Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sleep Study

I have posted a few times about how I wake up a lot at night, which makes me sleepy during the day.  Some days, it is all I can do to get in the door and collapse in my bed when I get home.  I feel like I am missing out on my life, because literally, all I do is work and sleep.

I tried a sleep study to determine what the trouble was.  This was before I was blogging, so I will relate this story here:

I arrived at the appointed location at the appointed time, 9 PM, with pillow in hand.  The website indicated the experience would be similar to a hotel, and I  would be able to watch TV or read until I drifted off, so I had also brought a book.  Several other people lined the hallway with their pillows.

The place was locked.

We waited in the hall, not speaking much, until a technician finally arrived, out of breath and with keys jingling as he ran.  He let us into a waiting room, which, indeed, had a TV.  He went to the reception area and fumbled through papers while we nervously chose seats.  No one turned on the TV.

The technician called a name, and the very large woman across from me spoke up.  He asked her, across the rooms, why she was there.  She looked around and then reluctantly announced that she was there to check for sleep apnea.  (By the way, this is why all the people, except me, were there.  And luckily, I was the last patient to be called, so I did not have to tell everyone and his brother my reason for seeing a doctor.)  I still refused to talk across the room like that and just got up to talk to the guy.  I was there for the night, but also into the day, to check for narcolepsy.  Apparently, his shift would end at 7am, and the lab would be closed again until 9am.  So there was an issue.  Great.

I was the last one called but the first one to be prepped.  They attached about 20 little doo-dads that would monitor my heart rate, breathing rate, brain waves, and a number of other things.  He asked how I normally like to sleep.  I told him I usually fall asleep on my side in a fetal position.

"Well, not tonight, you're not," he said.  "We need patients to sleep on their backs, and not move too much."

He then told me I was all set and I should just call out if I needed anything, because they have an intercom system and a camera in the room.  I asked if I could read my book (no TV in the room), and he said I could for a short bit while he prepped another patient.  Not exactly the "hotel" atmosphere advertised.

I carefully laid on the cheapo mattress with the scratchy sheets and thin quilt which was provided.  I began reading my book, a novel by Stephen King.  The technician left and began talking to the gentleman next door.  He was thin, but a heavy smoker, and, of course, was there to check for sleep apnea.  I heard every word they were saying through the thin walls.

The man next door was complete, and there was relative silence.  Another technician had arrived and prepped the other two people. I was still nervous, trying not to move, and reading my book because I was not sleepy.  Suddenly, the room filled with the booming voice of the technician who asked me to stop reading and turn out the lights.

Obediently, I clicked the light and tried to sleep.  Outside the room, I heard the technicians arguing about who would stay with me until the day shift got in.  They both had obligations after work, and so they called a supervisor.  Apparently, one of them would need to re-arrange a schedule, because they continued to argue.  My pinky finger, which had a sensor clipped to the end like a clothespin, was beginning to throb.  I was afraid to move, and I did not like the idea of calling out to the empty room.  I listened to the sounds of snoring, coming from the room next door.  Faintly, I could hear snores down the hall as well.

I laid in  silence, trying to sleep.  My pinky hurt.  I couldn't move.  The snoring was louder.  My pinky hurt.  Sleep! I tried to will myself.  I wondered what time it was.  My pinky hurt.  The technician was getting a soda from the machine.  I couldn't move.

At one point, boomy voice popped into the room, asking if I needed something.  I told him about the pinky, and he came in to adjust the sensor, scolding me for not speaking up.  He closed the door and I listened to the snoring some more.  Sleep!  (but don't move.) Sleep, goddammmit!  (but stay on your back.)  I wondered again how much time was left.

Eventually, I did fall asleep for about 2 hours.  The technician came in at 5am to "wake" me, and remove the sensors.  He said that since I couldn't sleep, there was no way I had narcolepsy, so I could go home. 

"Now?"  I said.  "I wasn't supposed to be picked up until noon.  I didn't bring my car because I am too cheap to pay for parking for that long."  

"Well, we don't need to see you for the day study."

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, and a very sleepy: "Hello?"

"Hi, honey!"  I cheerily said.  "Can you come pick me up?"

I got home and collapsed into bed, even though I had goo in my hair from some of the doo-dads.  I was exhausted after my sleep study, which came back inconclusive due to lack of sleep.

1 comment:

kt said...


Ok, guys, here’s the deal:

Dad has been in the hospital most of the month of September. I just brought him home this afternoon. He has been placed in a hospice program and I will be caring for him at home until the Lord takes him to His home. I have no idea how much time
I will have to respond to any of you. I do still have several posts sitting in the SCHEDULED file waiting to go out. Please stick with me as I WILL BE BACK.