Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sleep(less) Study

I have sleep apnea. In short, my airway closes when I am sleeping and I stop breathing. My heart rate then goes up due to lack of oxygen until I finally take a breath. This cycle is repeated many, many times a night. As you can imagine this is not good.

For 17 years I have slept with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This machine blows air, at a controlled pressure, into my nostrils to keep my airway open. Every so many years I go for a new sleep study, which determines if the pressure needs adjustment, as well as other things.

The protocol is to go to sleep without the CPAP. A technician and instrumentation measure things like how often you stop breathing, eye moment, leg movement, etc. After two hours of sleep without the CPAP, the technician comes into the room and attaches a CPAP mask to your face. The rest of the night is spent with the technician adjusting the pressures (from a control room) to see what pressure is optimum.

Last night was the first study since Medicare covered me. Medicare has their own protocol. The medicare protocol insists that the determination of the correct pressure be done after at least two hours of sleep without the mask. This determines how bad your apnea is, i.e. how many times you stop breathing. Their other protocols, in my case required that these two hours be up by 2 am.

I went to bed at 11pm, of course without the CPAP. I took a sleeping pill just before bedtime and another one hour later. Here is the short of it: by 2am I had only slept 1-½ hours. Therefore they could not do the second part of the study (called titration). They would continue taking measurements until 6am without the CPAP in place! After sleeping for 17 years with the mask on, I do not sleep very well with it off. I got a measured 2.25 hours of sleep during this sleep study!

Now I get to go back for another night so they can do the titration!


pita-woman said...

Egad, what a nightmare! My dad went through one of those sleep tests nearly 20 years ago, he had the surgery to remove his uvula(sp?) I believe, and it made all the difference in the world for him.
I've begged my husband to have the test done, but he adamantly refuses.
Hope you get a good nights sleep, soon!!

Pop and Ice said...

Chuck! I could be married to you - and we just didn't know about it!

Actually, my hubbie has had a c-pap machine for the last five (?) years and it has helped him tremendously.

Did you know that the #1 reasons most guys don't continue using their c-pap machines after the first year? Their wives. Their wives don't like them.

I find it amusing and take pictures of the person from outer space I sleep with. Oh, and the cats sit on it every so often and either turn it on or shut it off. It's great family entertainment!

By the way, did you know your blog is showing coding between paragraphs? It is.

Robin said...

Damn Chuck, you need a sound a bit snarky! LOL!
Having said that, not sleeping is NOT fun....have you tried chiropracty? I'm leery of recommending it? But I know of a lot of people it worked for...bless your heart...Have you tried drinking? Works for me a lot!