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.
|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!)