Tracks of a Wandering Mind

Poetry, stories and random thoughts from a wandering mind.

Something Different

Approximately eight weeks ago, I woke one morning to find my wife sitting on the edge of our bed, looking at me and crying. I had gone to bed early the night before and had been asleep when she came to bed. It is extremely rare that this ever happens as I am a night owl by nature. When I asked her what was wrong she told me that when she came to bed, she sat there and listened as I completely stopped breathing in my sleep, not once but several times. The Reader’s Digest version of this is that I saw my doctor and was diagnosed after a sleep study with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

I have since been placed on a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine for sleeping. I use a face mask at night, turn the machine on and go to sleep. It’s unhandy, uncomfortable and difficult to become accustomed but it has completely changed my life. Sleep Apnea is not a disease or condition you can point to and say, “Yes, that’s what it looks like. It’s insidious, causing damage over a long period of time and the signs and symptoms are vague at best, more easily related to ‘getting older’, ‘just out of shape’ or ‘working too hard’. I slept six to eight hours a night, every night so of course I got enough sleep. But I didn’t get the sleep my body and mind required. Sleep Apnea breaks the sleep cycle humans need and interrupts the important REM sleep every person requires. My sleep study showed that I stopped breathing an average of 25 times an hour, which effectively destroyed my sleep time.

Your doctor can help you take a simple questionnaire that can help determine if you are a candidate for a sleep study. This questionnaire can help detect something called Excessive Somnolence Disorder and is a high indicator for the possibility of Sleep Apnea. Being tired all the time, needing to take a nap during the day (or more than one), mood changes/irritability, inability to concentrate, nodding off while doing something (or zombie driving – i.e. how did I get here so fast), all are indicators that you should at least talk to your doctor.

Less than two weeks after using CPAP every night, my entire attitude has changed, remarkably. I wake immediately, I’m no longer tired during the day, my concentration has improved by a huge factor and I have become a LOT easier to live with, according to my wife. There have been far too many changes to document in a short space but suffice to say that even though CPAP can be difficult to become accustomed to, I would not give it up – period. The short version: if any of this might apply to you, go see your doctor. It might be the best thing you ever did. It was for me.

Advertisements

May 28, 2018 - Posted by | Random Musings

2 Comments »

  1. Everything with the stopping breathing was so scary. I sat there and listened to him and each time when I was about to shake him he would start breathing again. I told him I can’t go through this anymore. Thanks to our doctor I didn’t have to. She knew exactly what it was and how to fix it. The past two weeks have been a dream!! He is wide awake when he gets up, good mood and can actually have a conversation! If this sounds like you PLEASE check with your doctor…your wife or husband deserves the best you can give them.

    Comment by Janice | May 28, 2018 | Reply

  2. So glad Janice recognized you had a problem and you sought treatment. My husband, David, was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2014. Been using CPAP ever since. Life saver! Realize it’s a nuisance sleeping with the mask but, well worth the results. David lugs that oxygen machine with him every time we travel. Extending your life is MAJOR! Love you and want you around for a long time.

    Comment by Cindy Wert | May 28, 2018 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: