Monday, November 15, 2010

Sleep Study

It seemed like an ordinary hotel room. It was small and simple, adorned with the basics—a bed with crisp white linens, dresser, TV. I lay in the unfamiliar bed, my struggle to sleep complicated by the series of wires that were attached to various parts of my body and connected to a machine that would monitor my vitals. I couldn't help but notice the faint glow of the video camera mounted to the ceiling of the room, an unsettling reminder that somebody would be watching my every nocturnal movement. As the clock slowly ticked, I knew that I was very far away from sleep.

I was doing this as a last ditch attempt to save my marriage. Okay, that may be a bit drastic. But I need to find a solution to my problem for myself and the woman who shares my bed...most of the time.

You see, I snore.

Loudly. Obnoxiously. Incessantly.

I awaken every morning groggy, confused. I feel heavy, as if a wet blanket is holding me down. I always look next to me to see if my wife is still sleeping, or if my sonic bellowing has chased her from the bedroom to the couch. Those mornings leave me feeling guilty and helpless. WonderWife™ seems to take this all in stride, but often says that if we had the means, we would have separate bedrooms. This, along with the fact that I am prone to wake myself up with my snoring, bothers me to my core. Her attitude is great, but I’m secretly afraid that another 10 years of her being constantly chased out of her bedroom will start to cause untold damage on our relationship.

This is why long after the sun went down one night, I drove to a medical building in order to be hooked up to medical equipment machinery and sleep in a foreign room while being watched all night. The sleep study will show if I have sleep apnea—a potentially dangerous condition where one stops breathing periodically during sleep. I'm not a medically trained professional, but I'm confident that not being able to breathe rates pretty high on the list of things that are bad for you.

If I have apnea there are a few treatments available—none of them pleasant. They include wearing some sort of oxygen mask every night or a surgery where they would slice my soft palate and remove a part of my uvula, which not only has the distinction of being incredibly painful but has only a 50-50 chance of working. If I don’t have apnea, these options are still available to me, but not covered by insurance, meaning it would probably be cheaper for me to buy that extra bedroom for my house than it would to pay for any treatments out of pocket.

The sleep study is a last ditch attempt to find a snoring solution. Not to be too glass is half empty, but I’m confident that I don’t have apnea. A sleep study years ago showed that I didn’t have apnea. I don't think much has changed.

I slept fitfully through that night and woke up groggy and confused as usual when the technician rousted me at 5am to remove the wires from my body. It will be about two weeks before I learn if there’s anything that can be done to give everyone in my house more peaceful sleep. At this point, I’m willing to try just about anything.


That One Mom said...

My kids' godfather was diagnosed with sleep apnea a few years ago, not that the diagnosis does any good. His oxygen mask sits mostly unused at the side of the bed. He still sleeps poorly and naps throughout the day.

Eric said...

... or you can get a California King sized bed.. Sometimes I don't even know the wife is in bed unless I notice the faint smell of lotion.

Your escalator operator said...

1) Interesting. Looking forward to what you find out.

2) It's only quasi-related, but if it helps at all, maybe a good time to note that the "things that rule" tag outnumbers the "things that suck" on your blog.

ZenMom said...

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in my teens and had a lovely ENT specialist remove my adenoids. Best. Thing. Ever.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you (both)!

Whatever it is, I hope you find a solution that works for you.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

One Mom...I promise you that if I had the mask and it helped, I'd wear mine.

Eric...We've discussed this. We're on the verge.

YEO...Let's hope "things that rule" always outnumbers "suck".

Zen...Had my adenoids out when I was a kid. So unfortunately, not the cause.

Will keep you all posted.

... said...

But adenoids regrow. My kid had his out twice. Or else my ENT is laughing at me from his gold plated bathroom.

SciFi Dad said...

I snore too, but found that sleeping in a different position than my default (for me, it's sitting up like in a hospital bed) means I sleep better and I don't snore as much (or at all).

Daddy Geek Boy said...

... ...Either way, if it's a surgical solution and I don't have apnea, it's out of pocket for me cause insurance won't cover it. So it's either put my kids through college or pay for surgery.

SciFi...Yeah, they tell you to sew a tennis ball into your shirt to keep you from sleeping on your back. Trouble is that WonderWife™ reports that I snore no matter what position I'm in. (I'm not making this easy, huh?)

ZenMom said...

Well, long as we're all playing Web MD ... I also had a deviated septum that my favorite ENT fixed that was a contributing factor to my snoring as well. (My Dad still joshingly refers to this as my "nose job".) Just FYI.

May I also throw out an "other side of the problem" suggestion? Can WW stand to wear ear plugs or sleep headphones? I can't wear those things myself - but I know people who swear they saved their marriage.

Feels odd to be wishing that you have apnea, but, as you said, sure would make things easier to have things diagnosable and treatable.

Still thinking good thoughts for you. :)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Zen...I had the deviated septum fixed when I was 15. That was the first attempt to fix my snoring. Didn't work.

And yes, WW™ has tried ear plugs. They worked for a while, but have since stopped being as effective. The white noise machine we sleep with is also no longer effective.

I've tried the Breathe Right strips. I've tried the sprays. I've even tried the bogus ring that is supposed to hit your pressure point to make you stop. I've tried pillows. I've tried training myself to sleep in other positions. Nothing works.

If I do have apnea this time around, at least there's a cause and potential solutions.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Lori said...

I just read something the other day that said singing 20 minutes before bedtime can help reduce snoring. It didn't get into details, but I imagine it firms up the vocal chords and such. Since slack muscles are a big contributor to snoring, it seems like it could help.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Lori...Thanks for that, but obviously you've never heard me do karaoke.