“Do you snore?”
I laughed. Well… yeah… you could say that. I was in the doctor’s office for my regular check-up courtesy of my friend, Hypertension. This was back when I had the enlarged uvula. Love saying that word. Sounds dirty.
So I was referred off to the people who do the sleep test stuff. It took a week or so before they started to call. Because my phone rings off the hook with people looking for money, I rarely answer, unless it’s someone I know on the call display. Even that’s not always a guarantee. (Yes, you know who you are.) I like to change my answering machine message frequently to keep things from becoming stale. This particular time, I had a very long-winded message targeting the phone beggars, which basically said that if you were someone I knew, or someone I’d like to know, please feel free to leave a message and I’ll see what I can do. If you’re one of the very many people looking for a handout, please don’t bother leaving a message and I won’t bother to call you back. Well, the poor lady from the sleep study must not have been expecting that, because her message started off with her trying to stop laughing, and then going on to explain who she was and that I could call her back.
So I did. But not before her partner also called my number to listen to the message.
I ended up speaking to her a couple of times before I was able to figure out exactly when I would be able to stop by and get the little machine that would attach to my finger while I slept, and supposedly record a whole bunch of stuff. (Not my dreams, please not my dreams.) She seemed quite friendly over the phone, so I was looking forward to meeting her in person.
The day that I stopped into her office, I looked like crap. I had been up all night, and had to work that night. It was actually a very warm day. As I was walking toward her office, I looked at the company sign.
I stopped suddenly and did a double-take. CRAP? Oh… CPAP. I had no idea what this was, but it sounded better than CRAP.
When I walked into the office, she was talking on the phone. I waited for a few minutes and looked around. When she hung up, and I told her that I was there for an appointment and told her that I wondered what kind of place I was coming into that did CRAP testing. She laughed. Oh, did I mention that she was quite an attractive lady? Older than myself. Wearing a really nice business suit. (I’m a sucker for that) Obviously took very good care of herself. It wasn’t hard to talk to her at all.
She explained how the monitor worked, and then came over to show me how it worked. She took my hand and placed the little clip on my finger and told me to relax. When she turned it on, she looked at the numbers and said “Hmm… your heart rate’s a little high…”
“No doubt” was all I could think of. Then she smiled and took the clip off and told me to try it when I got off work, and to fill out the survey papers before and after sleeping. There was a section there for a “sleep partner” to fill out. I said “Does the cat count?” She laughed and crossed out that page.
I contemplated telling the guys at work that I had to sleep during my night shift. Doctor’s orders. But I knew that they’d just tease me. “Oh, and this is different HOW?” or something like that.
The next day I went back to my old stomping ground, and slept on the couch. That should screw up the test right off the bat. I had a miserable sleep. 4.5 hours, is what I recorded, although sleeping during the day doesn’t give me nearly the same amount of rest as sleeping comparable hours at night. At one point, I woke up and realized that the clip had fallen off my finger. Great. I put it back on and went back to sleep.
I took the machine back into her office and told her that I didn’t know if the results would be good enough to send to the lab. They send the machine back to a sleep lab somewhere to be interpreted, but she can hook it up to her computer to make sure that the data is at least usable before sending it off. She showed me the graph.
It was actually kinda interesting. It showed at what point I actually fell asleep. It showed that clip came off, and that only 6 minutes had passed before I put it back on, so that was a little surprising. That was good, though. It didn’t muck up the results.
And most important of all, it showed a huge loss of oxygen at the point when I fell asleep. Apparently for a healthy male (I shook my head) my oxygen level should be in the high 90s while sleeping. Mine dropped off into the 70s. (Sounds kinda like my marks after high school) So there’s definitely a blockage of some sort. Yippee.
The company will analyze the data and send their results to my doctor. I have an appointment next month, so I can be sure that she will have all sorts of options for me. Everything from cutting me opened and re-shaping my air passages, to wearing a freaky little mask at night to improve oxygen flow. (Apparently that’s what the CPAP is). None of those sound like very much fun, so unless I’m going to die from this, I think I’ll pass.
But it was an interesting exercise.[I never did bother getting the CPAP…]