Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cautiously Hopeful . . .

I went back to the special sleep dentist on Wednesday August 20th to pick up my newly adjusted dental appliance.  I was worried that it wasn't going to work.  But it is.

This time around, it was set to 4 instead of 6, and I was to wear it for a week without making any changes in the setting at all.  If you to go this page, you can see what my appliance looks like.  It's the Flex - the first one on the left.  You can see that there is a little metal gear box on the upper jaw piece - that's the part that is adjustable (on both sides).  You slowly move those gears to adjust the device.  Those fangs on the bottom jaw piece rest against the little gear box piece, and that's what keeps your jaw and tongue from falling backwards and obstructing your airway.

Like I said, I was worried that it wouldn't work.  The two weeks without it were worse than ever in terms of quality and quantity of sleep.  I asked the dentist about this and she advised that that was normal.  I'd had a taste of good sleep the first time around, and even though I was in pain, at least I was sleeping well.  Losing the appliance for two weeks was awful. 

Anyway, I was cautious.  The first night went OK.  My SnoreLab score dropped immediately from the 40s-70's down to 12.  That was encouraging.  By Friday morning I was still fine.  No headache.  No earache.  This was the point the first time where I was already in substantial pain, so I was further encouraged.  I made it through the first week without incident, and my SnoreLab score stayed in the 10-12 range.  I did an email check in with the sleep dentist and told her that unless she objected, I was going to make two turns on the device and see how it went.  She said that was fine.

So, I made two turns on each side, and hoped for the best.  Four days later, I made two more.  And with that second set of adjustments, I really began to feel the effects of better sleep.  :-)  I saw my regular dentist on September 3rd for a cleaning, and then had another follow up visit with the special sleep dentist the following day. 

I have not had the headache this time, and although I have had a small amount of sensitivity in my right ear, it's minor and not a patch on what was happening at the initial setting.

To get back to the initial setting I started with on the device, it will take 14-15 turns on each side, and where before she wanted me to make 3-4 turns every 3-4 days, this time we're going for 1 turn every 4 days.  This is much less aggressive, and so far, it's working really well.  I learned a little more about the device and how to take the best daily care of it - there's a lot to learn all at once  :-)  and now I also have a special toothpaste that I have to use at night that helps keep my teeth strong being covered by the appliance all night now. 

So - no headache, only occasional and very minor ear sensitivity, and my lower jaw is moving back into position in the mornings much more easily, which means that the inflammation is at bay.

The only downside to all this is that I felt so much better after a couple of weeks of better sleep that I had enough energy to start walking again in the mornings.  Why is this a bad thing?  Well, I got on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  I know I should have done 15 or 20 at the most.  But I did 40.  And it caused a flare up of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. 


That happened this past Wednesday.  I knew what it was right away this time, and started on my anti-inflammatory and iced it.  I did cancel a trip to Colorado this weekend because I knew I wasn't going to be able to be as mobile as I had planned, so that sucked, but I can tell that I caught it right away this time.  The pain is gone, and the majority of the swelling has gone done, but I can tell it's not 100% so I'm taking it very easy. 

Walking outside or on a track - way better than the treadmill that keeps me at a constant steady pace, forcing a repetitive motion and heel strike that just isn't ok for me.  I'm hoping to find a way around that at some point, but for now, while it's still nice out, I'll be walking in the great outdoors or at the club on the track. 

So, I'm cautiously hopeful about pretty much everything today  :-)

And I'm going to leave you with some Bowie today - one of my favorites of his catalog.  We are our own heroes . . . (and in case you don't know, the wall he refers to was the Berlin Wall . . .)


Michelle said...

Lots of wonderful news from you, my friend! I'm so happy for you!

A :-) said...

Thank you Michelle :-)