Posted by: bree1972 | December 14, 2010

To sleep, perchance to . . . sleep 12/15/2010

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 . . . .

Santa Bear

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Responses

  1. Oh Brenda, you better do whatever that internist says to do! Didn’t know this was still happening, so glad you mentioned it to him. Hopefully it will just be a mild case and not something more. Keeping my fingers crossed!
    Santa Bear, you are ADORABLE! You can come to my house anytime. 🙂

  2. I can only agree with Hilde on this subject. My oldest son most likly had sleep apnea but at that point it was not discussed as it is today. Sadly he passed away from heart problems most likely caused by sleep apnea. He was only 34 at the time of his death. I have become a pusher of getting to the doctor if you have even a hint you might have sleep apnea. So please, Brenda, do whatever it takes to help yourself. I know your family wants you with them for a long time.

    Bear, you could be my Santa any time.

  3. Sorry to hear of your health problems. Sleep apnea is not the end of the world though. My husband has heart problems and sleep apnea is part of it. Do what the doctors say and you will be fine. Know that we all love you and don’t want anything to happen to you. You are in my prayers.

    • Thank you Maryellen, and Hilde, and Charlotte. I know I’m making light of a serious problem. Trying to not worry about it too much until I know what it is exactly I’m worrying about. Love you all.

  4. Listen to your friends Brenda! My mom’s friend, John, has sleep apnea and has to used a breathing machine every night. They have made tremendous advances with those machines and are not as bad as one might think. It has made a huge difference in his life. Please, please, please listen to your doctor….we ALL want you around for a long, long time!

    Oh, Bear! There aren’t enough words to describe how adorable you are!

  5. I have the same problem only Blair calls them naps…

  6. I have obstructive sleep apnea and sleep with a cpap machine. I want to reassure you the sleep test will not be as bad as you imagine just awkward. I to looked at the apnea machine and mask and thought how the heck am I going to do this. My neurologist made a deal with me. Use it regularly for one week. Really give it a chance and see how you feel. She said people with apnea who have suffered with symptoms for a long time, even if they did not realize it was that bad, feel so much better after sleeping with the machine they will never try to sleep without it again. So I bit the bullet and gave it a try. A real try 8 solid hours with it on and not giving up and removing it during the night. Miracles of miracles I felt wonderful the first morning after sleeping with the mask and machine. I was energized even perky. My mood even changed. I felt so much better. I did not even realize how badly the sleep apnea had made me feel until after I had a well rested sleep. It has been two years now sleeping with the machine and I will tell you I will not sleep without it on. Once or twice due to a power failure in my area I slept briefly without it. All the symptoms were there again and just reaffirmed how much cpap helps. If they recommend a cpap machine for you do what my neurologist suggested. Give it one solid week and see how you feel. You made find as I did just how important restful sleep really is. One thing—if Maddie and Bear are chewers make sure you put your mask and tubing in a drawer or up where they can’t get to it. The first mask I had was destroyed by my chewing Lhasa Apso Sugar. A $130 chew toy. When I had to get it replaced the girl at the equipment company said this happens a lot with people who have dogs. The soft plastic smells like you so your dog loves it.

  7. I am so glad you are finally getting this checked into. You are too young to be napping like the Frog and me. You will have more energy (truly a terrifying thought) and can sleep when you want to instead of catching 40 winks while going over your neighbors hedge. This can only get better. Merry, merry to all and a special hug for SantaBear.

  8. Have you ever tried using a Breathe Right Nasal Strip at night? It might help a little.

    You don’t have to be overweight to have sleep apnea. If your throat is narrow, that could be the culprit. That’s my mom’s problem.

    I have friends who swear by their CPAP machines. They truly are lifesavers.

    Other causes of sleep disruption, such as restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder, can be treated with medication. Your sleep test will analyze all that stuff.

  9. Do they give the tests buy one, get one free? If so, I’ll go with you. Sleepless at the rivah.

  10. Good luck with your testing after Christmas. Then your doctor will know what is best to proceed with.
    I love the Santa Bear picture!
    Happy Thursday!!

  11. I’m glad you’re getting it checked out. It could save your life!

  12. Many good things can come to those who use a CPAP machine. I will admit that it did take me awhile to get used to it, but you will be surprised at how good it feels to really sleep. I had some physical symptoms that I did not associate with not sleeping well. According to the sleep doctor, those were also indications of sleep apnea. Examples: acid reflux at night and frequent trips to the bathroom.

  13. Sorry to hear that you have this difficulty, but grateful that there are solid solutions to it! Just be your truly gracious self and try what the doctors recommend. Think how much younger you’ll look after several nights of good, restful sleep!! 🙂

    On another note, your Santa Bear is absolutely adorable! But then, you know that. Looks like he’s saying, “You OK, Mom? Need a hug?”

  14. Good Luck on your sleep test, the hardest part will be trying to sleep! If the room is too hot or too cold, let them know and bringing your own pillow can help. Don’t worry, if you can sleep w/ a man and 2 dogs-you’ll be able to sleep w/ a CPAP machine. At Halloween you looked great as a witchy gypsy clown -you’ll look just as good dressed like an alien on oxygen! All your readers will be praying for you!

    Just love Santa Bear and Sweet Maddie in her Sweater! Always enjoy hearing about them and Maddie waiting on Ted out kayaking was priceless!


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