Saturday, March 24, 2007

A night with "Alice 4"

I flunked my sleep test…what a disappointment…I can’t even pass something as simple as sleeping. I have to go back for another night with that dreadful machine called Alice 4 and her trusty companion CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) on April 15th.

I didn’t flunk it because I couldn’t sleep, but because of the way I sleep, the quality of my sleep…or more specific the lack of oxygen I get while I sleep. This explains why I sometimes get irritable and lack energy during the day. And also answers the question that has been bothering me the most…the forgetfulness. Example: The respiratory therapist told me to put my jammies on and then sit in the chair, but I couldn’t remember if he said to call him when I was ready or that he would see me thru the video cameras sitting in the chair…So I hopped on over to the office in my jammies and told him I forgot what he told me to do after I got ready. He followed me back to my room and we played with CPAP and I practiced breathing with it on for a little while. Then he connected the wires and we played another game…”Simple Simon Says,” while he checked to see if all the connections worked and if I had any brain waves. Then I was off to sleep.

I had a wonderful action packed dream saving lives. I dreamt I was in medical school and doing my internship at a Naval hospital. I was quite good at my job and right before I woke up I was dancing in the arms of an Air force officer in full uniform, no doubt a doctor...and we were gliding across the dance floor like they do in “Dancing with the Stars” and Jimmy was cheerfully talking off to the side with the other officers and watching me dance. Then the therapist walked in, and woke me up. Was it already 6:00 a.m ? Wait a minute, I haven’t had any sleep!!! I wanna skip breakfast.

After a cold shower, because I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the fancy faucet, I ate breakfast and returned to my room for a nap…and this time without the wires.

This is the dreadful part of Alice 4…all the wires. I almost cancelled my appointment when my daughter told me of the gooey gel stuff they use to attach the electrodes in your hair with. The therapist took a total body picture of me all wired up, but it’s so awful looking that you’ll never see it. Please don’t try to use your imagination either, it’s not pretty.

Here’s a partial picture of me with the CPAP mask on. It was just a practice run to see if the mask & I got along.
During my mid-morning nap, the doctor came in to wake me with print-outs of squiggly lines, that looked like an EKG gone wild printed on two separate pages. He had a pamphlet in his hand entitled Understanding Sleep Apnea with a picture of a yawning woman on the front which he tossed to me and said, “Here’s a picture of you.”
He then proceeded to give me the results and told me that I had sleep apnea…that my brain woke up 24 times each hour, all night long and that my oxygen level was 70 (what he’d like it to be was 98-100) and that the amount of rest I got while sleeping was “0” zero, zilch, nada. He also said I had Restless Leg Syndrome during sleep and that I kicked like a mule all night until I was given the magic pill…then he showed me the part of the chart where the leg thrashing stopped completely. He told me that I would have to return for another night and this time, in addition to all the electrodes, I would be wearing the CPAP air mask all night long. Oh what fun!

Although this looks pretty harmless, this is what bothered me the most while sleeping. I didn’t realize that I roll my hands in a fist and tuck the left hand under my chin while I sleep. The bandage wouldn’t allow my finger to bend and this bothered me the most…not the wires.
And yes, I did get tripped up on the electrodes on my legs, right after the therapist put them on and, I accidentally yanked one of them off…
Unfortunately I couldn’t get the rest of them pulled off.

I thought I was covered with ring worms, but alas…it was only the mark of the electrodes and cleared up in a day or two. And Dion, my respiratory therapist bless his heart, saved me a bundle when he treated me to a FREE hair removal (like waxing but with tape instead) from my chin, cheeks & forehead. I had a few red blotches and a little rash on my chin, but that too cleared up.


jellyhead said...

Hey Sandy, sorry to hear you have sleep apnoea. The good thing is - once you get it treated, you will feel *so* much better. With oxygen levels of 70 all night, no wonder you've been feeling lethargic at times.

Your dream sounded like a fabulous one! I wish I could have such cinematic dreams, too!

Motherkitty said...

It must be genetic! Now I know what's wrong with your brother, including the restless leg syndrome. Maybe I should send him over for one of those sleep studies.

You are correct. The sleep study does sound horrific. I also would be covered by all those rashes and red spots because I'm allergic to all that tape, stickum, and electrodes. Have they prescribed a CPAP for you at home yet? My BIL has one and my sister says it's noisy at night and disturbs her sleep. Hope Jimmy can get used to it. He's such a patient man that I know he will totally understand. I also know that you will feel so much better once you start using the CPAP and get better rest at night.

TUFFENUF said...

Bless you for having to endure the sleep study. Sleeping in a strange place, hooked up with wires, people watching you. What an ordeal! Glad that you can get some help now, you will feel much better. Happy dreams to you!

Rachel said...

Jeepers Sandy, this sure does not sound like it was any fun at all, other than the dream you had! I don't think I could sleep with all that stuff hooked onto me unless they gave me a sleeping pill or until I was totally exhausted. Good luck with the next one. I hope they can get your oxygen back up to more normal ranges so you'll feel better!!


Tomas Dennis said...

I linked your new page to our Family Blog page. Sit in a chair and watch a lot of boring TV and you will get get plenty of rest.
Take Care Love Ya

Judy said...

DH has sleep apnea as well and it took him a while to get used to the mask, but he can definitely tell the difference when he forgets to wear it. The CPap he has isn't very noisy... it doesn't bother me, anyway. Good luck with it. I think you will be surprised how much better you feel.

PEA said...

Omigosh...and you have to go through this again? Ugh! At least, though, you were able to find out what goes on while you're wonder you don't feel rested during the day!! I have restless leg syndrome, as does my mom and two of my brothers so I'm guessing it's hereditary too. When I'm really overtired the one leg just jumps like crazy and keeps me awake. Thank you for sharing all these pictures...I had no idea what it all involved when you went for a sleep I know! lol You take care! xox

Susie said...

Well, I guess the good part is that they at least have a diagnosis. Now they can start to treat it and you'll feel better. Glad you had such a wonderful vivid dream to entertain you!!

Sandy said...

Thank you very much for all of your supported and sweet comments...You just don't know how much I appreciate all of you for stopping in to cheer me up.

So now you know why I'm so's the lack of oxygen to my brain.
(I know I'm repeating myself but, I mispelled oxygen and just couldn't leave the comment up there like that and had to come back and delete it).

love you guys

Val said...

Sandy, this has been one of the most interesting and informative posts I have ever read. I often wondered about these sleep studies I'd seen advertised on the university campus and elsewhere, now I know! But how can anyone even contemplate sleep, in addition to all the other stuff, with a mask on??

My mind is still reeling from all this, and thanks for opening our eyes (no pun intended!) to this particular procedure!

Tracey said...

Sandy, this is my first visit to your blog...and...WOW! I'm glad you've found out what's been happening. And I'm thankful you've posted about it. I'll need to do some more research...I've just been blaming menopause for so many of these same symptoms!

Peter said...

Hi Sandy, bad luck about the sleep apnea thing but at least it can be treated... good luck.

Kerri said...

I agree with Val, you've educated us as to what goes on during these sleep studies, and added some humor for our enjoyment :) I don't think I could possibly sleep through all that!
If you can be this lighthearted and sweet-natured on zero amount of rest, just think how adorable you'll be when you're all fixed up!
I hope you'll soon be having more of those exciting dreams and getting some real rest at the same time.
Look after yourself. xoxo

doubleknot said...

So sorry you have to go through the tests again but there is no gain without a little pain. I still don't see how you can sleep with all those wires and things hooked up to you. I was going to ask my pulmonary doctor about my snoring but don't know if I would be as brave as you if he wanted to hook me up to wires and things.