Friday, May 18, 2012

Sleep Study Results

I had my appointment with the "sleep doctor" today, and received the results from my sleep study a few weeks ago.

It turns out my husband wasn't kidding about my snoring.  In fact, I will never again complain about him wearing ear plugs at night.  All those years I thought he was just trying to get out of getting up with crying babies and barking dogs!

I need to nominate this poor man for sainthood!  My sleep study showed that I basically snore non-stop all night long. When I looked at the print out, it showed some areas that were solid with snoring.  Sheesh!

The doctor said that I just have a mild case of sleep apnea, although I woke on average about 13 times per hour.  My REM sleep was less than normal, probably due to frequent waking, I guess.

After much discussion, we decided that I will come in for another study next Friday night, and try using  a cpap machine to see if it relieves the snoring.  She said that is likely my biggest issue.

Of course, dropping some weight would probably help, although I remember my first husband telling me I snored (which I never believed!) and that was over 35 years ago, and I was a normal weight!

Anyway, I am so tired of being exhausted when I wake up that I'm willing to get hooked to a machine if it will help me sleep. The doctor said some folks find that using the machine gives them new energy, which leads to a desire to exercise and eventual weight loss.  That would be a nice bonus!

Mother's Day photo

We had such a lovely time last weekend.  Jessica and Brandon arrived right around lunch time on Saturday and we visited awhile before leaving for Powell's Book Store.  I found a driving map of France and a copy of Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, which I've been wanting to read for ages!

Later, Jessica's best friend Elisa, and her husband Jeremiah, came over for barbecued salmon and burgers.  It was such a treat to hang out with the "kids" and catch up on their lives.  The two couples went out later, and I went to bed feeling satiated; joy filled, and fully blessed.

On Sunday, we all got up fairly early and I fixed breakfast while David and Brandon talked golf and the girls serenaded us . . . 

As we gathered around the table, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  My girls were home, our first Mother's Day together in five years, and I truly felt all was right with my world.  We all enjoyed meeting Brandon and getting to know him.  He and Jess seem like a very good match.  Time will tell . . .

Just before Jessica and Brandon left, the girls gave me their gifts.  Jess wrote a beautiful poem "When I smell lilacs, I think of you", which made me alternately laugh out loud and cry. Kailyn gave me a darling homemade card and a book Jane Kirkpatrick wrote about Hulda Klager called, "Where Lilacs Still Bloom".  She knew I would love it!  Neither of them knew the other was doing something related to lilacs, and it was such a special bonus!

David, Kailyn and I left for church, and on the way, I decided I needed to have photos of each of the girls with the newest lilac I bought at Hulda Klager's. I called Jess and asked her if Brandon would take a picture for me.

Kailyn with our new little lilac!
Kailyn's car needed repair work, so I drove her back to school.  We both love road trips, no matter where we are going, so we had a nice long visit enroute to Central.  I didn't hang out very long, as I knew the return trip wouldn't be quite as pleasant.  It turned out I witnessed a gorgeous sunset just as I made the turn into the gorge. I had forgotten my camera at home, and attempted photos with my phone, but wasn't happy with them.

Surprisingly, the time passed quickly as I cheerfully traveled down the highway singing along with the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel.  Once I was home, I texted Kailyn to let her know, and was snug in my bed by 10:30!

What a lovely weekend!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Musings About Mothering

Mother's Day . . . just thinking about the day stirs up a whirlwind of emotions with a hurricane force that are hard to hold down long enough to even write about.  My first Mother's Day, I don't even remember well.  I had a six month old son; I'm fairly sure it was spent with my parents and siblings and the beginnings of what would become dozens of grandchildren.  I think I took it for granted, yeah, I'm a mom, no big deal, it happens to a lot of people.  Women have babies every day, nothing special about that.

Fast forward to my fourteenth Mother's Day.  I have a photo (that I can't find!) of my son Chris, smiling at his new, long hoped for baby sister Jessica, who is not quite three months old.  I'm looking puffy, exhausted, overweight and kind of shell shocked at the miracle of Jessica's coming into this world.

I'm not sure if we took pictures every Mother's Day, but on my sixteenth day of celebration, I have another baby girl, not quite two months old, and there is no doubt about it, I am one weary mom.
Chris holding Jessica (2 years) and sleeping Kailyn (2 months)

There are many photos over the years of the girls and I, sometimes dressed in matching outfits (I sewed, and, I thought it was cute.  What can I say??)  (of course, I can't find any of them at the moment!)

On my 29th Mother's Day, Chris wrote me a long, three page poem, full of love, appreciation for his life, and gratefulness that he had me as his mom. I sobbed through it the first time I read it, and it will always be the most precious gift he ever gave me.  He wrote other poems too, but that one I especially treasure.

The girls have given me many, many lovely handmade cards, and beautiful gifts for Mother's Day.
2009 Mother's Day Hike at Eagle Creek

Hard to read . . . I can't remember what year this was.  Neither of the girls remember to date their offerings, and I neglect to in the moment!  I do remember this is from Jess!

Another one that is a little hard to read, but so sweet!  Kailyn surprised me with this her freshman year at Central.  David and I had driven over for Jazz weekend.  The larger words are all hand stitched, but it's a little difficult to tell.
One of several poems Jess has written for me.  She truly has a way with words.

I nearly always attend church on Mother's Day, and I nearly always cry at least a little.  The year after Chris died, I seem to remember sobbing so much I had to get up and leave.  I'm crying now, just thinking about no more Chris.

Sometimes, it makes me mad that I am sitting there crying over Chris, surrounded by my husband and usually one or both daughters, and I'm mad at Chris. Damn him for messing up my life and ruining my Mother's Day.

Of course, within seconds, I'm remorseful, and awash with gratefulness, that God made me a mother, and so generously gifted me with three incredible human beings who have called me "mom".  Chris didn't "ruin" my mother's day, anymore than my mom's death "ruined" my life. Sometimes I'm ashamed of myself for even thinking those thoughts.  But, I do think them once in awhile.  I guess that's part of living, that dying is what we all do, and, we have a choice  of how we will respond when life isn't "going our way".  Funny thing, we don't seem to be in charge of those events though, do we?

I know that it is my choice how I view my life, as either "half full" or half empty" and, most of the time, (these days, anyway) I see it as more than half full.  While I can't go so far as to say I'm glad I've experienced the losses I've had, I can say that what I've learned, and what I've gained from these losses are immeasurable. There's no better way to build compassion and empathy that to suffer loss. And, there's no better way to develop a rich appreciation for the minutest moments, than to be painfully aware that "this could be the last time" at all times.

Last night, Kailyn drove home from Ellensburg in time for us to make it to over to the high school to watch "Hello Dolly", something we've been planning for a few weeks.  The musical was fantastic, as usual, and it was thrilling to reconnect with several of my former students who played various roles.  The light technician was one of those special kids I had when I taught both second and fifth grades, and he completed his senior project as a volunteer in my classroom. I discovered about a third of the orchestra were also "my kids".

Teaching is another form of mothering.   I definitely feel a mothers pride when I watch my former second and fifth graders belting out a song, or dancing across the stage, all grown up in high school. I am grateful to have the incredible opportunity to "teach and reach" kids. As I was enveloped within the enthusiastic and loving hugs I received last night, I reveled in the perks that come from my nurturing in the classroom.

Today, Jessica is bringing "the boy" (aka Brandon) home to meet us for the first time.  She tells me the relationship is becoming "serious" and I'm filled with equal parts of anticipation and anxiety.  I have cleaned house like a dervish (directly related to an earlier post on incentive!)  David just hosed off the deck. Jessica's best friend, Elisa, (who is like a third daughter to me) and her husband are also coming for dinner, so we'll have a party tonight.  I'm looking forward to having "my kids" home, and it seems like an added bonus that it's also Mother's Day weekend.

I wish for all my blogging friends a wonderful weekend, whether you are honoring your mother, being  honored as a mother, or celebrating the sunshine with friends.  We are all nurturers, and we all deserve a day that is ours to enjoy, in whatever form that pleasure takes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sleep Study

I spent last night wired up, literally, for a sleep study.  It all came about due to my complaining at my annual checkup about being forever tired.  I yawn all day, have little energy and wake up groggy and tired.  It takes me hours to get moving, and I'm not sure if it's just age, or what.  My doctor suggested a "sleep study", so I grudgingly made the first appointment.

While I was home after my upper GI a few weeks ago, the sleep study people called to say there was a cancellation, and would I like to come in that morning?  I was pretty groggy, but, ecstatic about not having to make more sub plans for a later date and said, "Sure!"

I was asked a billion questions, and before leaving, I made an appointment to return for my sleep study on  Saturday night, May 5.  I was to arrive at 7:55 PM, and would be released at 6 AM Sunday morning. (I know, what was I thinking??? )

Then, I proceded to have nightmares about the process for the next three weeks while I waited anxiously for last night to arrive.  My biggest fears were not sleeping at all, and not being able to get up to use the restroom, and the fact that the restroom was "down the hall".  I knew there were wires involved, and that I would be videotaped and observed the whole night long.  Frankly, it creeped me out, almost enough to cancel the appointment!

Yesterday, I went hiking with my friend, Tina, at Round Lake.  The creek was amazing, and while it threatened to rain, it didn't.  We hiked a little over three miles, through a considerable amount of mud (I forgot to take pictures, DJan!) It was great to get outside and off the neighborhood sidewalk!  I used my hiking poles on the steep and muddy areas, and discovered that they kept "slipping" and I couldn't get them tightened enough.  Today we're taking them back to REI and getting some lessons!
A very rain swollen Lacamas Creek!

As we caught up on the news in our families, I mentioned my upcoming nightmare.
Tina told me her husband had just went through the process a few weeks ago, and that she would have him call me when he got home from fishing that night.  Matt called about 40 minutes before we were to leave, and prepared me for the experience.  In some ways, it was going to be worse than I imagined, but, he did say he was impressed with the data collection and information during his follow up appointment.  Still, when my husband and I left the house, I was in a high state of anxiety and pretty darn crabby about going through the whole thing.  I said, "I wish it was you doing this! In fact, I think it should be you instead of me!" In typical fashion, David basically ignored my ranting.

We arrived, and there were no cars at the front door, where we were to meet the "sleep technician".
As we drove to the other side of the building, we saw a small group of people waiting at the opposite door.  David parked.  I screeched, "Are you just going to leave me with those total strangers??"

"No, I'm going to walk in with you, and make sure we're in the right place," was his irritatingly calm reply.

The technician, a sweet smiling young lady who appeared to be about 12, welcomed us into the building.  The other man's wife and son were going upstairs with him, but I just sent David off with a quick kiss and the terse request to be back not one minute later than 6:30 Sunday morning.  Then, I grumpily got into the elevator with the others. No one said a word as we traveled up to the fourth floor.

I was shown to "sleep room three" and entered the sparsely furnished mini bedroom consisting of a double bed, two end tables (that's all that fit on that wall) one utilitarian chair and a small cabinet with a sink and a mirror.  There was a microscopic tv mounted in the corner, with a screen about the size of my laptop. (I didn't plan on watching it, fortunately!) While I waited for my turn to be "wired" I got into my sleep clothes.  Feeling a little antsy, I attempted to correct a few writing papers, but sitting in the uncomfortable chair and leaning on the bed for a desk wasn't working out very well. I decided I wasn't in a positive, teacher-friendly frame of mind, and abandoned the papers just as the technician tapped on my door.

Tiffany proved herself to be endearingly patient.  It wasn't long before we were chatting amiably about her upcoming delayed honeymoon, and my upcoming travels to Europe, as she went through the 40 minute process of wiring me up.  She refilled my water bottle with filtered water, and graciously heated up my "heat 'em up" bag that I must have between my knees to sleep (probably 90% psychological, but nevertheless, I drag it with me everywhere I go.  And, yes, it will go to Europe with me, whether I am able to "heat it up" or not!)

All wired up . . . and smiling!  That Tiffany was a sweetheart!

I couldn't hold my hair up and take the picture, but
believe me, there are eight wires attached on various parts
of my head with some sort of gunk that was a bit difficult to wash out.
(My husband thought the top was shaved, but it isn't; just looks like it!)

About 9:30 I took my Ambien (I knew I would get zero sleep if I didn't!) and by 10:45 I was sleepy enough to start my sleep study!  Lights out, and try to get comfortable!  Luckily, I also brought my own pillow, so that helped considerably.

At least three times during the night, Tiffany came in and had to reattach a wire that had loosened and fallen off (luckily, not on my head, as if that happened she had to get out the "super cement" and I didn't want that!)  I accidentally pulled off one from each lower leg, and the oxygen one attached to my finger out of the wall.  I also woke often (as usual) but fell back asleep within a few minutes, thankful for the Ambien.

I wasn't sure exactly what time I woke up fully (but figured it was around 5 AM, and discovered later I was right!) but, after many minutes of not going back to sleep, and needing to use the restroom, I called for Tiffany.  She helped me get unplugged from the wall, and once I'd gone to the facilities, I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep.  She said we could end the sleep study a few minutes early, (it was about 5:45 by then) and she began un-wiring me, a much quicker process!

After getting dressed and washing what marks I could off my face, I called David to pick me up. Tiffany couldn't tell me much about the results, saying that the doctor would go over them with me at my next appointment, which is May 18.  She was able to tell me that I didn't exhibit enough sleep apnea for her to bring me a cpap (I think that's what she called it) during the night, but that it didn't mean the doctor might not recommend it at a later time.  So, I wait and see what I will learn about my sleep patterns, and what, if anything, I can do to help myself feel more rested.

Until then, the dreaded sleep study ordeal is over.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated.  I don't feel any more tired (or less) than I usually do. 

And, I am ready to head over to REI and see what I can learn about these hiking poles.  Although I was a little achy after the hike, I iced and feel pretty good today.  Kailyn will be home next weekend, so I'm looking forward to the possibility of another hike with her!

PS ~ Thanks for all the great comments when I couldn't find the dashboard.  I can find it with consistency now!  (Which means, I need to find some time to read and comment this afternoon!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

HELP! I can't find my dashboard or complete blog list!

Hello all!  Happy Belated May Day . . . but that isn't the reason for this blog.  Instead this is just a brief cry for help. I am trying, but I can't seem to find the "dashboard", which is where I used to check out recent blogs.  There are a few that show up at the end of my blog, but it isn't complete.

I'm not so fond of this new look on Blogger!

Is there anyone who can help me?