Thursday, November 01, 2007

Misery revisited

I had the second sleep study last night, but using the word sleep is a misnomer. And a severe one at that.

In a strange turn of events, I went Trick or Treating with ex and his family in the neighborhood next to P's old condo. My son and I go to this neighborhood each year. The people are so friendly, most houses participate, the houses aren't too far apart, and the neighborhood is quiet except for the hoards of kids walking around safely. Ex and his wife wanted to give their 2yo a good Halloween experience that their neighborhood would not offer, but they didn't know where this neighborhood is, so I hung out on visitation night, in part also b/c the sleep, or lack thereof, study wasn't far from their house.

Like last time for the first sleep study, I arrived early for the agreed upon time, the tech called a while later and said he was running 10 minutes late, and he showed up 20 or more minutes later. Rude. Unprofessional. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

He'd actually called earlier in the evening to see if I wanted to change nights. He has a long commute and I was the only patient. I said I was geared up and I did not want to change, so he was stuck. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

As we walked up to the offices after he finally got there, I explained that I needed to know when the apnea occurred, as I doubt it's existence overall. He later looked at my chart and explained that I snored very loudly on my back and that I have moderate apnea on my side. Crushing blow. I wanted to shoot the messenger. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

I told him how reluctant I was to be there, how uncomfortable I was last time, how difficult the clean up was. He was very reassuring and I was not in a reassuring mood. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

He hooked up all the head leads again, the whole time me dreading it and the clean up. I got in bed and he hooked me up to the computer there, then pulled out a small CPAP mask. He said the nose version is usually enough, that I wouldn't need the larger face kind. He put that on me, I heard the machine beep beep, and I thought I was set. However, the machine continued to beep beep every minute, kind of like a smoke alarm battery going bad, except it was right by my head. I got up to summon him, he lied and said it was because the machine needs service in a month (lied b/c it means the machine is past due needing service), and I asked if there was another machine. He was surprised at the thought, but got another, which beep beeped as well, b/c it is on the same lack-of-service schedule.

At one point during the beeping and exchanging, I ruefully exclaimed as best I could with a mask on sucking my brains out, "Don't you think that I am miserable enough?" And he replied, "It's called 'life,' Cricket." And he excused himself. Despite him being such an agreeable sort, it was very easy to be angry at him.

I realize there was nothing he could do at that moment. I was livid that they didn't maintain their equipment better and was appalled at the hypocrisy that a beeping machine would somehow be conducive to a positive experience in a sleep study. Absurd.

I proceeded to dose off once all night. The mask and poorly ventilated room were hot, I was sweaty and, you guessed it, miserable. Like last time, I was awake when he came to get me up, but this time I was dragging ass much worse. I was absolutely drained. And frustrated.

During the night, I equated the loss of control to the only parallel I could think of. I felt like I was being raped. My body was not my own and I could not dictate what was going on with it. I feel just as violated.

Although the circumstances and mask were difficult and the experience of the counter pressure on my respiratory system took some getting used to, that part of the experience wasn't all bad. The pressure strangely made my mouth stay closed on its own and I did get used to the new sensations. However, it's mighty hard to separate out the mask, sweating, beeping, violation, and frustration from not minding the pressure. If only it had made me sleep.

The only way I would consider a machine would be if I had a loaner at home for several nights. If I tried it in an environment I was comfortable in and could stand it, then maybe I could really stand it. Fat chance.

ETA: I must state that three hours after the removal of the mask, I still have a red mark from where it dug into rested on my forehead. I am not surprised, given how badly my face was marked up when all the crap first came off. All the more reason to hate it and consider it unacceptable.


Klynn said...

The beeping is ridiculous. It's hard enough without one more added disruption. I'm so sorry that the experience left you feeling violated. At least now you can have a little better understanding of what's going on, and hopefully they won't ask you to do yet another sleepless study.

My mom uses a CPAP for her apnea. It's made a huge difference in her life. She actually gets quality sleep. She does have marks on her face when she first gets up, but those usually go away in an hour or so. Kind of like bed sheet marks on your body when you've slept really hard. If memory serves, Mom had a loaner or a rental machine for the first few weeks while she was getting used to it and waiting for her insurance to kick in to pay for her own machine. If they recommend one for you, I'd recommend checking into a rental machine until you're sure you can tolerate it.

Good luck.

DD said...

Why is it as soon as you mentioned being frustrated, I thought you should make the tech alleviate some of that "frustration" which then may provide you an easier sleep, if you get what I mean...*wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Anonymous said...

"that's life"
That's NOT life, that's chinese water torture.
What a farce.

Anonymous said...

What an experience for you. I doubt that anyone could sleep in that situation without the aid of meds.

Karen at Stiletto

Val said...

Shit. And I need to go downstairs & have "The Talk" w/MY P! The one that describes how HE needs to schedule an appt w/the sleep clinic or we will have to go to separate bedrooms...