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Living With Sleep Apnea

Published August 12, 2013 - 1 Comment

I’ve written about sleep apnea a few times.  If you’ve never read my posts about trialing the CPAP machine, or flirting with the respiratory tech… nah… just skip those!  🙂

What tends to be missing from these posts is an acknowledgement of how serious sleep apnea can be.  It increases your blood pressure (mine is very high, even on meds), it leaves you feeling unrested, and it’s pure hell on your sleeping partner.  I’ve been told forever that I snore.  (Snoring is not necessarily an indication of sleep apnea, but is usually present if you have obstructive sleep apnea (essentially a blockage of your air passage)).  But snoring is one thing… stopping breathing is quite another.  As much as I’ve read what happens with sleep apnea,  and I’ve seen the results of my sleep tests printed on a graph, nothing prepared me for what I recently experienced.

There’s a little app in the Apple App Store (and for Android) called Sleep Talk Recorder.  It sells for $0.99 and has sold over 1.5 million copies.  Yup.  You do the math.  This little app does one thing, and it does it very well.  From the time that you “arm it”, it counts down 30 mins, giving you time to fall asleep.  Then it listens.  The developers may have intended for it to be used by people who talk in their sleep and want to know what they’re saying… but when I read through the reviews I noticed that many people were using it to record their sleep apnea episodes.  Seemed like a good idea.  $0.99 is hard to overlook.

The first morning that I picked up my phone and played the recording, I was stunned.  Horrified, actually.  When someone tells you that you sound like a lawn mower trying to start, that’s fine.  But when you actually hear yourself gasping for breath in your sleep… and it’s not just periodically.. it’s continual.  The app visually depicts the noises that it records… which is scary… but even that is nothing compared to the audio.

So now what?  I guess that’s the million dollar question.  I don’t want to go the CPAP route again.  It’s expensive, and I kept removing the mask during my trial.  I’d go to sleep with it on nice and tight, but wake up in the morning with it laying on the floor.  That’s not good.  There are surgeries but I’m not too interested in them either.  I am going to take these recordings in for Dr Lisa to listen to… and I’m pretty sure that I know what she’ll tell me.

“Lose the weight, Stephen.  Seriously… lose the weight.  Now.”