The latest in geek fashion:
A couple of weeks ago, I said this:
Chuqui 3.0: About Me:
And we’ve been chasing something that’s popped up since I left Apple — I’ve been having some intermitted periods where I simply don’t have any energy. It’s not tired or fatigue, it’s just sudden drop-outs of my energy levels. Because of this, I’m going to be doing an apnea sleep study next week, although I don’t believe that’s “it”, with my weight, it’s a logical next step to check and (hopefully) eliminate (or deal with).
Yesterday, I got the results of the apnea study, and it wasn’t pretty. I also got my CPAP machine, which I’m lovingly modelling above. The details of the study were a lot worse than I expected — averaging 50 events an hour, with a worst-case O2 drop to 58% (the O2 scale runs from 50-100, with 90-100 being normal).
The reason I felt that apnea wasn’t the problem was that — from my point of view — none of the most obvious symptoms of apnea have been present; I’m not waking up during the night, I’m not doing the “active dreaming” (because you can never get into deep REM sleep), I wasn’t waking up tired or fighting the alarm, and in fact, was doing pretty well on 7 hours a night; and a while back, all of that WAS true, before we worked on clearing out the nasal congestion (Allegra for the cats, sudafed for what the allegra doesn’t clear out, and breathe-rights to open the passages; breathe-rights rock, by the way — if you snore, try them…). given that I STILL had what’s clearly a severe case of apnea, one can only wonder how bad it was before we “fixed” it.
That, of course, is why you don’t guess about these things, and in retrospect, I should have taken the test a few years ago.
So, for those who are wondering — what’s Sleep Apnea? Apnea is a condition where your airway closes down, and your ability to breath stops. You can sugar coat it with lots of medical terms adn conditions, but effectively, its as if a cat keeps crawling onto your face and going to sleep. As the sleeper, of course, you end up moving around and starting to wake up to clear the airway (and shoo away the cat), all the while your blood oxygen drops. Apnea can lead to all sorts of fun things, from exhaustion (and more fun things like falling asleep randomly, like when driving), or raised blood pressure, or stroke.
Some apnea stats: current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans have some form of apnea at least some of the time. The testing/results/training classes I went to started with about 60 people, and they ended up handing off 45 CPAP machines (now, as they noted, you don’t end up IN that class until you’re far enough down the road that the diagnosis is pretty clear… but still); while being overweight and being older don’t help, it’s not a “fat” disease or an “old” disease. the class I was in ranged from a girl in her mid-20′s to a man in his 80′s; and the girl, if he had 10 pounds of extra ‘her’ hanging around, hid it awfully well. So to speak. Not that I was looking; I am married, of course.
The tube of the CPAP wanders off to what can only be described as an aquarium air pump on steroids. The idea is to flow air into the nose to pressurize the system to keep things open. If that sounds, well, funky, well, I can tell you that going to sleep that way the first time was weird — you essentially have this small, localized windstorm going up your nose. Some folks adapt to wearing a CPAP well, some take a couple of weeks. In my case, I had about 20 seconds of claustrophobic panic the first time I put the thing on — and then last night, fell asleep right away, and as far as I can tell, stayed asleep all night. Seems like it’s not going to be a hassle for me.
And — results are very, very early, but I was up a bit late, and we had to set the alarm earlier than normal (5:30), so I’m running on around 6 hours instead of 7-7:30 today, and despite that, I feel more energetic and rested than I have in weeks. It’s a subjective feeling, and after one day, way too early to tell, but — it sure seems like a noticable and huge change for the better.
And I mention it because — maybe, it’ll trigger something with some of you out there, and convince you to go talk to your doctor about it. If you sleep but don’t feel rested. IF you have a tendency (like I did ) to sit down somewhere and “go nappies”, if you’re a heavy snorer — you should at least have the talk.
Although I fully realize that doing the Darth Vader thing is not necessarily going to make your evening if you’re single and bring a friend home, if you fall asleep on the barstool (or at the wheel), she might never come with you in the first place…
Now, off to go study up on CPAP equipment and technology, because if I can guarantee one thing, it’s the the one Kaiser will pay for as part of the coverage is a perfectly decent unit, but not the best on the market, or the one I’ll likely want to stick with.