Friday, September 19, 2003

Sleep Test

I've completed the latest study ordered by the doctors pursuing the cause of my dizziness. They're trying to rule out sleep apnea. So I had to drive down to Denver (I've been downtown so many times these past three weeks) and pick up a sleep test "kit". And I had to suffer a video explaining what sleep apnea is and treatments and blah blah blah. And then I had to be taught how to rig the silly contraption for the study.

So I dutifully went about wiring myself last night just before I went to bed. The worst part was the slack they give you on the wires. It's supposed to be helpful, but I have to move around a bit as I try to fall asleep. The excess wirage complicated this. And then there was the Constricting Black Band of Death. I had to strap that sucker up around my chest tight enough so it could measure my breaths. Not fun. But how could I forget the Nose Harness? To measure air pressure in my nostrils, I had to hook up some plastic tubing in my nose, around my ears, under my chin, and extra slack winding down into a recording device (which, by the way, was velcroed to the Less Constricting But Still Uncomfortable Blue Band of Annoyance around my tummy). To keep the nostril tubage secure, I had to tape it to my face. Mark was damn near asleep if he wasn't snoring already, so I had to manage the tape myself. And I was too stubborn to get up and look at what I was doing in a mirror. Which meant I had a little flap of tape way too close to my lips all night. One last thing: you know those pulse monitor clothes line pin thingies that go over your index finger? I had to jerry-rig one with tape over my index finger (this resulted in more excess wirage floating around under the covers before it entered the recording device).

Then I had to manage to fall asleep. It took two and a half hours, but I finally did drift off. Ended up getting about six and a half hours of sleep (including snooze time). I was very happy to take the stuff off. I was less than thrilled to see that the nostril tubage had left imprints on my face. And last on the list for this study was to drive the kit back down to Denver, where someone will dutifully analyze everything and file the information away. I think a specialist might look at it a day or two before my next appointment, which is a month away. Instant gratification this is not. If they find something that indicates sleep apnea, they'll set me up for a Full Out Torture Session, I mean Sleep Study. My mom just went through this a few days, um, nights ago. It doesn't sound pleasant.

But if this is what it takes to get rid of my dizziness, I'll gladly sacrifice a night's comfortable sleep for it.

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