Friday, January 16, 2009

Taking a Breather ~

Since we are all best friends here in blogland and I have absolutely NO secrets from my best friends, I've decided to share a little something about myself that I haven't shared before in this circuit. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. I hate it because I consider this a fat person's condition. The only reason I think this is because everyone I know who has it (including me) could stand to do a little pushing away from the table - and I mean this in the nicest way possible, bless their hearts :)
I started snoring quite a few years ago. At first it didn't bother me too badly because it was just my husband who would tease me about it and talk about how the window blinds flew in and out all night while I was asleep - loving stuff like that. Later on, I'd go on trips with girlfriends and they would make fun of me and just have the biggest time at my expense. On top of that, I started having lots of trouble staying awake when sitting down to watch TV or riding in the car, etc. and anyone who was around when I did this would, of course, notice the sweet sound of my dainty, feminine snore - NOT! It is really, really bad. I would fall asleep driving, sitting at my desk at work, and again, in front of the TV. Finally, after having Brandon in the car with me one night and I fell asleep at the wheel and scared him silly, I decided to get checked out. Sure enough, I had the fat person's Sleep Apnea. Like everything else, this is mostly caused by being heavy. That little flap in the back of your throat closes up on you while you are relaxed in sleep. After having a couple of sleep studies done where I would go to a clinic and spend the night and have my sleep monitored by being hooked up to 14 jillion wires, I was prescribed a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. The study showed that I stopped breathing 10 times per hour, and I was not entering into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is the most restful stage of sleep. I'm to attach myself to my CPAP machine by a hose and mask every night so that I can breathe better and sleep better, thus making me rested and able to make it through my day without falling asleep. The machine is wonderful and actually makes me feel like a new person when I use it regularly. It is a little uncomfortable, as you will see down below, but when I wear it enough to get used to it, I do just fine. However, I have always been a stomach sleeper and you just can't manage that with this mask on.

I have gotten out of the habit of CPAPing up at night and managed to do ok for the last few months but since about the first of December, I've noticed I'm more tired and sleepy, and I've started dozing while driving and working. Scary, I know - the driving part. So, this Tuesday night I decided to get the machine out and hook up and get back to luxurious slumber. Although my son is no stranger to this machine, I thought he was gonna bust a gut when I put it on this time. You see, we share a bedroom. I know that sounds very weird but I promise it isn't. It's just that our little house we can afford only has the one bedroom, that is very large, so we have to deal with it. He has his double bed and I have my queen bed. We have a night table between the beds. It looks like a hotel room. I am digressing so I'll get back to the real story now . . . . my first night back on the CPAP . . . . after I got the mask on and turned on the machine, it made a slight noise and I'm having to breathe in and out of my nose only, I wear a chin strap to keep my mouth closed so there is no snoring. I was breathing a little heavy while I was getting adjusted to total nose breathing. Brandon, who is a huge Star Wars fan, said, "Goodnight, Darth." Well, for some reason I found this very funny and then had to laugh while only breathing from my nose and the harder is was to do this, the more I laughed. He then said that he couldn't wait to tell his friends that his dream had come true and he found out that Darth Vader is his mother! Funny, funny kid he thought. Well, I just kept laughing and so did he. Then, he kept saying, "Brandon, I am your mother" in his Darth Vader voice (like when Darth told Luke he was his father). Maybe you'd have to be there to appreciate the humor but I'm glad that my son doesn't let the fact that his mom has a sleep disorder/medical condition get him down :)

Preparing for the night of fantabulous sleep.

My face-flattering mask and chin-strap.

Relaxing and adjusting to total nose breathing.

Aaaahhhhh . . . . me and my chins have just settled down for a long winter's nap.

All week long, I have felt like a new woman and I'm not falling asleep when I shouldn't. You are welcome, drivers and bossman!

If anyone out there has or thinks they might have Sleep Apnea and has ignored it, I highly recommend getting a check up and find out if the CPAP machine is right for you. It will change your life.



Gina said...

My Mom's husband has one of those machines. He had the same symptoms you did and my kiddos used to get a kick out of Pa falling asleep on the couch and snoring. LOL! I'm glad it is working for you. Sweet dreams!!


Amy said...

Bless your heart! Your blog is not only humorous, but it's also educational.;)

My dad is supposed to go for his sleep studies sometime soon, so I will be sure to have mom show him this post. And just between you and me, I am sure we will have a few giggles at his expense.;) (I'm teasing, of course.)

Your Brandon sounds like a lot of fun too! We have got to get together soon...We can sit around like old women and talk about sleep apnea, bad backs, and gout. LOL!:)

I loved having a peek into your world. I have missed you.

(((BIG HUGS!)))

Smiling Shelly said...

While this is a very serious condition and really no laughing matter...I hope you don't mind that I admit that this totally cracked me up!

I don't think I could ever sleep in something like looks WAY uncomfortable but I'm glad that it's helping you.

Pleasant dreams! said...

Hey, girlfriend! I see that Amy told you about Johnny supposed to have the sleep study - right now, he has postponed it because of the $$ we already owe from our 2 surgeries and we don't know how insurance will pay for it. I do need to check in to it - I'm glad it's working for you (even if it's not a fashion statement!) but the important thing is for it to keep you safe! Looks like Brandon has inherited his Mom's wonderful sense of humor! Like Amy said, we DO need to get together soon!!!
Love you girl!
Sandra :)