Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ten Days. Compliant 9/10.

This is not my best look.

This is me, all strapped up for a sleep study. There were wires stuck to my scalp with a gummy paste, wires stuck to my face and my neck with sticky pads, breathing tubes leading to my nose, then the lovely netting you see to hold it all in place. There were plastic discs with metal nubs stuck to my arms and legs, and more wires snapped onto them. There were belts around my chest and my waist with more wires, and an intercom system for the technicians to hear if I needed something, and to hear any other sounds that might ensue while I slept. Because with all this monitoring, then I was expected to sleep. 
Apparently, I slept. And apparently, I snored so loudly that the technician had to turn the volume down on his monitor so he could think. Yes, all you family members, and roommates at women's retreats, and anyone who's ever been an overnight guest in our house, or has hosted me as an overnight guest, you are vindicated. I snore loudly.
I already knew this. Thanks to the many people who have told me that I snore very loudly. And to the ladies walking on the sidewalk outside my house, who were startled by the loud noises emanating from my window one morning when I was in that half-awake state and could hear them as I slept. I've even wakened myself with my snoring. The tipping point came when DH Ralph recorded the sound of my snoring on his phone, then played it back for me. And what it confirmed was not only that I snore loudly, but that I stop breathing as I sleep.
There were a lot of numbers thrown around, but the most significant to me are the 86.1 per hour apnea/hypopnea index, and the 70% SpO2 level. In other words, I stop breathing frequently, and I'm not getting enough oxygen. So, for the sake of my long-term health, I am learning to sleep with a CPAP. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, delivered via a fancy machine and a mask. 

Fancy machine on my nightstand.
Includes humidifier and air warmer.
Adjustable ramp-up time to fall asleep before it really starts blowing.
Sounds like a fan is on in the room.
Satellite antennae to report usage to  equipment provider.
Computer chip to record data for doctor.

This is how I sleep, now.
Note the color of the headgear: pink. Is that supposed to make me feel more feminine? All of you who had to get used to sleeping with braces and headgear, I feel for you! The first few nights, I came close to tears, because I just wanted to sleep. But I wouldn't let myself take it off. In fact, I have to really cinch it tightly to my face, or when it starts blowing at full force, the air leaks past the membrane with loud hissing and raspberry sounds. I'm relaxing more, now, than in the first days, when I woke up stiff and sore.

I've never felt as if I didn't sleep well, and while I'm sorry my snoring bothered other people, I slept through it just fine, I thought! I'm focusing on not contributing to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

Ralph says I don't snore at all when I'm using the machine. He's had to work at getting used to it, too, but at least it's not the big black mask he was expecting, something like this: 
John told me I look just like this:

I feel as if I look like this:

I really don't like to talk about health and medical stuff, but I think this is interesting stuff, and maybe useful to someone else. Do people tell you they worry about the way you snore and breathe irregularly when you sleep? Do you just laugh it off like I did? Would you be afraid to sleep in the same room with me? Please, tell me how cute I look in my mask! (Ha!)


Jodi said...

It's funny that you should post this today. Just last night my hubby and I were talking about me snoring and how tired I look all the time. I keep saying my fatigue is caused by so many other things but we both agree that it may very well be caused by sleep apnea. I am dreading doing a sleep study and I fear sleeping with a cpap machine humming. I can't stand white noise. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me so how am I going to sleep with the machine humming??? Thank you for posting this because, while I am still fearing the whole ordeal, you have at least shared what I can expect when I get the nerve to do something about it.

Barbara W said...

I was falling asleep at traffic lights and railroad crossings when I was driving a few years ago! I'd had a sleep study previously, due to my daughter's insistence because of my snoring. They'd said it was "borderline" at that time. When I was tested again, I had terrible numbers, and a CPAP was ordered. Now my CPAP is old enough that the humidifier component has failed (just past warranty, of course). Time to go back to the doc, I guess! Sweet dreams!

Cristine said...

Linda I truly do not recognize you in the first photo at the drs, I've spent too many hours studying it and trying to recognize something about you and can't, lol oh well...
You are very brave, first to agreed to having the study then to posting photos and sharing about it, to actually doing what the dr ordered and wearing it with all the accessories. To your health Linda, and to many, many good sleeps for you and anyone in and around you! all the photo inserts

Quilter said...

You look cute in your mask! I used to wake up more tired in the morning then when I went to bed. I never dreamed I had sleep apnea but I do. I have been using my Cpap for a year and was fortunate that I didn't have any trouble adjusting to using it but I am able to use the pillow mask and it only covers my nose. I even use it when I take a nap. BTY, my strap cover is pink too.


Oh dear I am a very loud snorer too, once when staying with relatives they thought they had an intruder in the house, but it was me snoring, I blame sleeping on my back! thanks for sharing some info that may also help someone else.