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My sleep-study experience 
16th-Sep-2006 07:30 am
Me: on Ferris wheel 2012-09-09
(I’ve stopped in at work on my way home from the sleep center, and I don’t have an easy way to get pictures off my phone here, so the pictures of me with electrodes all over my head will have to wait, alas.)

So it was a split sleep study, which means the first part of the night they get baseline data (actually somewhat worse than baseline, because they ask you to sleep on your back if possible, which makes apnea worse, but at home I sleep on my side), and then they put the CPAP machine on you and you sleep with it for the rest of the night.

My sleep was interrupted, of course. For the first part (without the CPAP machine) I remember waking up once from snoring, and once from feeling unable to breathe, which probably means I was exhibiting worse symptoms than I do at home — usually I remember waking up due to snoring or breathing problems maybe once a week (although I’m sure I do it more often than that). I did sleep quite a bit, though.

For the second part, with the CPAP machine, it took me quite a while to fall asleep, but when I did I slept quite well. I did wake up a few times for adjustments to the mask, and a couple times to get unhooked so I could use the bathroom. I noticed an odd sensation in my ears at the beginning — kind of an itchy-ticklish sensation deep in the ears — but it went away after a while. I had mild but sharp-feeling pain under one eye, which might have been something about how the mask was adjusted or might have been something about pressure differentials, but that also went away after a while. After the last time the mask was adjusted, it was too tight (because the technologist adjusted it for one position and I promptly rolled over into a different one, I think) so when I woke up my face hurt. And the mattress was much firmer than I am used to.

Despite all that, and despite waking up at 5:30 when I’ve been barely managing to get out of bed by 8:30 lately, I woke up feeling rested and refreshed and full of energy. I feel better than I do when I sleep till noon on a lazy weekend after getting to bed early the night before. I feel at least as good as and perhaps better than I do when I go on vacation and get ten hours’ sleep a night for four or five days in a row.

I don’t know, maybe some of this is placebo effect. But I’m pretty sure not all of it is. I feel great!

The sad thing is that I may well have to wait a few months before I can feel this way again, although I will certainly be harrassing the sleep center to see if they can get me in for a followup sooner than December 8 — maybe there’ll be a cancellation. Or maybe I’ll just hold up a 24-hour CPAP-machine store somewhere. :-)

16th-Sep-2006 12:03 pm (UTC)
i hope they get you in before that...c-pap machines make a world of difference if you have sleep apnea! i used to worry about a friend of mine all the time beofre he got his...he even fell asleep driving a few times because he wasn;t getting any good sleep at night...it was scary.
16th-Sep-2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
I haven’t fallen asleep driving, but I did walk into a telephone pole once. :-)
16th-Sep-2006 01:02 pm (UTC)
Me too, but that was because I was reading a book at the time.

"If you haven't apologized to a telephone pole, you're wasting valuable reading time..."

I'm glad your sleep study thing worked so well!! Yay!
16th-Sep-2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
I find I pay better attention to obstacles if I am reading while walking than if I am just walking - because if I'm not reading, then I'm looking around and likely to find something distracting over my shoulder and not notice the pole/mailbox/uneven pavement.

A friend of mine in high school was reading while _bicycling_, and hit a (parked) car. I'm not coordinated enough to even attempt half of that :)
16th-Sep-2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
I walk into walls fairly often. Usually at work, because my mind is so far off elsewhere.

So happy that you're feeling good, and that I'll be snuggled up beside you soon. :-)
17th-Sep-2006 01:12 pm (UTC)

16th-Sep-2006 12:10 pm (UTC)
i'm glad to hear you got in and were able to get help!!! And feel awake!!! What does a CPAP machine do?
16th-Sep-2006 12:36 pm (UTC)
Lets me breathe at night, which will mean (1) I get enough oxygen at night, and (2) my sleep isn’t constantly interrupted by waking up enough to tense my tongue and throat muscles to breathe.

Here’s the Wikipedia article.
16th-Sep-2006 12:42 pm (UTC)
I want to say that keyne has an extra one? Check with her?
18th-Sep-2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Nope. I had an ancient model which I donated to somebody who wanted it for parts as he invented a new one.
16th-Sep-2006 12:42 pm (UTC)
Yay you! When I sent for mine they didn't find apnea so I didn't get to use the cool machines.
18th-Sep-2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Mine was annoying in that they did find apnea (enough for me to get a CPAP), but not strong enough to actually wake me mid-study and see how well the thing would actually work. :/

(So now I have a mask which doesn't work and I won't use. Argh.)
18th-Sep-2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
(So now I have a mask which doesn't work and I won't use. Argh.)
Is the problem the mask itself, or the CPAP machine in general? I’m planning on getting a handful of different kinds of masks (even if I have to pay for them out-of-pocket) so I can see what works. (I even saw one that just fits in your mouth SCUBA-style and doesn’t need any straps.)
18th-Sep-2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
The problem is the mask, I assume. I can't sleep because I think I'm strangling.

The @*%&@(%ing company that brings the CPAP won't let me try a second mask until I send them a couple of weeks' worth of data using the first one, though. And I don't know if buying one is even an option, though we can't really afford to drop $80 or more on an experiment.
16th-Sep-2006 01:07 pm (UTC)
It doesn't matter if it's a placebo effect if you can reasonably and consistently reproduce it. :)

I'm glad you got such good sleep. While I've never thought myself bad at sleeping, all the people I know of getting tested have me wondering about the large amount of sleep I seem to need.
16th-Sep-2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
that sounds promising. i'm so glad. :>
16th-Sep-2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
Gosh. I do hope they can get you in before December; those results sound very promising.
16th-Sep-2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
That is excellent!

Did they have you use the nose piece or the full face mask... wait your down stairs, I will just ask you!
16th-Sep-2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
You used to be able to just plunk down cash and buy a CPAP machine.

Not anymore. You can thank the people who have "our best interests at heart", in banning the sale of CPAP machines, decorative contact lenses, and hearing aids.

Crutches, orthopedic shoes, and vitamins are probably next.
16th-Sep-2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
Yay, for having an actual diagnosis and a preliminary plan, though. Hopefully there'll be a cancellation and you can get this all warpped up soonish.
17th-Sep-2006 08:01 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you got in so quickly.

I do have an extra CPAP, mine was just replaced with a new one. But, the old one is having some issues. It kept stopping in the middle of the night and the lights would blink and it would beep, waking me up. I'd be happy for you to use it, but it'll probably do the same thing to you. That and you'd need your own mask. I have a few old ones, but I'm sure they wouldn't fit you.

Ah well... I wish I could be more helpful! Anyways, I'm glad you felt better!
17th-Sep-2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
It kept stopping in the middle of the night [...]
How many times a night would it do that? If just a couple times a night, it might well make sense for me to borrow it. As far as getting my own mask, I’d want to do that anyway, and I imagine I could use the masks (I intend to get a few different kinds) with the CPAP machine I eventually end up with.

(I don’t need a prescription to get a mask, do I?)
19th-Sep-2006 01:01 am (UTC)
On a bad night it woke me up twice, on a good night only once if I remember correctly. I wrote down the error code and I was going to try to get it fixed so I could have one at home and one at docorion 's but that got less urgent lately, so I haven't done anything with it. You are welcome to have it when I get home.

I'll call the home health company when I get home and see if they can tell me what the error code means. I'm not sure if I can get it fixed or not, but it would be nice to have a spare.

I'm also not sure about a prescription for the mask. The masks generally come with the machines. I've never bought one myself, but my insurance has covered everything so far. My understanding is they could run in the $200 range though, but you could call & ask the sleep doctor?

You are more than welcome to have one of my extra masks and to use my extra, all be it, broken machine. I'm not sure that the masks would fit you, that and they are full-face masks, meaning they go over the nose and mouth. I think I have one that goes just over the nose that I only used once. I'm a bit of a mouth breather so I had to go with a full-face.

Maybe Tom could help with getting a mask though?

*hug* I wish I could give it to you now, but I won't be home until October 1st.
17th-Sep-2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
So nice to see you so full of hope in this. And it seems well-founded. Fingers crossed for your speedy cpap machine. :)
18th-Sep-2006 03:06 am (UTC)
I've been using a CPAP machine for several years and it makes a big difference in my ability to sleep soundly.

It also stops me snoring so Ann insists on me using it.
18th-Sep-2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
So glad to hear it, and I hope they can set you up with your own CPAP real soon!
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