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.


NuclearToast said...

Narcolepsy?! That's crazy! I've never known you to fall asleep while doinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

CJ said...

I wonder if I'm narcoleptic. I almost fall asleep while driving home at least 3 days a week. I just figured driving is boring. Or maybe all the boring work I do tires me out. Let us know how your study goes.