Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To Sleep . . . Perchance to Dream . . .

So - spendy dental appliance . . .

One other tool that I have been using is an iPad app called SnoreLab.  As mentioned already, I don't really snore, but I breathe out quite loudly, with the occasional snuffly snorty snore.  This is actually a pretty cool app and I think it's relatively accurate.  It's at least interesting to see my score every night, which is usually anywhere from 28 to 50, but most often in the high 40s.

After working with the positional therapies, I realized that I apparently have to sleep on my back for REM sleep.  That meant either a CPAP or a dental appliance, and since I don't need the CPAP, the dental appliance won the draw.  A second visit to the special sleep dentist.  More measurements.  Multiple molds taken of my mouth.  Big money spent . . .

Because Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a medical diagnosis, my medical insurance covers it - and the dentist I went to is considered a preferred provider.  Still, my portion  of the device was in the high three figures.  Oh, joy . . .  But I ponied up the money on June 26th because I was so close to really sleeping again and this was really the only thing that would allow me to sleep on my back but still breath properly.  

My appliance was ready by the last week of July, and I went in on Wednesday, July 30th to pick it up and learn about how to wear it and how to care for it.  It was quite a lengthy process.  

What the appliance does is push my lower jaw forward to help keep my tongue from falling backwards and obstructing my airway.  The dentist said it was set for about halfway to where they eventually wanted to get my jaw while I'm sleeping.  This was our first disagreement.  I feel very strongly that if something works at 50%, there is no reason to move it further.  The dentist disagreed, but since I wasn't supposed to adjust it at all during the first week of wear, I figured we would have another discussion about it at some point.  Plus, I emailed my own doc about it - and he agreed with me and offered to speak to the dentist for me if necessary. 

Anyway - I left the office with a bag with all the molds and the appliance (which I have to bring with me every time I go there), and an exerciser to use every morning to force my jaw back into its normal position - this is important.  I had to wait a half an hour after removing the device, and then use the little exerciser (which is just a small little molded dealy of my natural bite), and clear instructions that if I developed a headache or an earache that required Advil, I was to call the office right away.  I toddled on home with a lighter wallet and dreams of dreaming again dancing in my head.  Oh - that's another symptom of chronic sleep deprivation - not dreaming.  I couldn't really remember the last time I dreamed.  Probably because I never was in REM sleep long enough to actually have a dream . . . 

Alrighty then . . . one of my personal jokes is that I often refer to myself as "a delicate flower."  This is funny because I'm kind of round, pretty tall, and really quite sturdy (you know, sturdy Irish stock :-) ).  So, in essence I crack this joke at my own expense - except that it's true.  I really am a delicate flower!  I'm extremely sensitive and I believe I have a much higher degree of cognizance of my body than most people do.  I'm very aware when something is "off" or out of balance in my body.

By Friday, August 1st, after only two nights, I had both a headache and an earache, so I rang the office and was advised that it was likely just my body taking a little time to get used to the device  . . .   I was to keep wearing it and call back if the pain didn't go away or if it got worse.  My SnoreLab score had been zero since starting with the appliance, so I knew it was working - and even though my head and ear hurt, I realized I was getting better sleep because I had begun to feel better and have more energy after only a few days!  Wow!

I made it four more nights, and rang the office again on Tuesday, August 5th.  This time I was instructed to not wear the appliance and was given an appointment to see the dentist the next day.

By then, I thought my eyeballs were going to pop from the pain in my head, my ear hurt inside all the way down my neck, and Advil wasn't touching it at all.  I hadn't been able to tolerate the positional therapies, and now it was looking like I wasn't going to be able to tolerate this one either . . .

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