Friday, October 12, 2007

"Don't worry, I won't take it as an official diagnosis."

As I previously mentioned, it has been speculated by more than one person that I have The Apnea. Begrudgingly I went to my doctor who then referred me to a sleep clinic in Hells Kitchen. So on Wednesday night, carrying my overnight bag, Ms. K escorted me to the clinic for my overnight stay.

Not knowing what to expect, I was a little nervous. Would the clinic be this grim laboratory like place, all linoleum and florescent lights, that I was expected to sleep in? The reality was more like a hotel that happened to have a doctors office in it. The staff was super nice and answered all my questions as they put electrodes onto my scalp, strapped my chest with a monitor, and stuck EKGs to me. On my right index finger they slid another device to monitor my blood oxygen levels via a laser.

I had my technician take pictures.

The room they had me in was austere but clean. The bed firm but comfortable. Dressed in my pyjammas, my technician helped me into bed with the warning that if I stopped breathing during the night of my monitored sleep that she would wake me up to put a special mask on me to help correct it. Then she turned off the lights sometime around 10:30 pm.

Bed time! Except with cameras, lasers, tubes up my nose, and wires. Lots of wires.

Sure enough my technician woke me around 12:45 am or rather I woke up to discover her by my bed fiddling with the various devices there.

"Was I breathing?" I asked groggily.

"No, you weren't breathing." Her tone was sweet, as if to say awww, you weren't breathing.

Then came the Apnea Mask, a strange device that fits over the nose and hooks to a machine about the size of a VCR. A tube forces pressurized air into the nose via a plastic tube, the sensation of which can be likened to having a heavy fan blowing air into the nasal cavity. Sexy.

"Do you want me to take a picture of you with the mask on?" my technician asked helpfully.

"No, that's okay. I have a feeling I'll have one of my own soon enough."

It took me some time to get used to, but I eventually fell into a deep sleep after I figured out how to breathe -- deep enough that I didn't wake till my technician turned on the lights around 6:15 am. As I groggily sat on the bed, she unhooked the many wires and electrodes from my body.

"Thanks," I yawned. "Now I feel less like a robot. So what did you see last night?"

"I'm not supposed to tell you because I'm not a doctor, but --"

"Don't worry, I won't take it as an official diagnosis."

"-- you immediately fell into Stage 3 sleep, which meant to me that your body had been really craving that level of sleep. The first two hours before I put the mask on you weren't really breathing and the body couldn't get past the first two stages of REM sleep."

Poor poor body. Not getting the sleep that it needs. Apparently I'll get my official results in 7 days.


EnnuiHerself said...

As I recall from my psych classes (minimum of 8 years ago) not entering stage 5 sleep (REM) is a BIG problem. Affects function, memory, and overall health, I believe. Mark my words, you will become a super genius once you start getting proper rest.

I give Ms. K a hearty "well done!" for getting you to a clinic.

Anonymous said...

The Flounder also has the Apnea! On the upside the cpap machine drowns out the snoring.


Ms. Avarice said...

I'm so jealous! I want one!
And I have a picture of a "post no bills" sign that I found on Canal Street :) Will e-mail it to ya <3