Do you Have Problems With Your CPAP?

CPAP use has its own unique set of problems. However, there are workable solutions to these. In this article, I’ll explore some of these issues. 

Common Problems People Have With CPAP

Perhaps one of the bigger problems people have with CPAP is related to the mask itself. Many people don’t like anything on their face, usually because it feels claustrophobic. This can be an initial reaction to CPAP. However, some people never work through this, and as a result, can’t use the mask at all.

Another one of the problems people have is breathing against the air pressure. This is especially so if their CPAP pressure is too high.

There are solutions to these dilemmas, however.

 

Non Surgical Solutions

People who are claustrophobic don’t like ‘all this stuff’ on their face. problemsSometimes they do better with a nasal mask because of that. Then again, some people feel more claustrophobic with the nasal mask. This is because they need to keep their mouth closed. In that case going to a full face mask would allow them to breathe through both nose and mouth. There’s an alternative to this dilemma. Check out this mask; it covers your mouth and just sits under your nose.

problemsAnother possibility is a device called an Oral Appliance. There are different variations on a theme. One type works by holding your jaw forward; the other works by holding your tongue forward. In either case, the result is that ultimately your airway stays open.

 

For those who can’t breathe against all that pressure, there’s something called bi-level. This type of machine has a higher pressure when you breathe in, and then goes to a lower pressure when you breathe out. Many people find this really helps them tolerate treatment.

For more information on this and other treatment options, see http://sleepguyblog.com/best-way-treat-sleep-apnea/

Also, check this out!!

 Singing or Playing a Wind Instrument

There’s some interesting research that shows either singing, and/or playing a wind instrument can lessen the severity of OSA. This apparently works by strengthening certain mouth and throat muscles; thus making it less likely your airway will collapse

One of the more interesting wind instruments, and perhaps the one showing the best response is the Didgeridoo. Check it out here http://www.didgeridoostore.com/didgeridoo_sleepapnea_snoring.htm

But really, any wind instrument can help strengthen those muscles. So, sing away and learn to play! Even if all you do is make a joyful noise!

Cleaning Your CPAP Equipment

Sometimes your mask can cause redness and irritation. However, properly cleaning your equipment can often reduce, or even eliminate these issues.

Empty the water chamber daily, and soak it, your mask, and hose, in warm soapy water every day. Also wipe down your CPAP machine weekly with a wet wipe.

The humidifier chamber should be soaked in a mixture of 1/3 white vinegar in 2/3 water for around 15 minutes at least once a week. Then rinse in distilled water. Let air dry on a towel.

Properly cleaned equipment not only can reduce irritation, it’s also less germy, and doesn’t look gross.

Surgical Solutions

The most common type of surgical procedure involves removing excess soft tissue from the back of your throat. This procedure can also include removing your tonsils and trimming other soft tissue. More aggressive surgery involves Surgically moving your jaw forward.

Click on the attached link for more information on these, and other procedures. http://www.sleepeducation.org/treatment-therapy/surgery/surgical-procedures

Other Questions and Concerns

How am I supposed to sleep with this thing?

It’s helping you breathe, so if the mask fits you right, and the pressure is good, you will breathe much better. Although, the mask and pressure can take some adjusting to.

How long does it take to get used to CPAP?

There’s a full range of how people respond initially to CPAP. All the way from “Take this thing off me! I’ll never wear that!” To as soon as I put the mask on them they’re like “Wow! This thing is awesome!” ” I breathe much better with it.”

Also, time after time, I see patients in the sleep lab who’s sleep improves after I put them on CPAP. Yet they wake in the morning not feeling any better than usual. Apparently, sometimes it takes your body awhile to ‘work its way’ out of a condition it’s been in.

If your body is used to a certain way of breathing, then if you suddenly start breathing more efficiently, your body will naturally react negatively to that. So then, good, healthy breathing becomes a struggle in itself, until your body adjusts.

Do I have to sleep on my back all the time?

No, even with a full face mask you should be able to lay on your side or even your stomach. We only encourage back sleep in the sleep lab because obstructive breathing is generally worse on your back, and we want to see how you look that way.

But I never sleep on my back, why should I during the sleep study?

We want to establish the true severity of your apnea. Besides, I’ve seen many patients say they never sleep on their backs.

Then during the sleep study, they’ll fall asleep on their sides; and once asleep, will turn on to their backs. Some will turn back onto their side, wake  up and say “See, I told you I never sleep on my back”

If you can’t sleep on your back because of an injury, then you won’t be required to for the sleep study. Just let your sleep technologist know this.

Do I have to wear this all the time?

As long as you wake up feeling refreshed and have no problems with your mask, yes. If you have a change in your medical condition or even a change in insurance, you might need another sleep study.

Is there a cure for sleep apnea?

While losing weight can help, it shouldn’t be considered a ‘cure’. Also, smoking is irritating to your airway, causing it to swell up a bit. So if you smoke, quitting will open your airway more once the swelling goes down. This will, of course, reduce the severity of your sleep apnea.

Are the machines noisy?

Years ago, many people complained about how loud their CPAP machine was. However, machines these days are very quiet. Actually, a mask leak will be your loudest sound (from the machine).

The mask leaves red marks on my face.

If you have sensitive skin, the mask can leave a red mark on your face. But generally, any redness shouldn’t last very long. And you don’t need to cinch the mask down tight on your face either. It should sit comfortably.

Actually, the air movement within the mask generally acts like a type of suction and can create a seal that should keep air leak to a minimum, without clamping the mask down onto your face.

Conclusion

Knowledge is power, and there are no dumb questions (well, o.k., maybe there are, but none of my patients have asked any).

I hope you’ve found this article at least somewhat useful, in addressing some of the problems you have with your CPAP. If you have a question that wasn’t addressed here, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

Summers Time for fun, Even if it Kills you

When you’re having fun, it’s easy to overlook the importance of safety. In this article, I’ll go over some things to keep in mind while on vacation. I’ll address some safety issues, as well as help you make sure you’re taking care of the important stuff.

But what does this all have to do with sleep? Read on…

Have fun but be SafeFun

It’s finally here! The day you’ve been waiting for. All the planning paid off, and now it’s time to enjoy that time away. But did you forget something? Hopefully, you have everything ready; but you already feel a sense of urgency because you need to get on the road by a certain time. So your stress level is up a notch. But remember, keep it fun.

Then there are all those extra cars on the road. That’s another thing. And that thought raises your stress level another notch. But you’re not the only one whose stress level goes up thinking about theses things. So, we’ve got several things going on here:

1-There are more cars on the road, with people driving more miles.

2-People’s stress levels might a bit higher than usual.

3-Drivers face more distractions.

With all that planning, don’t forget the most important thing…

SAFETY FIRST

First, let’s take a look at some of the things that cause distracted driving. They are:

  • Talking-either with other in the car. Or other people talking. Like kids, for instance.
  • Talking on a cell phone or texting-Pull over if you need to make that call, or send that text.
  • Eating-Stop somewhere, and take time out to eat.
  • Changing radio station/changing temp controls.
  • Reaching to pick up something you dropped.
  • ‘Zoning out’.

And as you can see, they all have one thing in common…paying attention to something other than driving. However, ‘zoning out’ is the biggest cause of distracted driving.

Let’s take a look at some of these things.

Dying to Have fun

Did you know that the highest number of traffic fatalities occur on Memorial Day weekend, with Labor Day and July 4th close behind? In addition to this, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers.

With that, consider the following.

An average car weighs around 4,000 pounds; while an average SUV is somewhere around 6,000 pounds.

At 60 MPH, you travel 88 feet every second. That’s the length of a football field in 3.4 seconds! And drivers who text, take their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 88 feet per second, that’s 440 feet or almost one and a half football fields!

And most vehicles are going faster than 88 feet per second on the highway.

Imagine a 4,000-pound chunk of steel barreling down the road at 88 feet per second all by itself. That’s essentially what happens when you take your eyes off the road.

Now, let’s add you into this mix.

You’re on the road, most likely on unfamiliar roads, so at least that helps you stay more alert. However, other factors come into play to add to your distraction/tiredness. Things like kids in the car, a different sleep schedule, sleeping in different places, and driving more than usual. And you can still ‘zone out’ if you drive for too long a time.

Let’s face it, vacations can be tiring.  And drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving and can be just as deadly. See  http://sleepguyblog.com/drowsy-drivers-kill-people/ Yup, here I go again, spoiling all the fun.

But really, you can still have fun if you just keep some things in mind.

Don’t Forget What’s Important

So then, here are some helpful tips on preparing for your awesome vacation:

Maintaining the same sleep schedule is important, but probably not practical or realistic while on vacation.

Get a good nights sleep, not only before the trip but all throughout your vacation as well. Keep in mind that getting a good night’s rest the night before can be more difficult if you’re excited about the trip.

When driving long distance, switch drivers every 2 hrs. Or switch sooner if you feel tired, or find it hard to ‘stay in the moment’. Like, maybe you’re getting anxious, and feel the need to rush things a bit. Stay patient!

Make sure your car is in good shape–Get a tune up before taking off.

Plan your route. Use GPS, and have it ‘dialed in’ before you start out.

Still not sure where to go? Follow this link to some affordable vacation ideas. https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalsBlog/2015/06/19/summer-savings-29-affordable-vacation-rental-destinations

O.K, so you’ve got your trip all planned out, and your car is tuned up and ready to go; but what about you? Are you both physically and mentally ready for this? Because, really, there will already be enough drowsy/distracted drivers out there. You really don’t need to add another one.

Let’s check one more thing.

Have fun, but get it Done

With all that danger out there, it’s even more important that you’re extra alert. With that in mind, let’s talk sleep apnea for a moment.

Do any of the following describe you?

  • Loud chronic snoring.
  • Gasping or choking sounds.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • Waking with dry mouth and/or a sore throat.
  • Waking with a morning headache.
  • Are you tired all the time?
  • Being moody and irritable.

If so, have you used any of these excuses for how you are?

  • This is how I always sleep.
  • It’s not that bad.
  • I could just lose some weight.
  • Snoring doesn’t hurt me.
  • I don’t want to wear a mask.

Do you need a sleep study, but are too busy right now? Maybe you’ll wait till fall when the kids are back in school. Perhaps now is a bad time. After all, you’re getting ready for that fun vacation you’ve been planning for some time. You can always go in later, right?

I mean really, who wants to spend a night in some hospital when it’s so nice out? Besides, this is vacation time! And these days are numbered.

Well, if you haven’t already, you might want to see my article on the dangers of untreated sleep apnea http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/

It’s worth not being another statistic.

And yes, you can travel with a CPAP machine. One of my patients is a Doctor who takes his CPAP with when he goes mountain climbing. It’s a special one that adjusts to different elevations.

Conclusion

While it’s nice to get away, it’s even more important to be fully awake and alert while on the road. With increased traffic, comes increased distracted drivers, and increased traffic fatalities. Plan ahead, stay alert, and don’t get in a hurry. And remember, even if you’re ok and alert, there are others who aren’t.

I hope you have lots of fun on your vacation. Be carefree, but not careless.

Till next time…Blessings

 

It’s not Natural to be Tired all the Time

Why am I so tired all the time? This is just one of the many questions people ask. I’ll answer that question in this article.

Why Am I Always so Tired?Tired all the time

Actually, the answer is neither simple nor straightforward. And a lot of times it takes more than just a ‘cat nap’.

First of all, how much sleep do we really need? Studies indicate anywhere from  6-9 hours. However, some people need more, and some people need less. What about you?  Are you still tired after getting ‘enough’ sleep? Or do you lay awake forever, trying to get at least a few fleeting moments of shut eye?

In either case, you may be getting enough hours of sleep. But we also need good quality sleep. And a lack of good quality sleep can be downright deadly. Don’t believe me? Read on.

In a moment we’ll have a look at some reasons you might be tired. But first, let’s define the words tired, fatigued, and exhausted. Because there are significant differences between them. And being able to identify these will get you the proper treatment.

Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

Tired-You still have some energy. However, you can experience muscle weakness. You might also have some memory problems, but a good rest will clear things up.

Fatigue– lack of energy will be accompanied by difficulty concentrating; as well as difficulty sleeping. A rest might not help much, if at all.

Exhaustion-By now, you have more than just difficulty concentrating. You’re becoming confused, incoherent, and emotionally ‘numb’. Don’t even waste your time trying to nap at this point.

As you can see, knowing which one you’re dealing with is very important. Again, using the right term to describe your symptoms to your Doctor will help assure the best treatment.

Now, back to reasons you might be tired. Let’s start with sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea

The word Apnea comes from two Greek root words; A, meaning no, and pnea, meaning breath. When you’re awake, your breathing is brisk, and your muscles are tense. However, as you fall asleep, your breathing slows down and your muscles relax. At this point, your airway can become floppy and collapse either partially, or totally.  See diagram.

Tired all the time
If your airway collapses enough, you’ll actually stop breathing. When this happens, it doesn’t take long for your brain to scream for oxygen. It does this by waking you up so that your muscles tense up, and your breathing rate increases. All the while, your heart and blood pressure are going crazy!

That’s how people with sleep apnea spend their nights! If you have a bed partner, they could experience all sorts of commotion. For instance, they’ll hear snoring at various volumes; then periods of silence, followed by loud gasps or snorts. All while watching you thrash around struggling for air.

But what if you sleep alone? What if you have no one to tell you what you do while you snooze? In that case, some things to look for include, waking up gasping for air, and/or morning headaches. Sleep apnea can also cause a bunch of health problems, including heart disease and Diabetes. See http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/

Does any of that sound familiar to you? Could be time to talk with your Doctor about a sleep study. But what if you’ve had a sleep study and you don’t have sleep apnea? Or you have sleep apnea, but CPAP isn’t helping.

What then?

Other Reasons

Let’s take a look at some of the other causes, because there are a number of diseases that can cause tiredness and/or fatigue. The following is just a partial list.

Anemia-http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/home/ovc-20183131

Cancer-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer-related_fatigue

Depression-http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/fatigue#Overview1

Diabetes-http://early-diabetes-symptoms.com/early-symptoms-diabetes/diabetes-tiredness-symptoms/

Heart Disease-http://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_GB/Warning-signs/Increasing-fatigue

Restless Legs Syndrome-http://sleepguyblog.com/can-effectively-treat-restless-legs/

Underactive Thyroid-http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/05/06/what-is-thyroid-related-fatigue.aspx

Also, some of the medications you take for these diseases can cause tiredness as well. However, what if you’ve had a thorough check up, and Doctors can’t find anything?

Is it all in my Head?

Actually, yes, it is. Emotional stress can be exhausting. No, this doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it’s just that People handle situations differently. Thus, what’s stressful to me, may not be to you, and the other way around.

Also, keep in mind there’s good stress and bad stress.

As I mentioned in my article  http://sleepguyblog.com/__poor-quality-sleep-cause-disease/  I talked about balance. So a certain amount of stress is actually beneficial to you. It’s what drives you to succeed or do other things. And if you’ve read that article, you’d understand how stress can do more harm than good if it gets out of control.

Treatment Options

Here’s a rather brief look at some natural treatment options. We’ll cover tiredness here. Fatigue and exhaustion may need more intense therapy and therefore require a combination of both natural and conventional medicine.

Alternative Treatments Include:

Acupuncture-This stuff actually works, folks!

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction– This is basically a combination of meditation and yoga exercises. Studies show this may improve your quality of life.

Ginseng-Increases energy

Rest- That’s right, a good old nap can do wonders; that is unless you’re more than just tired.

Vitamin B12-This is a good source of energy.

Iron supplements-Think iron poor blood here.

Additionally, some of these treatments can also help with fatigue and exhaustion.

Conclusion

So, finding out why you’re tired all the time might not be that easy. Also, knowing the difference between tired, fatigued, and exhausted can help you get the right treatment.

I hope that something in this article sparked your interest to learn more. Maybe you have more questions or a story of your own you’d like to share. Either way, please leave a comment. You might just share something that will greatly help someone else.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

But sleep apnea itself can cause tiredness just because you’re not sleeping well at night
So, what if you’re getting what should be enough sleep, and you’re still tired?

They found you didn’t have sleep apnea and you’re still tired? Or you had a sleep study and are now on CPAP, but still tired?

 

Or are you still tired even using CPAP?
Are you getting ‘enough’ sleep, but are still tired?
Obviously being tired all the time is not our natural state. So if you’re constantly tired, something’s not right, and that something could be deadly.

 

Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

There’s a significant difference between these, and it’s important to know what they are:

Tired-You still have some energy. However, you can experience muscle weakness. You might also have some memory problems, but a good rest will clear things up.

Fatigue– lack of energy will be accompanied by difficulty concentrating; as well as difficulty sleeping.

Exhaustion-At this point, you have more than just difficulty concentrating. You’re now becoming confused, incoherent, and emotionally ‘numb’

Knowing which one you’re dealing with is very important. And using the right term to describe your symptoms to your Doctor will help assure the best treatment.

Ginseng is cinically proven to increase energy.

 

Ginseng is cinically proven to increase energy.

Is CPAP Treatment Really Just A Scam?

There are people who think that CPAP is just another way for ‘them’ to get your money. Is it? Join me as I examine this quite reasonable viewpoint.

“This is a Racket!”Is CPAP a scam?

The patient sitting before me was a rather tough looking gentleman who voiced his opinions quite bluntly. I kept trying to discuss the sleep study, but he just wanted to talk about guns and knives, and how he ‘takes care’ of situations.

He even took out one of his knives and showed it to me.

“Oh, it’s still got blood on it,” he said, wiping the blade on his pants leg. Putting the knife down, he scrutinized me suspiciously, and said: “I think this is a racket!” And he was serious. This guy doesn’t say anything unless he is serious.

Then he went on to ask me some pointed questions. One of which was “How many people that you test end up on CPAP?’ It was a good question, and I answered him as accurately as I could.  “About 50-75% + are started on CPAP”, I replied.

With that, he said, “Yeah, see. Now if you’d told me only a few people are put on CPAP, I’d be o.k. with that. But with that many, it sounds like a racket to me.”

I sure was glad he was no longer holding that bloody knife.

We continued this conversation as I proceeded to hook him up. As it turned out, He thought CPAP was a racket for several reasons. One of them was that he really didn’t understand the consequences of untreated sleep apnea.

However, he did listen as I talked. Maybe that was because I was up front with him. Or that I really tried to speak at his level. Actually, he didn’t have much choice; I kinda had him strapped in the chair. (LOL!!)

Standards of Care

We needed to find a way to treat people more effectively. Therefore, some kind of standard had to be developed. Something we could use as a reference to determine the severity of sleep apnea. Thus, the creation of the Apnea Hypopnea Index (or AHI).

This index categorizes the severity of sleep apnea and is based on the number of times you stop breathing in an hour. For instance, if you stop breathing 5 times in an hour, your AHI would be 5.

AHI categories are:

  • Not significant: AHI less than 5.
  • Mild sleep apnea: AHI 5-15.
  • Moderate sleep apnea: AHI 15-30.
  • Severe sleep apnea: AHI greater than 30.

Using this standard as a reference, it’s estimated that as many as 20% of Americans have some degree of sleep apnea; although that figure could actually be low. Also, many factors can impact the severity of OSA to a greater or lesser degree. These include age, disease, and sex.

Uncovering the Great CPAP Scam!!

But are these standards manipulated in a way that’s more focused on sales, as opposed to appropriate treatment? In other words, are these standards set intentionally low so that people who really don’t need treatment are started on CPAP anyway? Much research has gone into establishing accurate guidelines.

One such study is reported in an article in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It details an 18-year follow-up of 1,522 people. These people had anywhere from ‘no’ sleep apnea (AHI less than 5), up to severe sleep apnea (AHI greater than 30). The study shows that people with sleep apnea are 3 times more likely to die as those who don’t. You can read the complete article here: http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=1014 

Also, we use at least 2 different standards to determine whether someone actually qualifies for CPAP. As a result, those who are more at risk of sudden death, such as people who already have heart disease, for example, can qualify for treatment with a lower AHI than those who have no known heart disease.

So no, we can’t just decide, ‘hey, let’s put this guy on CPAP because we’re a little short on money’. (And actually putting someone on CPAP when they don’t need it can be harmful in itself). That whole thing could be a lawsuit in the making.

Although it does seem like money, more than compassion is the driving force behind much of health care. Maybe it is. But the unfortunate by-product of that is many of us well-meaning healthcare folks get a bad rap.

To die or not to die, That is the Question

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. So many people don’t realize how threatening poor quality sleep really is to your health. Click on the following link to learn more:  http://sleepguyblog.com/__poor-quality-sleep-cause-disease. There’s also a direct link between sleep apnea and heart disease; as well as Diabetes. See http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/

What Would you do?

So, if you had a friend with sleep apnea, and you knew about the diseases it caused, would you talk to them about it? Yeah, I know, we can’t force anyone to do anything. It’s ultimately up to the person. But the more you care about someone, the more strongly you’ll try to help, right?

And while I really don’t know my patients very well. I do have a concern for mankind in general. And that is what drives me to help. And there’s a bunch of us out there.

Final Thoughts

I guess there will always be those who think we’re just out to scam people. It’s funny, though. The only people I’ve heard accuse us of that are the ones who aren’t using CPAP, and/or don’t really know anyone who is. And really, I don’t hear the scam word all that often.

But I think about the lives I’ve really helped. And the people who have actually experienced CPAP, and what they say about it.

Sure, there are people who want to ‘help’ you just because they’ll make money doing so. And yeah, I also make money helping you. But, honestly,  even if I had all the money I needed so that I didn’t have to work, I’d still enjoy doing what I do.(But then again, maybe I’m a bit crazy!)

However, there are a lot of scams and insurance fraud out there. And I think it’s harder than ever to trust people. But Sleep Apnea really is a serious life-threatening disorder, and CPAP is still the gold standard of care.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. Have you ever experienced any medical or insurance fraud? Please leave out any names, but otherwise, be as specific as you can. Let’s talk.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

But

The Patients I see at the Sleep lab are Awesome!!

I really enjoy working with the patients I see at my sleep lab and often think about all the people I’ve helped. So with that in mind, please join me as I, once again, reminisce on my years as a Sleep Tech.

My Sleep Study Patients Aren’t Stupid

So many of the patients that I see in the sleep lab are quite consciousness challenged, but it’s not funny. These people come in fighting the very sleep that they never really fully attain. It must be very frustrating, to say the least.

I really feel for these people who have struggled, day after semi-conscious sleepless day. Dragging themselves around. Maybe even being ridiculed for being ‘lazy’. Or misdiagnosed with depression; although a lack of good quality sleep can also lead to this. See http://sleepguyblog.com/damaging-effects-sleep-deprivation1/

I mean, here are people who go through life in a fog, with never enough energy to do things. And yet, life is calling out from all directions, screaming for attention. Reality doesn’t care that you’re too tired to do anything at the time. It demands your attention, even if you have none to give.

No, these people aren’t lazy. And they’re not stupid either. It’s just that long-term sleep deprivation has taken its toll…not only on their minds but their bodies as well.

A little empathy goes a long ways.

Therefore, once my patients are all tucked in, and the studies are up and running, I can settle into the mostly quiet solitude and begin the work of saving lives. I say ‘mostly’ because some nights can be quite hectic!

Yet even this generally slower pace has never been boring. There’s usually something going on; like the time one of my patients vanished right before my very eyes!!

With that, I now present to you…

The Case of the Disappearing Patient

But first, a little background.

I travel to several different hospitals, so I get to do sleep studies in various facilities. Also, each hospital has the sleep lab set up differently. This particular night, I was at a hospital where the sleep rooms are down the hall from the control room.

Anyway, when a patient is ‘hooked up’ there are a ton of wires all over the place. These wires are plugged into what’s called a ‘Head Box’. This Head Box is attached by a cable to an amplifier in the patient’s room.

The amplifier then transfers the data from the patient to the control room where I sit. There’s also an infrared camera with a two-way speaker in the patients room so we can talk back and forth.

patients

(By the way, that’s me, cleverly disguised as a sleep study patient. Hey, check out those crazy wires! (It was one of my students first attempt at a hookup. Not bad, huh?)).

Anyway, one of the instructions I give my patients is the need to let me know if they need to get up; say to use the bathroom, or something. This is because I have to go into their room and disconnect the Head Box.

Now you see him, now you Don’t

So here I am, sitting at the computers, doing some paperwork. The studies have been running for a few hours by now. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, a red square appears on one of the monitors. I look up to see the red ‘Loss of Signal’ icon. My lightning fast brain also notices that the patient’s signals have flat lined!! :-0 !!

I take a quick look at the t.v monitor, but the bed is empty!!  Double  :-0 !!! ! So I go tearing down the hall wondering just what I’ll find, as this guy said nothing about sleep walking. Arriving at his room, I carefully open the door not knowing what to expect. I mean, I hope he’s still in there!!

It’s dark, except for some light coming through a partially open bathroom door. And there, Head Box in one hand, and opening the bathroom door with the other, stands my patient. Stopping dead in his tracks, he looks at me in surprise and says:

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you!”

Knowledge is Power

Allow me a moment of seriousness.

As a sleep technologist, I wear many hats. One of which is that of a teacher. I talk with my patients about the dangers of untreated sleep apnea as much as they’ll listen. Some listen in silence. Others ask a ton of questions. And then there are those who don’t really seem like they want to know anything, or maybe they’re just too tired to care at the moment.

However, many people just don’t realize that having a sleep study can lead to a huge improvement in their quality of life. Therefore, whether they’re too stubborn, or just in denial, education plays a key role in their treatment. That’s because a knowledgeable patient is a receptive patient.

Consequently, I’ll I talk to them and share as much as they really want to know; even though I don’t know everything myself. On the other hand, I do know enough to do what I do, and I do it quite well.

Closing Thoughts

So how’re you feeling right now? I mean, you’ve read this far (unless you skipped down to this part), therefore you must have some type of interest in sleep problems.

If that’s the case, I’d really like to hear from you, as there are so many people out there struggling, and looking for answers. What you share might be just what they need to hear.

Hey, saving lives is fun, please join me in this quest if you will, and share what you know, and/or have experienced. Your comment could actually lead to changing someone’s life for the better.

Thanks for letting me have some of your time. Till next week…

Blessings