Monday, January 19, 2009

Back from the Brink, Part 5...I have a nice head???

Continuing our review of why I was absent from posting on this blog for a couple of months, today we'll talk about the sleep study that I was forced to endure.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of a sleep study, today's post should be enlightening. Basically, you're wired up and they watch and monitor you while you sleep. As the name would imply, the one absolutely necessary component of a sleep study, would be that the patient actually go to sleep. They, ("they" being those people administering the sleep study), then put the patient in a situation where it is quite nearly impossible to sleep.

I was told to report to the "Sleep Center" at 9:00pm in the evening. Right there, I had my first problem with this whole thing. Being 44 years of age, and being what most people would consider to be an "Ole Fuddy-Duddy" in training, the only thing that I'm really interested in doing at 9:00pm at night, is sitting in my big leather recliner, (hereto after referred to as "The Man Chair"), watching TV, and getting ready for bed. The last thing I'm looking to be doing at 9:00pm, is leaving the house. The fact that I was leaving the house to, presumably, go sleep somewhere else, is the only thing that made it tolerable.

I arrived at the sleep center at the appointed hour, were I was met by the "sleep technician", (another made up title), and shown to my room for the night. It looked pretty much like any hotel room you've ever stayed at, except that the bathroom was down the hall. We'll discuss the bathroom situation in more detail in a few minutes, so just keep that in the back of your mind for now.

The "technician" then began the process of attaching no fewer than 2 dozen sensors to various spots on my body. These sensors are supposed to register movement, and what position I am sleeping in. The vast majority of these sensors were either attached to my scalp, or directly to my face, but they were also attached to my legs, arms and chest, as well. These sensors are literally glued to my skin and are connected to wires which run to a box on the night stand.

Once she was done with the sensors, she then had me put on two heart rate and breathing monitors. One around my chest, and the other around my stomach. For any of you who have ever worn a heart rate monitor while cycling, you are familiar with this type of device. Now just imagine that the heart rate monitor is on way too tight, and that you have a second one on around your stomach. Again, way too tight.

Now, with all those sensors glued on, and straps on around your chest and stomach, doesn't that sound like you're all ready for a good night's sleep?

The technician did say something that I really appreciated. She said, and I quote, "Mr Miller, you have a really nice head."

That's one of those odd compliments that you're really not sure how to respond to. Of course, the polite thing to say is "Thank you." But you also want to ask, "How so?" By what criteria would one judge a head by? Shape? Size? Texture? Taste? Smell? How does one go about comparing one head to another?

It did make me feel good that she felt I had a "nice head", simply because who would make a better judge of heads, than a "technician" at a sleep center? All she does, every working day of her life, is glue sensors to people's heads. If there's anyone qualified to judge the attributes and deficiencies of a person's head, it's this lady.

Now, getting back to the bathroom situation. At this point, I have 2 dozen wires running from various parts of my body, connected to a box next to the bed. Despite my love of a good night's sleep, I am now 44 years old, and the night's that I sleep straight through, are easily out numbered by those night's that I have to get up and make at least one trip to the restroom. At this point, the only question that I have for my "technician", is exactly how do I do that? She replies that I just call her on the intercom next to the bed, and tell her that I need to go. She will then come into the room, and help me carry the box the wires are connected to, down the hall, and into the bathroom. So basically, I have to call and ask for permission to go to the restroom.

So. I've pee'd, and I'm all wired up. All ready for a restful night's sleep. For all of the reason's that I've pointed out above, I figure if I get 30 minutes of actual sleep tonight, out of sheer exhaustion, it will be a miracle. Not the least of these reason's is that I am now informed that they really need me to sleep on my back. I haven't slept on my back in 35 years. This whole thing is a complete waste of time, because there's just no way I'm getting any sleep tonight.

The "technician" turns out the lights as she's leaving the room, and as she's closing the door, she has the nerve to say, "Nightie, night."

I'm laying there in the dark, and I swear, no fewer than five minutes had passed, when the nurse came back on the intercom, and said, "Please wake up Mr Miller. Your sleep study is now complete."

I told her that that wasn't funny, and that she's not making it any easier for me to sleep. To which she replied that it was now 5:30am, and that I had been asleep for six and a half hours. I immediately called her a liar, and looked at my watch. To my great surprise, it was indeed 5:30am.

I had really been asleep for over six hours. The only thing I can figure, is that as soon as the technician left they room, they immediately began pumping in some sort of sedative gas. While this would serve to meet the primary requirement of a sleep study, that being that the patient actually sleep, I don't think the results would be indicative of a typical night's sleep for me. However, I was assured that I had indeed fallen asleep all on my own.

She then removed the sensors, said that the doctor would review the results, and send his findings to my neurologist. I was now free to go.

This was amazing. This was actually the best night's sleep I had gotten in months. And all it took was gluing dozens of sensors to my head, face, and body, and preventing me from visiting the bathroom as I felt I needed.

Next post, we review the results.

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred

No comments: