For those of you who have followed this blog a while, you may remember that just before we left for the island last May, I had a little “incident” where I fell to sleep at the wheel about a mile from home. I ran off the road, went airborne after hitting a culvert, crashed through a major hedgerow, and took out a garbage can before waking up and getting myself stopped. I should have called my doctor and told him about that little “incident”, but I didn’t – too busy getting ready to go north. And, after all, I was 6 weeks out from major surgery and figured I was still just exhausted from that.
Over the summer, I continued to “nod off” anytime I got even remotely still, although on the island there were far fewer times when that actually happened. On Mackinac, I pretty much stay in constant motion. But – afternoon naps became a regular event instead of a “sometimes” thing.
When we came home this fall, and I began driving again, I immediately encountered the same problem – fighting to stay awake at the wheel if I drove into Albany or anywhere further than a mile or two from home. I finally found that a big cup of coffee about 30 minutes before driving anywhere kept me awake long enough to make it home. And yes, I know that’s not normal.
Last week I saw my internist for my regular 6-month checkup, and reluctantly mentioned my little “incident” in the car. To say he wasn’t pleased to have not been notified of this earlier is a pretty big understatement, and he began firing questions at me: 1) Do you snore? Only if I’m sleeping. 2) Do you wake up a lot at night? I sleep with a man and two dogs, what do you think? 3) Are you tired when you wake up? I sleep with a man and two dogs, what do you think? 4) Do you have headaches in the morning? Sometimes. 5) Do you fall asleep sitting in your car at an intersection? No 5) Are you cranky and moody? Same answer as 2 and 3. Anyway, you get my drift.
So. Sometime after Christmas I will check into the Sleep Apnea Testing Center in Albany and spend the night attached to electrodes and monitored by the sleep police. I’m told by above internist that a diagnosis of mild sleep apnea means a change in life-style i.e. lose weight, get more exercise, less caffeine, regular getting up and going to bed times, etc. A diagnosis of moderate to severe sleep apnea means the introduction of the dreaded CPAP machine. I went ahead and informed above internist that I was NOT going to bed at night dressed like an alien on oxygen. He gave me the evil eye and said we would discuss that after the test results are in.
More to come . . . .