Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Afraid To Sleep

After recently being diagnosed with sleep apnea, I am now afraid to sleep. When my Doctor first sent me home with an oxygen monitor, I didn't think it would show anything, but it did; my oxygen drops really low when I sleep. Okay, so what now?

He set up my first sleep study, which showed that I stopped breathing an average of forty-nine times an hour (an hour!). I was shocked. I knew something was going on, but that's a lot of non-breathing time. At first I was glad to know, finally having a possible cause, and hopefully a fix, for several problems I was having. But now, when bedtime rolls around, it's a different story; I think I slept better not knowing.

A couple of people who found out that I was going to have a sleep study done laughed, telling me it was useless. One even said that sleep apnea wasn't even real, that it was just something the medical community had made up. I pondered their opinions, considering cancelling my appointment, especially since I was dreading it. The thought of a stranger watching me sleep was a less than pleasant thought. But after having three (not one, but three) Doctors explain how sleep apnea can lead to or cause heart and kidney disease, heart palpitations, energy and memory, weight gain, and in severe cases, even death, I decided to let a stranger watch me sleep.

My first study wasn't bad at all, except for the cost. I had it done at a sleep center that was located in the hospital that my Doctor's office is in—super convenient. At this location, it came in at over $4,000, and I had to pay 20% of that. But I laid down the big bucks and went through with it. I had to be there at 8:30 that evening so that I could sit and wait until 11:00 for them to hook me up. So, I just sat back and did nothing but watch TV for a while, which was a rare occurrence. Then at 11:00, she came in and hooked twenty-four wires to me. The only downside to this is the gunk they used to attach them to my scalp, which is like a mixture of Vaseline and wax. I was surprised that I was able to sleep like this, especially when I have trouble going to sleep anyway, but I did.

A couple of days later, a nurse called and left a message wanting to set up a second sleep study. What? I didn't know that this was the usual protocol, but come to find out now, it is. After stomping my feet and banging my fists on the counter, I called to inform the nurse that a second test was a no-go for me. I couldn't afford to shell out another $800, which would mean that the first $800 I had already spent would be for nothing. Luckily, she referred me to another sleep center that she thought would be less expensive, which I wish they would've done to begin with. This one is further away, but I am willing to drive forty-five minutes further, seeing as how their study is half as much as the first location's. (So if you have to have a sleep study done, approve it with your insurance provider and see what your costs are going to be for two tests, not just one, in the event you are diagnosed with it.)

And now, I wait . . . wait to see if I die in my sleep before I can have the second study done, which will involve me sporting a stylish CPAP machine. This test will show them what settings I do better (actually breath) with. Maybe they'll have one that plays ocean sounds; now that would be a plus.

Anyone of any age and size can get sleep apnea
If you have questions, or think you may have sleep apnea, 
visit and/or talk to your Doctor.
The above information was from my experience only. Having  had several people ask me what my experience has been, I decided to share it with you.
Your experience and/or sleep apnea severity may differ from mine.