After my first sleep study back in October, it was determined that I have moderate sleep apnea. I was seen by a sleep specialist and the ear nose and throat doctor again, and then I was sent back to the sleep study place to be fitted for a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. With sleep apnea, you stop breathing while sleeping because your airway collapses. A CPAP forces air into your nose, helping you to breathe properly.
Coincidentally, I ended up with the same sleep study technician as last time, Chris, and had my study in the same room.
I had to wait for some time as Chris set up the patient next door, a small baby. Fortunately, this time I’d brought my laptop and box set of Initial D, so I got ready for bed and then watched several episodes. There was a hospital wireless network available, but it was unsecured so I decided not to get online.
Finally Chris arrived to wire me up. This time I was able to get a picture before he put the hair net on:
Chris was just as talkative as last time, but I was pretty tired, so I wasn’t as involved in the conversation as I might have been.
In the middle of getting me set up, Chris had to leave the room to get a humidifier for the CPAP, and while I waited for him to get back I drew a picture of Batman on the markerboard door of the closet.
Finally it was time to sleep. I got into place and Chris helped me put on the face mask. It only covers the nose. There’s a bunch of soft padding on it so it’s comfortable, and there’s a piece of plastic that connects to a padded bar that goes on your forehead, to add stability. That whole unit is then strapped to your head with adjustable fabric belts, which you can slip off of hooks if you need to remove the mask quickly.
It was weird after it was on and Chris first started the flow of air. My first instinct was to rip the mask off, as if I was being suffocated. But I forced myself to breathe the air that was blowing into the mask.
Then Chris asked me a question, and let me tell you, it is very weird to try to talk only to hear a weird raspy sound and feel a torrent of air blowing out of your mouth.
“Did I ask you the question because I wanted to know the answer, or because I wanted to hear you do that?” Chris asked. Hmm, let’s all think about that! ;>
We got the mask settled in on my face and I got comfy for the night.
I have a love-hate relationship with this photo (which Chris kindly took for me). Obviously, I wouldn’t send this out with my Christmas cards. I mean, it’s just not flattering. But at the same time, it’s so perfectly representative of what it’s like to be wired up for a sleep study.
It doesn’t look comfortable, does it? But remarkably, my biggest complaint about the situation would have to be that the pillow didn’t provide proper neck support. I’m spoiled by Tempur-Pedic. And that’s it!
The mask didn’t really bother me while I was asleep. When I first started trying to go to sleep I wondered if I would wake up, forget about the mask, discover it, and freak out. But that didn’t happen. I vaguely recall the mask moving off my nose slightly, and moving it back myself, and I also vaguely pulling the mask off as best I could, only to have Chris come fix it, but I wasn’t particularly distressed by any of these events.
I slept very soundly, and I was very unhappy when Chris woke me around 7.
The exit questions were the same, but my answers were really different. Can you remember any dreams? No, not at all. How long were you asleep? I have no idea. What time is it right now? No clue. What time did you go to sleep? Um. It’s kind of scary that my answers were so precise before, and this time…nothing. Does this mean that I was so asleep that my internal body clock took the night off? And am I not going to have dreams anymore? Because I’ll miss those :>
It took awhile for me to feel like I was awake after that. Chris told me that around the middle part of the day I’d realize that I felt refreshed, but I wasn’t sure about that. I did, thankfully, wake up enough that I felt comfortable driving home.
When I got here I had planned on going straight to bed, but it turned out that we forgot to pay the rent, so I relaxed a little with the intention of going and doing that, and I ended up watching more Initial D and running that errand and just staying awake.
Until, abruptly, I fell asleep on the couch.
The nap was somewhat restful, but not ideal. I kept waking up and hearing the DVD menu music and thinking that I should turn it off, and then falling back asleep. But afterwards I at least felt like I could make it through the rest of the day.
I think what happened is that I actually did get some restful sleep, and when it stopped prematurely my body was very unhappy about it.
I originally thought wearing a face mask was going to be a colossal pain, but now I’m excited to see what will happen when I have my own CPAP. It’ll be cool to see if I actually do feel more rested in the daytime, and have more energy to do things. I would love to start being active again.
I’m not actually sure when all this will happen, though. I think I’m going to get the prescription in three weeks when I go back to the ENT.
Move faster, time!