"Seeing" things a little differently
I love to sleep. I work all week and if I ever get the chance to sleep a few extra hours, I take advantage of it.
So how could I possibly have a sleep disorder?
Years ago my children used to make fun of how loud I snored when they were kids…(how embarrassing.) Especially when they would tell my friends. Every-time I would host company at our house I would always put up with the comments…”You snore so loud the windows were rattling.” or, “You were sawing some logs last night.”
So what if I snore? it’s not a problem for me. I felt as if I slept great. Until years later when I found myself nodding off to sleep while at work and getting very drowsy while driving. Sometimes I would wake up with a headache and feel tired at the beginning of the day. And so it came to pass, I am a real candidate for a Sleeping disorder.
As I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 pm to spend the night for my sleeping test, I had some idea of what to expect from friends. They told me I would be hooked up to some wires and they will monitor my sleeping habits. I thought to myself, “OK, this will be a breeze.” I brought my good jammies, iPad and cell phone thinking I might need something to entertain myself for a few hours.
My sleeping quarters for the evening is much like a Best Western hotel room…Not bad for a hospital. I had Wifi, basic cable, a clean room, bathroom and a nice bed. The technician assigned to me was Carrie. A very sweet lady that I got along well with, she even brought me a sprite! Not a bad deal at all….
Carrie came into my room with a cart saying she needed to decorate me. Ok , so it’s time to get hooked up to the wires, I’m ready…or am I? What she proceeded to do was amazing. I had wires attached to each leg, stomach, chest, neck, several on my face, a tube in my nose and the worst of all…MY HEAD. She put six big globs of sticky gel stuff on my head/hair and then attached the patches. I had wires around my neck, head and shoulders. There was a black box that all the wires attached to that plugged into God knows where.
After Carrie left to go tend to another patient…I walked over to the mirror and burst out in laughter, I could not believe it! What on earth do all of these wires do? Wow, they probably can even tell what I’m dreaming….I sure hope not.
I watched a little TV hoping to get sleepy and forget about the goop in my hair but that didn’t happen for a few hours. Finally I decided it was time to go to sleep. There is a camera on the ceiling where Carrie can monitor me and log every eye twitch, movement and breathing habits on a computer from another room. I sure hope I don’t do anything stupid while I’m sleeping…then again with all of these wires does it really matter?
Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. I tried, but I was very uncomfortable. I was afraid I would get unplugged so I didn’t move a lot. By six o clock the next morning I was relieved when Carrie finally came in to unplug me. She said I should go home and wash my hair with Dawn detergent…DAWN DETERGENT! Are you kidding me? Do they know how devastating this is to hear for a woman with long hair?
She also said that I would hear the results of my sleep test sometime that day.
Six hours later I received my results. Even though I didn’t think I had slept much, it was determined that I had 106 episodes of sleep apnea (not breathing for 10 seconds or longer), and my oxygen level went down to 80%. OK, so I failed the sleep test miserably…NOW WHAT? All I knew for sure was that I am very sleepy from my sleep test from the night before. Go figure…
They wanted me to come back for more torture tonight. I agreed to do it but the thought in my head was “I‘m going to sleep tonight, I don’t care how they wire me up.”
After work, I gathered my belongings “again“, stopped and ate a huge meal and I was headed back to the hospital, looking forward to a great slumber ahead.
This time, I knew the routine, I was experienced. Again I had Carrie for my technician…we are close friends by now. (I traded her one of my books that I just wrote for one of her CD’s that she just recorded.) Here we go again….all the same wires as last night, Goop back in the hair…oh my goodness….I have to shampoo with DAWN again in the morning! Added to the compilation of the box, wires and goop is a CPAP machine which is attached to a long hose that is connected to a face mask that fits over my mouth and nose. (A picture was not on my mind this time…I was over it.)
Now this is going to be a challenge. I’ve never been overly crazy about something covering my mouth and nose. As Carrie turned the machine to low, I tried the contraption on. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected and after a few minutes I began to think maybe…just maybe I could sleep with this gadget because I am SO TIRED anyway.
As I lay there in the dark feeling the air blowing in my nose I began to have my doubts about getting to sleep. As soon as I thought that, Carrie was in my room waking me up at six the next morning. WOW! are you kidding? Did I really sleep all night? And I felt fantastic!
All I have to say is how soon do I get my CPAP machine?
If you think you have a sleeping disorder I advise that you tell your doctor…Other than looking like an alien everytime I go to sleep I think this is going to be a great thing.
I hope I never have to shampoo with Dawn detergent ever again…
Sherry L. Cook