The Sleep Lab Experience, Part Two

By James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I forgot to mention some more hookups. There was a small microphone taped to the front of my neck to monitor snoring and a wire attached to both lower legs to watch for leg movements.

I took a sleeping pill (Ambien) that I had brought with me. They said it was ok to do. They wanted me to get some sleep or the testing was useless. I had very little trouble getting to sleep. The attached wires were not uncomfortable but it did take a little effort to make sure the wires to the portable device did not get tangled when I turned over.

During the night the nurse came in to hook me up to a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. She said her tests were showing that I was having some sleep apnea. Apparently my breathing would slow or stop. This lowered my blood oxygen content. The reason for this was my airway would relax to the point of obstruction. After a few seconds my body would realize this and I would wake up a bit to correct it. Since this happens many times during the night I don’t get a good night’s rest and I wake up tired (also bad for the heart). The CPAP seals over my nose and emits enough air pressure to keep my airway open at all times. She had demonstrated this to me before bedtime and told me she would use it if she detected trouble.

With the CPAP on it was a little hard to get back to sleep, and I woke up a few times to adjust it. She actually fine-tuned the air pressure in her office.

At 6:15 AM she came in, unhooked me and brought in breakfast. I was welcome to shower. She said I was a very busy man at night with a lot of leg jerking, snoring and apneic episodes.

The only residual from my ordeal was some spots of gel in my hair. The physician will go read the reports, and we will go from there.

I will let you know.

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