September 13, 2018
4 min 30 sec
Have you ever had trouble falling asleep?
Have you ever gone days or even weeks without a refreshing, recharging sleep?
That was the beginning of Part One.
I regaled you with the tale of how I stripped the paint from the inside of our porch.
Oh that's right.
I ended up in the hospital needing a quadruple bypass!
So Here the real story begins.
This is where this blog begins: Sleep Soundly My Friend
We will look at what is causing us to lose sleep.
What the lack of sleep means to our lives our health.
They told me I woke up frequently during the night. What?
The nurses that cared for me after the surgeons ripped my chest apart.
They were kind enough to hook it back up with some surgical wire. It shows up nice and bright in X-Rays.
They were concerned enough that they scheduled me for a sleep study for a time after my convalescence.
But while in the hospital they diagnosed my legs with a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome.
Is this going to end? Every day another defect was discussed.
In 1997 there wasn't much known regarding this condition and worse, there wasn't much really effective medications to help in managing it.
The Sleep Study Test was not painful. A bit aggravating yes.
I think it was around 10PM in an evening I drove to the hospital.
I checked in at the Nurse's Station for the Sleep Study section of the hospital.
I was really glad that there was nothing I had to prepare for or study to take the test.
Shortly they had me sitting in a chair hooking up wire to me. These wires seemed almost as many as I had in Heart Surgery.
They assigned me a room and told me to go to sleep.
A strange bed, a strange room, but not a strange pillow. I learned from my hospital stay, bring the pillow that is familiar to you.
And a jumble of wires sticking out of my head and on my chest.
Did I mention that I have a am blessed with a large quantiy of chest hair?
Good luck with the sticky pads attached everywhere! Looking forward for them to remove them...
I dozed off because they woke me and hooked me up with a mask over my nose and mouth.
There was a machine that pumped air into the mask. Very strange sensation.
Later I was awakened again. This time it was morning!
The nurse asked me if I was refreshed.
That stopped me like a thunderbolt.
I had not felt so good after spending a night laying in bed...in forever
And it was only four hours of great sleep!
During the sleep study, they discovered I stopped breathing 90 times an hour!
Sleep apnea specifically obstructive sleep apneas was my curse.
They asked if I wanted a machine and a mask similar to the won they attached to my face.
Absolutely! How fast can I get it?
I learned it was a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine.
I ran to the Medical Equipment store with the prescription the doctor had written.
I begged to get one RIGHT NOW!
They had one in stock and the respiratory therapist showed me how to use it.
The first night was a struggle to figure out the contraption and how to fit the mask to my face.
Then I had to decide if I wanted the air to come out full blast or 'ramp it up'.
I set it at full blast and never looked back.
Finding a way to put my head on the pillow with the mask on. That took some getting used to.
The next morning I woke up.
I felt like I had just drunk the nectar of the gods (I was hung up on Greek Mythology at the time)
Boy I felt like a new person. I don't think I had ever slept that well.
So I was now on a CPAP machine (my wife had to start wearing ear plugs to block out the hum of the machine) and I had been given medicine to control my legs kicking around all night.
There were only a few medications at the time to control that flailing around. They weren't too pleasant but they worked.
My doctor and I settled on clonazepam (Klonipin). It worked the best but I came with its own issues. I had to switch to another drug several times a year to let the clonazepam get out of my system.
The body got used to it and was ineffective. The fill in medicines were not very effective but I had no choice.
At a point in my life I qualified for healthcare from the VA (Veterans Administration).
At an appointment at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis the doctor prescribed 'Ropinerole' - generic 'Requip'. That worked wonders to help get to sleep and stay asleep.
I found out it too had issues of its own.
If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, help is available.
Check with your doctor. Ask to take a Sleep Study.
If possible please use it. You deserve to have a much more comfortable life.
Don't worry about the cost of the CPAP machine. Insurance will cover the cost. I don't know the current cost but in 1997 it was about $1,500.
Even when I didn't have insurance, I found a supplier on the internet that supplied me the supplies (filters and masks primarily) for a very reasonable cost per month (less than $10 a month).
By whatever means possible get the Sleep Study.
You will then have a diagonsis on why you can't sleep and tired all day long.
You have started on the road to enjoy life as intended.
I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
I have heard that some people, usually men, don't use a CPAP machine because they don't like it.
I have rarely heard such a cockamamie line.
To not sleep when there is a cure baffles me.
Some people say it takes time to get used to the machine blowing air down your throat.
I can understand that.
There are many times my dry mouth is really irrated. There is now a mouthwash that can be used to manage that also.
The dry mouth also has a nasty effect on your teeth.
That is the one thing I would like a do-over.
A dry mouth leads to rapidly growing bacteria.
I didn't have an issue once the Restless Legs were under control.
I have linked to an article from the Mayo Clinic on tips for avoiding the 10 most common problems you may encounter using a CPAP machine.
The issues range from the noise that might irrate your sleeping partner.
The new machines are much quieter but my wife still wears ear plugs.
Some issues are due to the mask itself.
It may not be the correct size or it may have a leak along the edges.
You will overcome these with practice and patience.
Then there a pyschological issues. Such as feelings of claustrophobia.
You might notice difficulty tolerating the forced air.
The article above encourages you: "Time and Patience are the Keys. CPAP can positively affect the quality of your life and health".
I hope you join me in using the blog to explore the issues of sleep/no sleep.
How it negatively affects your health and so much more.
Thanks for stopping.