I’ve heard reports that I stop breathing in my sleep. Although, I don’t notice any side effects and seem to have plenty of energy when it’s time to hike (I can’t always claim the same enthusiasm for meetings), I decided it was best to have it checked out. Last Friday, I reported for a sleep study at the Omega Sleep Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I wasn’t allowed to bring my laptop, but I was able to take my camera!
When I travel, one of the first questions I ask about accommodations is, “Do they have wireless [internet]?” It was even a question I asked about the boat for the Virgin Islands trip. I spend a solid portion of my life avoiding wires.
And suddenly, on Friday, a very different experience. I was covered in wires! I had two sensors for each eye to document eye movement. I had a number of electrodes on my scalp for EEG readings. Four sensors on my legs to see if I have restless leg syndrome. Two sensors on my jaw to see if I grind my teeth. Straps on my torso to record chest and stomach movement. A position monitor so they could be alerted if I turn over. A clip on one my fingers to keep track of my pulse. I had a snore mic taped to my neck and tubes up my noise to record airflow.
All of those wires were consolidated in one place. It was a Me Hub!
A few days earlier, as I sat on the back porch filling out paperwork, nine year old Tyrek asked me a question, “What happens if you can’t fall asleep?”
Huh. He had a good question. I grew slightly concerned the pressure to fall asleep would keep me awake. Those worries were for naught. I had a nice quiet evening in my fleece pajama bottoms and my toe socks reading Nalini Nadkarni’s Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees. Very, very relaxing. At eleven the sleep technician came by to turn off the lights in my room. She reported that within five minutes, I was asleep.
I did have another concern that Tyrek didn’t think about. What if I did this sleep study and this was not one of the nights I stopped breathing? What then? Do I have to pay for additional studies until it happens? That was also turned out to be an ungrounded worry. The sleep technician told me I went promptly into apnea.
When she woke me to tell me the news, I was relieved.
Sleep Technician: Victoria, I need to wake you because you have had multiple apnea episodes.
Vicky: Really?!? Oh, good!!!
In retrospect, perhaps I should not have sounded so delighted. : )
At that point the technician armed me with more accessories. I got hooked up to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine to keep my airway open. I went back to sleep and I’m told I breathed normally the rest of the night.
My doctors will be reviewing all the data and I’m sure I’ll hear more in the coming weeks. Till then, the sleep study was a pretty neat experience… and I appreciated the excuse to spend the evening laying around in toe socks reading about trees. 🙂