I didn’t write about the sleep study on Sunday like I meant to, mostly because it kind of ended up fizzling as an entertaining story, but a couple of people have asked me about it from Real Lifetm so why not. The thing I was most prepared to be annoyed about was that I was expecting to be told to go immediately to bed upon returning home with the equipment. I believed this because 1) when my mother had a similar trial many years ago they wired her up and told her to go straight to sleep at, like, 7:30, and 2) my doctor told me that was what was going to happen. Sleep at 7:30 simply wasn’t going to be possible, so I was looking forward to many hours of laying with my eyes closed in a not-especially-dark room (we have, in 12 years of living in this house, somehow not managed to acquire curtains for all of the windows in our bedroom) and just … existing.
I made sure I was done with caffeine for the day before noon, which is not normally my move, and tried to be a bit more active than usual, hoping that Tired would set in, and indeed I did manage to elicit some yawns while I was driving to the hospital at, oh, 6:30 or so. I had three different shirts with me because I wasn’t clear about my instructions and didn’t quite know whether they were going to be putting any sensors directly onto my skin or, conversely, wanted to avoid putting sensors straight on my skin; instructions to wear a “button-up shirt or a pajama shirt” seemed slightly contradictory, especially for someone who sleeps in a pair of basketball shorts and nothing else on all but the coldest nights. Sleeping with a shirt on was going to make the whole process even more complicated.
Anyway, it ended up all not mattering; the most interesting parts of the actual wiring-up bit were 1) taking my picture, both from in front and profile; 2) measuring my neck for some reason; 3) having to sign a form stating that if I broke or lost any of the equipment I was on the hook for $5300, I hate you America; and 4) discovering that not only did the shirt not especially matter (I went ahead and wore it, because the nurse suggested the straps could get uncomfortable, which seemed reasonable) but that I should go to bed at my normal time. This was mostly good news, although it meant I had to sit around my house all evening with the equipment on.
I did not take any pictures with the equipment on, by the way. I thought about it and then looked at what the straps were doing to my man-tits in the mirror and … nah. I love y’all but not that much. Here, if you want to see me looking ridiculous, check out this post-LASIK picture.
The actual equipment: a nasal cannula with a little attachment that hung down over my upper lip, both designed to determine whether I was actually breathing; a pulse oximeter attached to my left pointer finger; two elastic straps, one around my stomach and one around my chest, both to measure how much they stretched and contracted as I breathed through the night, and a sort of control box that strapped to the center of my chest and I don’t think actually did anything on its own. I suspect the pulse oximeter was probably the single most important part of the system, as I feel like watching that for eight hours will provide sufficient evidence of whether I’m breathing properly in my sleep or not. Either way it’s going to be a couple of weeks before I hear any results, assuming that nothing disappeared after I put it into the drop box at the hospital the next morning.
Here’s the problem, and yes, I’m an idiot, you don’t need to tell me: I really don’t know if I can wear one of those fucking masks if they decide I actually do have sleep apnea.
I am, and again, I know this is stupid, deeply paranoid about people being able to see me when I’m asleep. I was always the last one to fall asleep and the first one to wake up at slumber parties, and even now with a wife and child, one of whom is in the bed with me every freaking night, I can occasionally be weirdly twitchy about it. And while being asleep around my actual family isn’t much of a thing except on my worst anxiety-melting-my-brain nights, the notion that I might have to be asleep around other people while wearing that ridiculous-looking getup on my face offends me at a deep and primal level. Like, this shit is pre-rational; pure lizard brain. I can’t manage it. I’d literally rather have surgery (and yes, there’s all sorts of paranoia about anesthesia, too, but at least that’s only once) than have to wear that damn mask every night. Surely there’s something they can cut open or cut out or put a stent into or something like that? C’mon. Plus, I’m a stomach sleeper, and granted the whole reason I started pushing for this test in the first place was that if I try to sleep on my back I stop breathing, but I’m pretty sure strapping a 2-1B mask to my face is going to make stomach-sleeping pretty Goddamned uncomfortable, and the idea is that I can sleep however I want, not that I trade one way I can’t sleep for another way I can’t sleep.
At any rate, I’ll let y’all know when I know something.