Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sleep Study, Part the First

I've been busy taking care of some health care related stuff recently, so I was pleased that I was about to be finally free and clear of doctors for the foreseeable future. I was about to leave my doc's office when he said, "One more thing. You need to get a sleep test."

"I already know how to sleep. You don't have to test me. SRSLY," I said.

"No, no, no," he said. "We need to test you for sleep apnea."

"Sleep apnea? But why?"

"Because you're old, fat and your family says you snore."

"They lie."

"You're avoiding the question."

"How about them Tigers?"

"So let's say next Tuesday? Be there at 8:00 PM.

Fortunately for me there was a sleep testing facility a mere five minutes away from my home. Unfortunately for me, my insurance company wouldn't pay for that one. Instead, they made me drive the 50 miles into Detroit, dodging bullets all the way, so I could try to fall asleep in one of their aging hospitals.

Somehow, I managed to find the hospital along with the last parking spot in their lot, which was about three time zones from the lobby. I still managed to report in by the appointed time. And it's a good thing I did, because I only had to wait an hour for them to get to me. Having dealt with too many hospitals in my life already, I had been prepared for the wait. I'd brought my book with me in order to pass the time. And of course it sat there on the front seat of my car, three time zones away, where I had forgotten it.

They finally put me in a room, where they let me wait another hour. Eventually, the technician came for me.

"Put on your PJs and meet me in the exam room next door," she said. "We've got to get you wired up."

If you check out the picture of the freaky looking guy at the beginning of this post (who is not me, BTW), you'll see what they meant by wiring. She stuck wires on my head, my chest, on my neck, behind my ears and on my lower legs. There were two straps around my upper body, and what felt like a thirty pound millstone-like machine hung around my neck, into which ran all the wires. She even wired a little microphone by my throat and topped it all off by shoving probes up my nose. Then she taped everything down. Tape. You know. That stuff that gives you a Brazilian wax job when you eventually remove it.

Anyhow, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror. I had more wires coming out of my head than Brent Spiner when he played Commander Data on Star Trek Next Gen. And I was starting to feel like John Coffey in the Green Mile. I swear, if that woman started praying over me or tried to stick a wet sponge on top of my head I was so out of there.

So she led me back to my room, rolled down the bed covers and I hopped in.

"Lay back and get comfortable," she said.

Right, I thought.

"You'll be hearing me on the speaker in a few minutes while we check out your connections. Do you have any questions?"

"Yes I do," I said. "What if I have to use the rest room in the middle of the night?"

"Just say something and I'll come in and disconnect you. I'll be watching you all night so you have nothing to worry about."

Great. She'd be playing Edward to my Bella.

By this time it was already an hour past my normal bed time, and though I normally fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow, this night it took over a half hour. So naturally it didn't bother me at all when she came into the room and adjusted my wires three times during the middle of the night.

I won't belabor you with the horror story of my trying to sleep that night. Suffice it to say there wasn't much sleep, but apparently there was enough of it for them to collect their data. The tech woke me up about 6:30 and removed the wires, tape and most of my body hair. Then she started in on the questionnaire:

Do you feel rested? Sure. Never better.

Are you more tired than normal or less tired than normal? How about them Tigers?

Did you dream? Yes. I dreamed there was this angelic voice booming from the High Heavens telling me, "Do not lie on your stomach."

And then they let me go.

I made it home, showered, washed the gunk out of my hair and tried without success to scrape the tape residue off my various body parts. Just as I was getting ready to head into work, I got a call from the hospital. It was the resident doc who had just reviewed my results.

"Haggis," she said. "Sleep apnea. You haz it."

Great. So now I have to schedule a second test wherein they blow air up my nose in an attempt to help me breathe better while I'm asleep. This should be fun. I sense another blog post in the making, don't you?


  1. You have my sympathy.

  2. HAH!

    Mine is tomorrow night. It's a conspiracy. Or maybe it's like jury duty. If you don't register to vote they'll skip you.

    I think the wires are just to suck info out of your brain. I'll fix them. I'm going to show up stupid.

    I hope you slept well. They make it so natural, don't they? :D

  3. Thank you, Lori. Me and my formerly hairy legs appreciate it.

  4. Jay,

    Sleep well, my friend. We'll have to compare notes after you're done.

  5. I wanna laugh - can I laugh? Pretty please?

    See, a few months ago, my annoying biatch of a doctor was staring at me during this exam for an unrelated issue and suddenly blurts out "You know, we should test you for sleep apnea."

    Knowing exactly what that was (damn you, medical degree) I said "No way, Jose." even though her name is Elise. So she sends me home with orders to tell my sister to keep an eye on me the next time she finds me sleeping, and see if I stop breathing. Seems I have this small mouth and "thick" neck (bitch)and slight high blood pressure, and like most humans, I snore - proof positive in her world that I probably have sleep apnea.

    Thankfully after my sister swore she'd watched me and sure enough, I was just fine - I convinced the doctor of the same. For crap's sake, just because a bird is blue, doesn't make it a blue bird, yanno?

    So I skated. Thank dog! Because, well . . . good luck sleeping with that scuba gear, puppy :D

  6. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. You'll get yours some day. Maybe.

    I still haven't called to set up Test the Second, but I suppose if I don't my daughter the nurse will be on my case. My other daughter the medical social worker pushed me into agreeing to the test in the first place. I knew I should have had puppies instead of kids.

  7. LOL! That is a funny story. I love that you parked three time zones away. Hilarious, even the Brazilian wax job.

  8. Well, I'm back. When they said sleep study, I thought, ya know, study in your Edgar Cayce. I didn't know I was going into a den of perverts. They had cameras on the ceiling, for Dog sakes! Now I'll be all over the interwebs. Not only...they snuck into my room while I was sleeping. I mean, after the massage girl I just didn't have the energy, ya know?

    Another thing...they have no idea how to stock a wet bar. Plenty of booze but not one chocolate dipped stir stick.

    I see what you mean Haggis. It was nearly unbearable.

  9. Thanks, Bea.

    One good thing about all of this--an unintended consequence, if you will--is that now a have a nice, clean bikini line. ;)

  10. Jay, that whole camera thing I almost forgot about. They told me that they destroy the video the morning later in the day. What I should have asked them is, "if you're going to destroy it, why take the video in the first place?"

    *searches for*

  11. It's the Disease du Jour. Ol' Boy had his diagnosis four years ago - but they did both the sleep test and the air-in-the-nose-blowing on the same night. Looks like they've found a way to make more money by doubling the hospital time as well as the P.I.T.A. Factor. But... do it. Ol' Boy feels 1000% better than he did and doesn't fall asleep in the middle of the day anymore.

  12. But...but I like falling asleep in the middle of the day. :(

  13. LOL! Bella... Time Zones... body wax. You're an effing hoot. Unfortunately, I think doctors are getting kick backs from this sleep apnea thing. EVERYONE FREAKING has it these days. Hubby now has that machine. When he overnights at Elks stuff - 90% of them have it now too. Like unruly kids & "there's a pill for that now." People are no longer allowed to snore. "You have sleep apnea". I'm still not sharing a room with him. ;)

  14. Spanks, Bugster. :)

    You know I still haven't figured out what irreparable harm would come to me if I did not do the follow up test and buy the scuba sleeping gear. Do you supposeI might snore myself to death?


  15. I agree with bugster. What? You pass 50 and you need to hook up to a machine to sleep? We know several people (occasional houseguests) who have the things. I spin like a top all night and would wake up trussed like a chicken for the oven.