Diary of An Irish Woman

musings of an irish lady now living in America.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sleep Apnea sleepy time and Irish Tea

So I have Sleep Apnea. That's where you stop breathing at night, your brain wakes you up and so you don't actually get a really good sleep. I thought that I didn't have a sleep problem, I would fall asleep instantly the minute by head hit that pillow. I boasted I could sleep standing up ( and used to sleep even when I was skinny wee bus conductor sitting on the rail of the bus by tying my belt around the pole near the front of the bus... I could always fall asleep anywhere..

Turns out that being able to fall asleep wherever is actually a sign if Sleep Apnea. So is snoring but I don't really snore - turns out I have a tiny throat and my jaw comes back at night making space even smaller - that and being overweight its a straight KO..

Check yourself out for sleep apnea try the following questions Sleep Apnea Association
1. Are you a loud habitual snorer?
2. Do you feel groggy and tired upon awakening?
3. Are you sleep during waking hours and/or can you fall asleep quickly?
4. Are you overweight and/or large neck?
5. Have you ever been observed by someone or found yourself choking, gasping,
or holding your breath during sleep?

Yes to any of the above and you could have sleep apnea. Turns out that you have 12% increased chance of a heart attack with mild sleep apnea, 19% with moderate and 24% with severe. I have moderate and eager to get that to zero sleep apnea..

Found out that I had Sleep Apnea a few years ago, the feeling tired even though slept 10 hrs, tingling in hands & feet, vision problems, memory issues and even more than usual I became a klutz. I don't think I had a dish or glass left as I kept dropping them. So after first being mistaken for MS, the neuro doc finally sent me to a sleep study guy on a hunch that proved correct. Turns out I stopped breathing 165 times in 5 hrs, once up to 1 minute and 30 seconds. Good News is that a CPAP machine can help you with this and also turns out that I dream more than most folks, about 25-45% more so my brain is trying to squeeze in that REM sleep and processing in the shorter time that I do actually sleep.

The other thing that amazed me is that when I did use the machine for a few months even for the hour that I kept it on at night I started to lose weight. Turns out that its catch 22. You cant lose weight with sleep apnea as your body is not functioning properly during the day with the severe sleep deprivation and also excess weight makes sleep apnea worse. So I want a machine that I can use all night so I get the sleep that I'm supposed to get and help me in so so many ways.

Cause right now laws of physics aren't helping me -I eat less, move more and yet put on weight... Figure that one out Einstein. (Myself and Sisterchick have postulated that in a parallel universe somewhere we have twins who are getting skinner with the work we do in this universe. So every time they lose a pound I gain it, I diet and they see the results.. More later on a separate rant)

Unfortunately for me the CPAP machine doesn't work for me for several reasons.
1) you look like an elephant in bed with a big hose to your face (see pictures above), I had started to write about it before and ended up on a post about certain elephant characters from Sesame street.. See how easily distracted I am - just put something shiny in front of me and watch me look..
2) I did try the CPAP machine but trying to get mask comfortable was so hard, leaking air into your eyes, cant speak, cant read, cant wear my glasses and took me longer to sleep
3)This is the biggie - turns out that even when I sleep with it I take it off at night about 45 min into sleep as I cant get enough air and I don't remember doing so. (this is tied to your head with a mask of velcro so there's no this just fell off my face malaraky)

So kinda ignored it but lately coming back and kicking me in the arse so went back to sleep doc. We're going to try and do some new stuff and do a sleep test again Thursday night - which means I'll be fragged for Friday and ready to fall over. We'll try different masks to see if I can get one that's better. I'm thinking nasal pillows may work better (two hoses up your nose instead of a mask) or he said may have to do surgery. (of course I'm already thinking - wow if you break my jaw maybe I can lose weight... And get that chin I always wanted..)

Big thing is that he asked me to stop drinking Irish Tea after 3pm to get ready for the test. (There was no way I could go cold turkey)

He basically told me before that only thing keeping me up is my 4-8 cups of Irish tea (Lyons Irish tea but I will also drink Barrys - I'm a tea snob) a day. So Monday afternoon I went to decaf after 3pm(Roberts decaf Irish tea - which isn't half bad).

Tuesday I literally couldn't stay awake in the morning. I ended up having 4 cups of tea back to back Tuesday morning in an attempt to stay awake. I felt too drowsy to drive and thought - this is not good and stayed on tea for the day with diet caffeine heavy cokes. I'll have to go cold turkey Wednesday afternoon in prep for Thursday.

Also Thursday they are going to put a tube into my lungs through my nose so they can see how much I actually get air. The doc said I should be able to sleep with this up my nose and in my lung with a straight face.... This I gotta see. Link to Sleepapnea.org

Right now turns out only thing keeping me awake at the keyboard of life is Irish Tea so until they sort this mask thing out I'll keep my addiction well stocked.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger beckah said...

good luck, hope your sleep study goes well & they can find a good mask for you. just had mine this past sunday. evidently didn't have a single "episode" so back to the proverbial drawing board to figure out what's wrong with me.

cheers! beckah

At 1:33 PM, Blogger jazz bird said...

Hang in there, sisterchick. And, of course, call me if you need even the slightest thing.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Jack Hadin said...

Hang in there, sisterchick. And also, however, call me if you would like actually the slightest thing.


At 12:53 AM, Anonymous apu mridha said...

Very informative post. .:) enjoyed reading every bit of it ...

Thanks for sharing ..



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