it last Wednesday.  Since the center was fairly certain that I have sleep apnea...the sleep doctor's office had taken the liberty of scheduling my follow up CPAP study for the following week.  So, I just rescheduled my sleep study for the time I had originally scheduled my CPAP study and moved on. 

I moved REALLY FAST before that machine started working again.  Even though I had to wake Big Dave up on the couch and have him drive ALLLLL the way into town to pick me up because we were a car short last week due to Brian's "catlike driving reactions" that apparently were on the blink resulting in a little rear end accident...or two last month that had his car in the body shop. (I'm serious.  Wish I weren't.)

I had a whole week to laugh about my "Jedi mind trick" messing up the machine and thinking that I was in a far better frame of mind to deal with it this week...I showed up last night expecting things to go a little smoother.

Um.  Yeah.  Okay.

First of all, the tech that I had last week was sick and so I had a new tech this week.  (This tech was very nice...but she was one of those people that just insists of doing everything to the "nth degree"...which is great in the medical profession...but a little confusing when you are about to undergo a sleep study.)

I had my downtime (and my Sprite Zero) and decided that this whole sleep study thing was going to be a lot less hassle than I thought it would be.

Oh, go ahead and laugh.

First of all, she scrubbed at least three layers of skin off on numerous places all over my face and body so that she could put probes and whatever all over the place.  I had so many wires coming out of every place that I honestly do not know how she kept them all straight.  There were seven of them taped to my scalp which brought back some very ugly memories from my childhood when my mother used to attempt to comb what can only be referred to as a "rat's nest" in my hair.  She weaved those probes in there and apparently used some kind of stick-um that might have had some super glue or something all up in there. 

I do know that the entire process of wiring me up took about an hour.


After I was wired, she left me alone for thirty minutes to calm my nerves back down and watch a particularly bad episode of something on Nick at Nite.  I know not what it was...something called "Yes, Dear."

She came in at 10:00 and told me that it was time to go to bed and so I got in on the right side of the bed like I always do...because THAT is the side of the bed that I sleep on, of course.

Except that all of the equipment is on the left side of the bed.

Of course it is.

I get in, adjust everything, and then I think I'm okay and that I might actually survive this experience without getting all riled up.  Oh, but no.  There are apparently not one...but TWO things that have to be put in my nostrils.  I don't know about you...but I don't want anything up my nose that isn't supposed to be there.  And especially something that tickles every time I breathe. 

As she was trying to insert these...I had to yell at her to stop because I was getting all claustrophobic with those blue gloves coming for my face. *insert scream*  Yes, I had to do it myself. 

I remember several episodes of "Friends" and I was still aware of my surroundings and my discomfort in spite of Tylenol PM because I'm a side sleeper and it is impossible to sleep when you are wired up to five thousand wires that are stuck into your head and all over your body. 

Normally, Tylenol PM and I have an understanding.  Last night?  I was apparently on my own.

Or it could have been that I was just aware that I had a gazillion wires hanging all over the WRONG SIDE OF THE BED and I couldn't sleep on my side without the things she stuck around my ears digging into my head.


And then I had to go to the bathroom.


That meant that she had to come in there and unhook me and put ALLLLL of those things around my arm so that I could go to the restroom.

Apparently I slept long enough for them to determine that I do indeed have sleep apnea.  It was for about fifteen minutes after the second bathroom break and before "The Nanny."  I'm fairly certain that I actually remember waking myself up not breathing a few times because I was in that place of unreality where you begin to think that the night will never end.

And may I share with you that waking up to the remote control on the floor and Urkel on TV while you are not sleeping and they keep putting the things back in your nose repeatedly is like being in the Third Circle of Hades?

Because it is.  Or at least how I imagine it is.

At 5:45 this morning she came in and disconnected me from that wretched machine.  I spent the next thirty minutes in the shower trying to make sure that I could get all of the sticky stuff out of my scalp and remove the seven probe thingys from all over places I didn't remember her putting them.

(Surely I would have remembered her putting one of them where I found it...but I didn't.  Imagine my surprise in the shower.)

Anyway, I dried my hair and left the establishment with what amounted to an eight hour in and out nap at 7:00 this morning .  I swore to myself that I wasn't going back.  Fortunately for them, they scheduled my CPAP appointment for two weeks from last night.  I'm still trying to decide if I'd like to just suffer through it again...because I have a repeat performance with all of those cords AND a mask that I may not be able to tolerate because I truly am somewhat claustrophobic.

Frankly, I'm thinking I'll just lose a whole bunch of weight and make this a non-event.  Because right now...losing a bunch of weight sounds like a FAR better idea.

Usually when I have a bad experience like this...I try to find something positive in it...but the only positive I can say right now is that I am quite positive that I don't want to go back.

But chances are...I will. 

I actually took a picture of myself last night and e-mailed it to Big Dave.  He's lucky that I haven't dragged his happy self over to the sleep doctor so that he can experience the magic for himself.  Except knowing him...he'd sleep right through it all and be told that he doesn't have sleep apnea at all.  (Although his mother does.)

I have received a lot of encouragement to try the CPAP machine...and that it really will make me feel better...but then would losing weight. 

I have two weeks to lose a gazillion pounds.  Wish me luck. 

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