I clicked on the little button on the left that says Random Post and this is what popped up! A day in my life from five years ago. I found it interesting because I’d pretty much forgotten all about this funny little episode. When there’s currently nothing I can think of to complain about, maybe I’ll just dredge up some random whiner of a post from the past. And just for the record, my chronic fatigue had a lot to do with a too low dosage of thyroid meds and it took going to more than a few specialists in various fields before my doctor agreed that normal for other people was not necessarily normal for me, and to bump up the dosage.
To get to the bottom of my chronic tiredness I agreed to be tested for sleep apnea. What insanity. I realize the condition is a serious problem for a lot of people and that there are different kinds of sleep therapy that can often work wonders. I don’t think I have it, but to satisfy my curiosity I filled out the forms and answered all the questions. I have some of the symptoms, but definitely not all of them. I’ve never fallen asleep mid conversation with someone. I find myself infinitely too interesting for that to happen. Ha. And I’ve never fallen asleep at a red light or anywhere in traffic if I’m driving. (Being a passenger with W. at the wheel is a completely different story, and I can nod off before he puts the vehicle in drive.) My tiredness has not really affected my work, except for some extra crankiness. And the inability to concentrate combined with memory loss can be simply explained when you consider my life long state of being dazed and confused combined with advancing age. Right? I would say right. Yes, I snore, but no one has ever mentioned that I’ve stopped breathing in the middle of it, unless I get so loud that I startle myself awake wondering who the hell is making that godawful racket.
So I drove all the way to the west end of the city to pick up the equipment, got the in-office demo and brought home the instructions for hooking up the little black box that records sleep patterns. I watched the little 8 minute video of someone with a severe case of sleep apnea happily strapping the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine on his head at night and the next day playing frisbee with his sons on the beach. This kind of thing can actually happen, or so they would have you believe.
What a horrible night I had. Getting myself all wired up and taped together was not the hard part – it was figuring out that if you do your finger first, the throat and the nose become much more complicated. And once you’re attached in three different ways, you are pretty much committed to being trapped in bed – you should have made your last trip to the bathroom WAY before now, you moron. How this whole procedure can end up with results that are anywhere near accurate is beyond me. The tape on the ‘microphone’ on my neck was gross and painful. In my zeal to get it right I used enough to strangle myself. The finger thing was annoying as hell, sort of like a weak clothes pin easily knocked off and able to make the box beep accusingly whenever that happened. More tape needed, but careful not to cut off the circulation. I used up a whole roll of tape already on my neck Then there’s the oxygen-like tubing that left an indentation across one side of my face for almost four hours after I took it off. Yes, I DID time it, making a mental note that an actual mask could conceivably disfigure my face permanently. And those little probes stuck up my nose were fine as long as I didn’t move. Otherwise they tickled and itched and no amount of tightening or loosening the strap under my chin made any difference. I did discover that when it was too tight it made my ears hurt. They really should put that bit of info in the book.
I must have wakened up a dozen times during the night tangled up in wires. Although I really wanted to just say “F THIS” and rip everything off I did persevere until 7:00 a.m. At which point I actually did say something similar. And not using my inside voice. Then I made the drive all the way back across town to return all the rigmarole and have the information I recorded under great duress fed into a computer for a preliminary analysis by my sleep specialist. That might not be her exact title, but at that moment I didn’t give a flying fig how her damned business card describes her. She told me I was the second person that morning to tell her they’d just spent the worst night of their lives, sleep-wise. You’d think she’d be used to hearing that. Then I got to sit and yawn a lot and wait to be ushered into her office to sit down once again, this time in the big blue lazy boy chair. I’m not seeing the use of that particular chair as a good business practice for these people. But I did manage to stay alert while she explained to me that the results show I’m borderline for needing one of those sleep apnea machines. She would still like me to try one, but it might not make a significant difference in the long run. Normal times to stop breathing in the space of a minute are five and under. I’m at 6.8. My blood oxygen level during sleep was 8.9 and I believe she said that’s low but not excessively so. She now sends this incredibly interesting information off to a doctor for further interpretation. And we both presumably wait with bated breath to see what he has to say.
Oh yeah, and she begs to differ with W., my snoring is NOT off the wall. It’s MODERATE. Jerk. Snort. Etcetera.
Our session did end on an extremely pleasant note. She asked me to verify my birthdate, since she thought she must have made a typing error when she entered it into the computer. Then she did a really believable version of looking shocked, saying she simply could NOT believe I was that old. I have now forgiven her everything. My crankiness level shot down to about half in a matter of seconds. Now an afternoon nap (a lovely wireless one) should get it right back down to normal.