Saturday, September 29, 2007


Saw my Sleep Doctor yesterday. (Doesn't that sound like something associated with a Sleep Number Bed? Or a mattress retailer or something?) Actually, he's probably a pulmonologist or something, since the medical nature of sleep apnea is about respiratory efficiency, and the health effects associated with chronic lack of oxygen.)

Anyway. I saw my doc yesterday to talk about how the sleep thing is going. I'm now on a fixed volume machine, which only shows how many hours it's been on--no detail. So the purpose of the appointment is to see if there was anything majorly wrong, I guess, since there didn't seem to be a lot else he could do at this point.

Every time I go in, I have to fill out a little questionnaire, about how likely I am to fall asleep in different situations: sitting in a car for an hour, reading a book, stopped at a stoplight. Stuff like that. And even though I'm not entirely sure I'm feeling a whole lot better, apparently my responses to those questions show improvement.

Well, sure, if you're going to go and actually LISTEN to what I SAY--what kind of evidence is that? Evaluating data over time. Examining subjective responses to a standard set of questions. That's SCIENTIFIC METHOD, that is. That's so unfair, because I can't just complain!

Well, actually, I can complain. If you can't complain, you're just not thinking hard enough, right? I am still (subjectively) not sleeping well because my current scuba sleep mask is NOT meant for side and stomach sleepers. Which I am. And when you have a tube riding on your upper lip, with small nozzles that rest against your nostrils, and an air tube that comes out the side of that same tube--and then you roll onto your side. . .you get a weird pressure on your nose, which kind of hurts, and also feels like maybe you aren't breathing.

Do I wake up refreshed? Well, I wake up with my neck muscles all tensed so that I can keep the mask from pushing my nose all over my face, which is hardly restful. It's almost even odds as to which is the worse--fighting the mask all night, or apnea.

So, I talked to (yet another) technician and told her my difficulties. Because the first one I had burned my skin. So this one pushes my nose around my face all night. Can you get cauliflower nose? So, after a couple of false starts, she gave me a third mask to try.

Structurally, it's the same as the first one, but made of a different material where it touches the skin. I wore it last night, and you know what? It was noticeably better. There was a short period where I thought it might cause the same problem with my skin, but then it stopped. And I slept all night! And I had dreams about. . .grocery shopping!

Okay, the dreams need work. But now there is guarded optimism about whether this might work.

(You know how optimism needs to be guarded. Otherwise the fans all rush in, trying to get autographs, and the paparazzi get completely unruly.)

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