ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

CPAP Machine: Living with Sleep Apnea

Updated on July 19, 2018
Marsei profile image

I have lived in a suburb of New Orleans for 45 years with my husband of 52 years. A pigeon-toed calico cat, Lucy, joined us four years ago.

Everyone Needs Sleep.

Packing

Because I have had one episode of atrial fibrillation, my heart doctor felt I would benefit from a sleep study for the diagnosing of sleep apnea. According to him, many people who have a-fib also have sleep apnea. Okay. I'm ready. I have no problem sleeping anywhere, although I usually take something like Advil PM to help me fall asleep.

The week before the study, I received the following instructions:

Arrive at the hospital promptly at 7:00 p.m..

Bring cotton pajamas to sleep in. Do not use makeup, hair spray, or any lotions.

Eat before you come. (They're not going to feed me.)

No one may accompany you. (I doubt anyone wants to.)

Okay. I can live with all of it if they can live with me without makeup, which is a pretty scary sight, believe me. I throw some old cotton shorts and a T-shirt into a bag along with a bottle of Advil PM and a book and head out for the hospital. Finding a parking place is a mild hassle, but no big deal. Entering the floor the sleep study is on is strange. It was deliberately constructed to be isolated from the rest of the hospital and is very quiet, like a large tomb.



Preparing for the Sleep Study

The elevator takes me directly into the waiting room for the sleep lab. There is a man who is obviously another sleeper like me talking to a woman, who gives him a form to sign. She takes him to the back and comes back to have me sign the same form. It basically says that I am giving up any right to sue them for anything they do including killing me, but I sign anyway. She then leads me to a very large spacious room with a bed and a table and nothing else. It is not a warm cozy room. It is also incredibly cold. I am very hot-natured and for me to be cold is not normal. I make a mental note to tell the nurse about it.

As I sit, waiting for someone to come do something to me, a voice comes out of a vent in the ceiling and I jump almost off my chair. "Ms. Pratt, are you all dressed and ready to proceed?" Well, I'm thinking hell, no, no one told me to dress, but I docilely answer, " No, but I'll get dressed, just give me a second." And I do. Ten minutes later, the nurse comes in and starts to fiddle with a bunch of wires with rubber circles on them. It dawns on me that they are going to be stuck to my body and for the first time, I wonder just exactly what I've gotten into. She sits me down in a chair. Then I feel a vigorous scrub on my scalp, not painful, but getting there. Then she applies an ointment, which I learn is Pace, which encourages conductivity, according to the outside of the tube. A few more second thoughts about this whole endeavor come to mind, but nothing serious. She continues to scrub different sections of my scalp with something, then apply the ointment, then attach a lead. After my head is done, she tells me to drop one of the leads into the top of my shorts and out the bottom. Okay. Done. She attaches those leads to my legs and another set to my arms. Now I resemble a robot.

And More Sleep

Sleep Apnea

Would you undergo a sleep study for sleep apnea?

See results

The Actual Study

Then she's through. I'm ready to sleep. It's 9:00 o'clock, which is early for me, but I'll take my pill and be fine. "I'll be back at 10:30 to help you to bed." And she's gone. I forgot about asking her to turn the blizzard off and now I have to read for an hour and a half in this cold room. I decide I'll risk aggravating her and speak to the vent on the ceiling: "Nurse."

"Yes, ma'am."

"I'm freezing. Could you turn the air up a bit, please?"

"Of course."

She is immediately in the hallway outside my room and tells me she's raised the air some, but that I'll sleep better if the room is cool. Well, whatever. She leaves again and I read for an hour and a half in a semi-freezing room. Then the voice comes from the ceiling and says: "Ms. Pratt, are you ready for bed?"

"Yes, oh, yes, please."

I crawl under the thick cotton sheet she calls a blanket and ask for another one. She sighs and goes to get it. I think I'm becoming annoying, but that's okay. It's cold. She tells me that we will do some tests when she gets back to the microphone. Okay. She turns out the light. The room is absolutely pitch-black. A voice from the ceiling says, "Hold your breath." I hold it till I'm about to pop and then, "Now breathe only through your nose." Okay. "Now flex your right foot." I do and my whole foot cramps. I decide not to tell her because I don't want anyone taking me out of this bed for anything. "Now hold your breath and move your stomach in and out." Do what? I have to really concentrate to get this right, but I finally do, and she says good night. She also says she may tell me during the night to turn onto my back. Is she crazy? Then I realize she's not kidding. She's going to talk to me from the ceiling and tell me to turn over on my back. I don't do well with being waked up during the night, not well at all. "Good night, Ms. Pratt. Sleep well."

I fall asleep easily and feel lucky. The nurse told me that sometimes the ambulances from the shootings in the city come and go all night long. I was spared that. I did hear the man who was monitoring the other patient, the man in the waiting room, instructing him about flexing his foot and moving his stomach up and down, etc. I found myself wondering who did the best with the stomach thing, him or me, then decided I was being childish and let it go.

At 2:00 o'clock in the morning, I am awakened out of a very deep sleep to, "Ms. Pratt, please turn over on your back." I literally jump almost out of the bed, forgetting totally where I am and horrified that someone is talking to me through the ceiling. Then I remember and turn. The wires feel like they're all coming loose, but I assume they're okay or the voice would tell me to fix them. I go back to sleep and we repeat that whole process at 4:00 a.m. when, once again, I'm instructed to turn on my back.


A Good Stretch Is Always Nice after a Nap

Recap

* Ask about the time you'll be going to bed so you won't be surprised.

* Take your own warm blanket. They encourage you to bring things that make you comfortable.

* Be aware that a voice will speak to you from the ceiling and try to be a good sport about it and don't let it scare you to death.

* Realize that you may have to do the study again after the first time.

Sometime a Yawn Is in Order.

Done!

At 6:00 a.m., she wakes me up. I feel terrible. Waked up twice and not having slept long enough for the Advil PM to wear off, I am slurring my words. "Good morning, Ms. Pratt. How did you sleep?" I explain that the voice from the ceiling was a little annoying, which she finds very funny for some reason. Then the good part.

"Ms. Pratt, because you didn't meet the criteria to qualify for sleep apnea but you are very close, I think the doctor is going to want you to come back and do it again." I am struck dumb. I just keep staring at her. "Ms. Pratt," and she starts to go through it all again.

"Okay, that's fine. I'll come back. I promise. Right now, I just want to go home." What I don't say is that I don't want to get too waked up because I'm going to bed the minute I get home. What this says about my driving home is beside the point. I ask her how I will know when to come back and she says if I don't hear from them by mail in two weeks, to call the sleep lab. I'm silently questioning whether that is ever going to happen. I thank her, fill out a questionnaire that she leaves with me, think about leaving a tip for housekeeping and remember it's not a hotel, then call my husband.

"Good morning, Glory." This is my husband Joe's usual morning greeting. Joe likes mornings and I do not. "How did it go?" I am tempted to whine about the whole episode but think better of it and tell him I'll probably have to come back soon and do the whole thing again. As I leave the room and get on the elevator, I'm thinking about what blanket I'll bring with me next time. By the time I get to the car, I'm contemplating snacks, then I remember the camera on the ceiling and have a mental image of them watching me scarfing down something sweet and wonderful, which makes me laugh and I realize it wasn't that bad after all. The only problem is I still don't know if I have sleep apnea. TO BE CONTINUED.

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-studies


CPAP Solution.

Here's an update on AFib and me. I did go back, very reluctantly. The second time, I was diagnosed with AFib. I tried using a CPAP mask. It simply did not work for me. I could not sleep with it on my face. I tried many kinds and none worked for me. I am trying my best to lose enough weight to do away with the sleep apnea. My doctor is not happy with the situation, but it is what it is.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Marsei profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Pratt 

      4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks, Favored!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      I think you're right, but you need to find the kind that just fits in the nose. Please be cautious about your heart going into afib. We want you around for a long time!

    • Marsei profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Pratt 

      4 years ago from New Orleans

      Favored:

      The final results were that I tried a CPAP machine and could not use it. I had a second sleep study, which was just as crazy, but as least I knew what was coming. I just couldn't sleep with it, too annoying. My

      sleep doctor said I had a very mild case and that he wasn't upset about my not using it. I had another episode of afib Friday night, first after 2 years. I am now giving up caffeine completely. The CPAP mask kept me awake at night and both times I had afib, I had had a restless night so I don't think the mask is the answer.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      I hope this all got squared away for you. What were the final results?

    • Marsei profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Pratt 

      5 years ago from New Orleans

      I am getting so many comments that seem to be related to a totally different article. What's up?

    • Marsei profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Pratt 

      5 years ago from New Orleans

      Writer Fox,

      It was not a fun experience and I don't look forward to the second one!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      What an experience! I don't think I could sleep well knowing someone was watching me the whole time.

    • Marsei profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Pratt 

      5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks, Kathy!

    • profile image

      Kathy 

      5 years ago

      This is a hilarious story, probably because it didn't happen to me! I always enjoy Marsei's unique take on life and await the next installment. Keep them coming, Marsei!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)