Monday, August 11, 2014

To Sleep . . .

So - as I was saying:  Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

I mean, really????    Great.

It took more than three weeks to get the result of the sleep study, and when it arrived, it was seven or eight pages long, and full of charts and all kinds of mumbo jumbo that I did not understand.

No matter what it said, I knew that I had a diagnosis, so I figured there was a CPAP machine in my future and I was not happy about it.  I know that plenty of people use these, but I really did not want to have one.  More importantly, however, I truly didn't understand what everything in the report said, so I called my doctor.

He gave me a good overview of the report and answered all my questions (he's awesome like that :-) ), and then the conversation switched to treatments and he said that my case is so mild that I don't need a machine.

Joy in Mudville!!    :-D

The first line of treatment was what is called positional therapy, and as crazy as it sounds, I was to turn the baggy t-shirt I sleep in around so the pocket was on the back, and then I had to put a tennis ball in the pocket.  Yes, really.  Because I only experience an issue when I'm lying on my back, positional therapy was supposed to train me to sleep only on my side.  This is a great idea in theory because you can't roll on to your back if there is a tennis ball in the middle of it.

In practice, however, it was not so great.  I tried it for two nights - what a fricking nightmare.  It worked really well at keeping me on my side. One side.  You cannot roll over on to the other side when there is a tennis ball in the middle of your back.  I was waking from the pain of my entire body weight on one side and from my inability to stretch my legs out completely.  Since the entire point of the therapy was for me to get more and better sleep, this was a miserable fail because I was getting less sleep, and since I appear to only drop into REM sleep when I'm on my back, I was more tired than ever and I hurt everywhere. 

I sourced another positional therapy online, only to find that it's not available in the United States, and so it was time to call the doc again.  The next line of treatment looked like it was going to be a dental appliance.

So I got an appointment with a special sleep dentist.  She is very nice.  It was very interesting.  Special x-rays were taken, as well as many measurements of my mouth.  Lots of discussion and answering of questions.  She mentioned another positional device that sounded similar to the one I had sourced overseas, so I decided to try it first before moving to a dental appliance.  It is called iRollover and was invented by one of the dentists in the practice. 

iRollover arrived and I set it up and started working with it.  You record your own voice telling you to roll over.  Then, you wear an earbud and strap the device to your chest.  If you roll on to your back, it triggers the recorded message to play in your ear and you roll over.  Again, in theory, a great idea.  But in practice - for me - another fail.  The top of my torso, which is where you strap the device to yourself, is. . . um . . . not flat.  And my "girls" move around.  The device would trigger when I was already on my side, and even though I turned the volume WAY down, the combination of white noise and my voice on the recording was like someone screaming in my ear which is kind of terrifying, and of course it woke me up all the way every time it went off.  In addition, it's uncomfortable for me to sleep with an earbud in my ear.

To be fair, this device apparently works for a lot of people, because the company told me I was the only person who ever sent one back for a refund.   :-D

It looked like a spendy dental appliance was going to be my next line of treatment . . .


Linda said...

I really appreciate that you post about these experiences! So far, it looks like I'm going down the exact same path as you with "the aging experience" so I guess I'll have to be prepared for sleep apnea in a few years. :-S

A :-) said...

You never know, Linda, not everyone gets it - maybe you will luck out :-)

Sometimes I think it's silly to post about stuff like this, except that more than once my posts have helped someone else (like Jamie). So, it's all just part of the journey :-)