Thursday, July 08, 2010

The vagaries of sleep apnea.

8 July, 2010

I had to have another sleep study done Tuesday night, 6 July, 2010. This was the fourth time.
I have no idea why it has taken so many times for the doctors to determine what type of breathing machine to put me on and what pressure to set it on.

I had the first test done at Duke University Medical Center last winter. That test was not good enough for my pulmonologist at First Health Moore Regional. He ordered another test which I reluctantly took.
I hate having all those wires on my head and a mask over my face, except during episodes of acute heart failure when I am thrilled that the EMS folks have it with them on the ambulance.

On my previous two tests the sleep technician named Ronnie was assigned to me. Ronnie is a genial fellow and we hit it off from the start. He is retired from the Air Force on disability due to an accident as a cargo handler on aircraft. He recovered enough to work a civilian job.
The prepping for the sleep study requires sanding the body in various places so wires can be attached with adhesive. It felt like Ronnie was using 36 grit industrial grade sandpaper on my scalp when he was prepping me. After several minutes of vigorous sanding on one particular spot I asked Ronnie,
" How do you know when you have sanded enough meat off?"
He replied with a quick wit, "When it starts bleeding I know I have sanded enough."

Amid all the pain I found enough strength to chuckle at Ronnie's wit. With every comment I made Ronnie was quick with a humorous retort. It was fun working with him, even though the sanding was painful.

I had two studies done with Ronnie as the technician, so we got to know each other a bit more.
He was disabled while off-loading cargo from a high-flying C-130 transport plane. The cargo shifted just before exiting the plane and it crushed his legs at the knees. Lucky he was attached to a safety harness to keep him from being sucked off the plane.His Air Force career ended with his disability, but he eventually recovered and went into a medical career.

Tuesday night he was prepping a patient in another room when I checked in. He heard my voice and immediately stuck a gloved arm out the door and said, "Hudson, I'm going to knock out you as soon as I finish getting blood from this patient."
I love Ronnie's good-natured banter, so I replied, "Ronnie, the office manager in the hospital has put me on the payroll since I've had to come back so many times. She said to have you go ahead and pay me one weeks pay in advance. Just make the check out to Cash."

"I'm still gonna knock you out when I finish in here," He said.

I giggled out, "Yeah, and the next time you fly, I'll push you out with the cargo too."

Ronnie was not my technician Tuesday night. Jordan was. Jordan did a great job of wiring me up to all the sensors, but he had to try a dozen breathing masks before he found one that would fit my know skinny face.
It was 2:00 A.M. before we finally settled down to work.

Jordan turned out the lights and left the room to go to his work station to observe me under infrared cameras and audio equipment.
There is a checklist of things to do to make sure every sensor is working properly.
Jordan 's voice came over the intercom and he said,"Blink your eyes ten times. Now, turn your eyes from right to left ten times. Hold your breath and move your stomach up and down ten times. Bend the toes on your left foot forward and backward ten times. Now do the same with the right foot.
Good! Everything is working. You can go to sleep now."

I fell into a light sleep. I didn't think I was sleeping at all. The white noise from the machine was not white enough to wipe out the discomfort from air under pressure being forced up my nose. After a minute my nose started to itch. No way to scratch it,so I used psychology and just blocked it out of my mind.
After thirty minutes my nose was on fire from the burning, and I now had a headache to go with it. I asked Jordan to bring me Tylenol.
He did!

I went back into what I was sure was a light snooze. Jordan came over the intercom again and said ,"Okay, Mr. Hudson.We are stopping the study now. We have some really good information for the doctor to work with."
I looked at my watch and it was 6:00 A.M. I was thrilled to end the study. I didn't think of it as a study. I was thinking "ordeal."

Jordan came in and took the mask off first, then unhooked the gazillion wires attached to me. I was so relieved to get that mess off that I made up my mind I will never have another sleep study done. I don't care what the doctors say. I've had enough sleep studies done. I know I have sleep apnea. The doctors know I have it
As Duran once said "No Mas! I've had enough too!

©-2010-Jay Hudson


Blogger rrjoel said...

Jay, know all about this stuff. My wife has the same problem and yes she went through all those tests with wires hanging everywhere. I even have photos of her with wires attached but I want post them - might come back to haunt me later. The room she stayed in was like a hotel. Real nice. But now she has problems with this mask....she tried them all. She will keep it on for maybe 2 hours and off it comes for the rest of the night. I can't really see where it is helping her much - when she does wear it. She still tries every once a while but I believe she will eventually just give it up.

10:26 AM  

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