Thursday, June 26, 2008

Big day for Shadrac

Happy one-hundred-and-forty-thousandth-mile Shadrac*!
*Shadrac is my Pathfinder.


DK and I started composting at home recently. Really, we aren’t composting ourselves, we are putting it into our yard waste bin and the yard waste people compost it for us. We have one of these little stainless steel buckets by our kitchen sink and we put food scraps and paper towels in there instead of down the disposal or in the garbage. We fill the bucket up so often that we haven’t had a problem with smell, which is a good thing because like Burton Guster from Psych*, I am a super smeller.
*Great show by the way.

My office implemented a composting program. All of our tableware, cups, and silverware are compostable along with food scraps. The cups and tableware are made of paper and the silverware is made of either sugarcane or corn starch, I have heard conflicting stories, but the consensus is that they are made of one of the two. And no, they don’t have any flavor, I checked. Now we have three types of bins in the kitchens, cafeterias and conference rooms; garbage, mixed recyclables, and compost.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The sleep study

I found this image online, these aren't my results.

It’s over. That is a good way to start. I hate the hospital.

I checked into the hospital on Friday night. The room was bland, poorly decorated and had a water stain on the ceiling. Pretty much like a $5,500* a night Motel 6 room. There was also a microphone on the headboard and an infrared video camera. Did I mention that I hate hospitals?

*I looked online and it appears that the nighttime sleep study (polysomnography - PSG) costs around $3,500 and the daytime Narcolepsy test (multiple sleep latency test - MSLT) costs about $2,000. Good thing I have insurance.

When I checked in, they asked me a bunch of questions about how I sleep. In my initial appointment, I had to fill out a questionnaire.** Then a technician came in and glued/taped tons of electrodes to me. I think there were about 23 or so of them. They were glued into my hair and taped to my face, chest, legs, and left hand. Fun stuff. I got to order my breakfast for the morning. I ordered a cheddar cheese omelet, an English muffin, OJ and bubbly water.

**With a little research, I found out that the questionnaire determines where I fall on the “Epworth Sleepiness Scale”. I scored a 14 or “seek the advice of a sleep specialist without delay”. You can take the test here.

DK and I watched TV and read books. DK was allowed to stay with me until 10:00 pm. That’s when they turned the lights out.

The technician plugged me into a machine on the night stand and then left the room. A few seconds later she came on the intercom. She asked me to lie on my back, as still as I could and follow her instructions so she could get sample readings. For example:

  • Stare strait up at the ceiling.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe through your nose.
  • Breathe through your mouth.
  • Open your eyes and without moving your head look up towards your forehead, down to your toes, to your forehead, to your toes, to your forehead, to your toes. To your right ear, to your left ear, right ear, left ear, right ear, left ear.
  • Wiggle your toes on your left foot.
  • Point your toes on your left foot towards your forehead.
  • Wiggle your toes on your right foot.
  • Point your toes on your right foot towards your forehead.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds.
  • Smile as wide as you can.
  • Grind your teeth.
  • Clear your throat.
  • Blink 5 times.

After that she said I could get into any comfortable position and go to sleep. With all that shit glued to me, comfortable was really not possible.

I woke up a lot in the night as always. I had to get up to go to the bathroom once. So I had to press the call button and the tech came in and unplugged the main connection to the machines so I could get out of bed. Most of the time when I woke up, all I could think was “there is a morgue here, this place must be totally fucking haunted”.

At 7:00 am, the tech came on the intercom to wake me up. She came into the room and took the wires off my legs, hand, some off my chest, and the oxygen sensor that was on my face/nose. That was a relief. I still had about 12 wires on my head and face and 2 on my chest, but man it was great to get some of them removed.

My breakfast arrived and it was actually very good. The omelet was fresh, hot and cooked perfectly. I expected some dry, funny colored, egg-like catastrophe, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I was allowed to take a smoke break. I put my hood over my glue crusted, wire covered head and walked to the elevator. The tech said “Oh hey – just a warning, don’t say anything about bombs or explosives.” She was really funny and very nice.

Even with my hood, you could see lots of the wires and the electrodes taped to my face. It’s really funny how people treat you when you look different. I have to say, I had never really experienced this before. Adults look at you, their eyes widen a little and then they immediately look away. They wait for you to get on the elevator first and then stare directly at their shoes. It’s almost like they will do anything to avoid looking at you or talking to you. Kids on the other hand are much more honest and have no problem expressing (non-verbally in my experience) that you look strange. Parents are mortified by this. On both elevator rides there were adults with a kid. The kid will just keep staring at you, eyebrows crinkled. One little boy was checking out my wires and with his eyes still locked on me said “Hey mom…” she cut him off with a squeeze to the shoulder and he knew not to say any more. This made me realize that next time I see someone who is different, like missing a leg for example, I will still hold the elevator door, but after that I am not going to act any differently. It’s a very isolating feeling and I only had to live with it for a few minutes.

Back in my room, I watched more TV and finished the book I was reading (Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall and Lisa Pulitzer. Elissa Wall is the woman whose testimony put Jeffs away for 10 to life. It’s an amazing story and I recommend reading it.)

At 8:30, a new tech came in and plugged me into the machines again. He asked me to take a nap. He turned the lights out, left the room and came over the intercom to do the same calibration tests as the night before. After 30 minutes, he came back on the intercom to run the calibration tests again, and then he came in and unplugged me. I had 3 more nap tests with another tech, each with same calibration tests. Overall, this is what I think happened:

  • Nap 1 - 8:30 am: 99% sure I didn’t sleep.
  • Nap 2 - 10:30 am: I definitely slept.
  • Nap 3 - 12:30 pm: I am pretty sure I fell asleep.
    (I think I had a dream about Bladio and Sally!)
  • Nap 4 – 2:30 pm: I am 99% sure I slept.

I had lunch at 1:00 pm. I ordered a veggie and dip plate, veggie chili, and a grilled cheese, cheddar on sourdough and bubbly water. My lunch was delivered to the tech room during my 12:30 – 1:00 nap, so it wasn’t really hot, but I have to say, it was still fairly good. I figured I should order as much food as I wanted because my insurance was paying for it. The great thing about the menu at the hospital is that they have EVERYTHING. I think that may be because sometimes when you are sick, only one thing sounds good to you and if you can’t get that, you don’t want to eat at all. I also got to take another smoke break after lunch.

They said I might have to take another nap at 4:30, so I was relieved when the tech came in after waking me up at 3:00 pm and said that they had enough data and I was free to go. Yay!

It’s really odd how I am not sure if I slept or not. They asked me after each nap if I had slept and if so, did I dream? They know the answers to these questions, but I guess part of the test is seeing if I know. I didn’t look up online how they test for Narcolepsy. I felt like if I knew what they were looking for before the test, I might subconsciously skew the results to my desired outcome.

I just looked up how they test for Narcolepsy. I found this on Wikipedia: “The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is a sleep disorder diagnostic tool. It is used to measure the time it takes from the start of a daytime nap period to the first signs of sleep, called sleep latency. The test is based on the idea that the sleepier people are, the faster they will fall asleep.”

This is the grading scale (in minutes):

  • 0-5: Severe
  • 5-10: Troublesome
  • 10-15: Manageable
  • 15-20: Excellent

I think that I fall into one of the last two categories, although it’s really hard to tell because I don’t have a very good concept of time and of course, there was no clock in the room. I also don’t know what “the first signs of sleep” are, so I could be totally off on where I fall on that scale.

I get my results this Friday at my follow up appointment with the sleep specialist. I will let you know what they say.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sleep study

I go in for my sleep study tonight. *See figure 1.

I have to stay most of Saturday for the narcolepsy test. They should let me out tomorrow evening. I really don't think I have narcolepsy. **See figure 2.

I'll write a summary on Monday.

*Figure 1:

**Figure 2:

Friday, June 13, 2008


If I had a dog, I would make it wear this:

see more dog pictures

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Pedophile Prophet

These are photos of Warren Jeffs with his

Read the article.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Sleep Doctor

I went for my consultation with the sleep specialist on Friday evening. It went pretty well. He was very nice and disarming, even telling a few jokes. That made me more at ease because I really don’t like any type of medical tests or hospitals. He said that I have classic symptoms of sleep apnea, which I assumed he would say. But then he said that I also have classic symptoms of mild narcolepsy*.

* “A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep, often at inappropriate times and places.” Source: Wikipedia.

That really surprised me. When I think of narcolepsy, I think of someone falling asleep in a split second at dinner and taking a header into their mashed potatoes! That has never happened to me. Apparently doctors are now finding other, less severe cases of narcolepsy. I have never fallen asleep while driving or eating or anything like that, so I never even considered that I might have it. Once I fell asleep mid-sentence while talking to Bri, but that was really late at night and I had had some wine.

So he recommended that I complete a night and day sleep study at the hospital in Seattle. The room is in the hospital, but setup and decorated to look like a nice hotel room. I will have a TV and DVD player and free WiFi. The room does have a camera, but the technicians only watch it if I call for them. If I have to go to the bathroom in the night, which I will, I am just supposed to say that I want to get up and a technician will come in and unhook me from some machine that the wires feed into.

I scheduled my appointment for 6/20 – 6/21. I go in that Friday evening at 7:30 pm. They will prep me by gluing wires to my head and sticking some to my torso and hands so they can monitor all kinds of who-knows-what. DK is allowed to stay with me until lights-out at 10:00 pm. The lights stay off until 6:00 am on Saturday morning. At that time they will wake me up and feed me breakfast. That concludes the nighttime (apnea) portion of the sleep study.

They will ask me to take a nap at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, noon and 2 pm. Each time that I fall asleep I will be woken up by an alarm. This is the narcolepsy part of the sleep study. Sounds like fun huh? He said that a lot of people struggle with this part and get really frustrated and angry with the alarm constantly waking them up. Somewhere in that timeframe they feed me lunch. They will let me out at around 5:00 pm. Then I have to go home and wash the glue out of my hair.

I am bringing Abe (my yeti) with me for support.

Rant: Gas-way-too-fucking-expensive-oline

I filled up my Pathfinder today. It wasn’t quite empty; it only needed 16.512 gallons to fill the 18 gallon tank. I always put the cheap, regular gas in. Do you know how much gas was per gallon today by my house? $4.279. Yeah. It cost $70.65 to fill my tank and it wasn’t even totally empty.

When I started driving, gas was $0.99 per gallon. You could fill up an 18 gallon tank for the price of dinner for two at subway. For the same price as the gas I bought this morning, I could have gone to the Met and ordered a calamari appetizer, an iceberg wedge salad with Rogue River blue cheese, a petite prime filet mignon dinner with a baked potato and a beer. Not that I would eat a steak or squid, I just wanted to make that startling comparison.

The good news is I got a much needed tune up last month for my poor, neglected Pathfinder and it now gets almost 50 miles more to the tank than before! That is an extra 2.75 miles per gallon.