Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Sleep Study

Some of you are probably wondering how the sleep study went. Others are probably wondering what it was. The majority are probably thinking "Who cares?" Well, too bad. I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

I got to the hospital about 8:00 Thursday night for my appointment and ended up sitting in the waiting room for twenty minutes or so before the technicians came out to get me. And then I ended up sitting in the clinic for about an hour while they got everything ready and dealt with the other two people there for studies. Good thing I brought a book.

After the others were done it was my turn to get changed and get wired up for bed. This meant putting on the shorts I brought to sleep in and then sitting and listening to the tech tell me about the study and about what causes sleep apnea. Then they started attaching the electrodes.

However, before the could attach the electrodes they had to clean the areas.

I tried not to be offended at the implication.

They had this scrub they used to clean the areas. I guess it is specially formulated to breakdown and remove all the oils, etc. from the skin. The real problem I had with it was that it was abrasive. VERY abrasive. The spots on my scalp that they scrubbed are still a little tender today.

After scrubbing the spots and making them tender it was time to glue on the electrodes, two on my legs, five on my scalp and in my hair, one on my forehead, each cheek, behind each ear, beside each eye, and one of each side of my chest. I think that covers all of them. Oh, and there were two belts wrapped around my torso.

Each of these had a long wire coming from it and attached to a control box hanging beside the bed. Plus there was another control box attached to one of the belts which was connected to the first box via a cable. A short cable. (This will come into play in a moment.)

Once all the wires were attached they asked if I wanted to go to sleep then or if I wanted to read some more. Since I couldn't put my glasses back on with a couple of the electrodes in the way, I decided to try to sleep. It was about 11:00 or 11:30 by this time

The hospital bed was smaller than a twin and it was uncomfortable. I am used to a queen sized bed that is (in my opinion) quite comfortable. This wasn't looking good.

So I lay there for half an hour or so before managing to fall asleep. And then I woke up quite suddenly during the night. I guess that will happen when you go to roll over and something stops you unexpectedly.

Remember that cable I said was short? When I rolled over in my sleep I found out just how short it was. Not quite long enough for me to roll onto my side. So when I tried during the night I had this cable holding me back and the sudden shock of the pulling woke me up.

Once I realized what had happened I hit the call button and asked the technician what time it was and if i could get up then. He said it was 3:30, and no. I had to be monitored for a minimum of 6 hours.

After trying to get comfortable again, and failing miserably, I managed to get back to sleep about half an hour or an hour later.

And then at 5:30 they woke me up said that we had to get out because another clinic used the space during the day and would be showing up by 6:30.

It seemed to take hours for them to get all the wires off so I could move around (and head for the toilet) but they probably had it done in about 15 minutes.

After that I did what I had to do. I washed up. I got dressed. And I left. And I still had left over paste in my hair from the electrodes on my scalp.

So I headed home for a hot shower, and it was only hot so that it would get rid of the last of the paste and glue that all the electrodes were attached with. Leaving only the tenderness and sore spots behind.

They told me that my doctor and I would have the results in a week or so. i am just hoping that all the issues caused by the small, uncomfortable bed, and having all the attached wires which kept me from moving, and woke me up, don't skew the results and make them think there are problems that aren't there.

I mean I felt so miserable when I left. Lack of sleep. Being rudely awoken twice. I was exhausted and felt like I hadn't slept at all.

However, the next night I slept in my own bed, and slept better than I had in months. I slept for about 10 hours and woke up refreshed and ready to go.

And I had a good day.

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