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!)


  1. Interesting post. Kyle should go and have a sleep study sometime. I'll have to have him read this.

  2. I am smiling because you know I have been there and done that. I had 3 sleep studies done, one at home and two at the hospital. I have had my c-pap for 6 weeks now. I still don't like it but I am getting used to it. Do remember that you have your husband for a support system. I was pretty much alone. I have a-fib and other heart related problems so I use the machine faithfully each night.

    Good Luck!!!!!

  3. Well, you've done the first part, and it was a big one! Congratulations, Sandi. I am impressed, not just with the description, but also your unfailing optimism in the face of all those obstacles. About those hiking poles: I was cautioned NOT to get the sleek ones that turn to catch, because they fail often. I got the kind that have a kind of "power lock" that don't slip. I've been super happy with them. Please post more information about what you learn, it will help others to make the right choice, I really believe. Hugs! Cyber Hugs!

  4. I've always been fascinated by the sleep studies - I can't wait to hear the results! I want my husband to get one, but I suspect they'll say he has sleep apnea (he snores like a freight train) and that if he would lose 40 pounds, it would disappear, and I know that would just make him feel bad about himself.

    If they don't find anything, you might have your doctor check your B vitamin levels. Once I found out I was deficient and couldn't metabolize B vitamins, my life changed dramatically. You can read about it here


  5. Everybody I know has sleep problems. I think that the last really good nights sleep, is the night before you have your first child. After that, you never quite sleep peacefully again.

    Glad you found your dashboard.

  6. I've had four sleep studies in the last few months. Thankfully, all of them were done at home. I just had this past Friday night. I have mild sleep apnea that has improved already after being on the CPAP machine about two months. That is the good news. The bad news is that I am still oxygen deprived during the night. I was severely oxygen deprived prior to having the CPAP machine. I was shocked to find this out. Unfortunately, while my oxygen levels are much improved with the machine, and after trying two different masks, I still had two hours of low oxygen. The fourth test was to qualify me for oxygen. (Insurance, and its requirements sometimes make things difficult.) Most likely I will be on oxygen starting next week. If it helps my heart issues, dizziness, and exhaustion, it is worth it. It will be interesting to see what they say about your study.

    The CPAP is really not bad. I adjust right away. It took three masks to get it right. Thankfully, I am working with a company that is helpful and makes sure I am in just the right mask for me. Actually, I find that I can't really sleep without the machine. Acceptance of my condition was key to adjusting to the changes.

  7. My son does the sleep lab at his hospital. I don't know if I could ever stay awake all night to watch people sleep! I know from all our patients in surgery how common sleep problems are and many use I hope they can help you and you can get good rest without meds. I'm also amazed at how many children have sleep apnea...sometimes it's because they are overweight. It's a growing (no pun intended) problem.

  8. My hubby took the test too and found he has mild apnea, treatable with nose strips and no machine. What wakes him up is his foot twitching. Neurologist prescribed stretching exercises to relax his feet and he does them before bed. See my blog for pictures.

  9. My husband too took this test. It said it was no big deal. They gave him a choice of different "Fancy" mattresses! I would have chose the foam one but I think he picked the sleep number. It turns out that he didn't have sleep Apnea but had to take the test for his DOT physical. But at least they paid for it! I hope you get positive results Sandi and get to learn how to use those poles!! Love Di ♥

  10. Dear Sandi, . . . I"m so eager to learn the results of your sleep-study test. It all seems very complicated and technical, but if you learn something that helps with your getting enough sleep and feeling invigorated instead of tired then it will be helpful. I had trouble with sleeping for four years and it only ended when I felt safe again. Now I have little trouble falling asleep and can sleep pretty well most of the time. I hope that happens for you.


  11. Great looking hike, and hope the sleep test results come up with some useful plans for you Sandi.

    Chrissy from Manchester: a photo a day at Mancunian Wave

  12. The hike sounded wonderful. Let us know what the REI says.

  13. Sorry I haven't been by. It's been nuts! I hope you don't have to have the oxygen machine. My ex had that and he kept flinging it across the room in his sleep. lol So proud of you for going through with the test! That takes a lot of courage!
    Thanks also for going over to read my mom's blog and following her! I know that made her day! Let me know how your results turn out! Big hugs!


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