On that sleep study

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.

Sigh.

At any rate, I’ll let y’all know when I know something.

That time again

This year’s big innovation in classroom design is a couple hundred feet of Bluetooth LED lights that I bought from Amazon for like $19 a roll or something. I have decided that this year I’m in a secure enough financial position that I’m not going to worry too much about how much I spend to outfit my room; I know all the arguments about why teachers shouldn’t have to spend money on this shit (and, believe me, I’ve argued from the other side as often as from mine) and this year I don’t care. I’m gonna be spending eight hours a day in there and God damn it I want the place fun and comfortable. The lights can be controlled from an app on my phone and can cycle through a billion colors or something; I really only need eight or ten so we’re all good there. I don’t know how often they’re going to be on, necessarily, but they’ll be a fun option.

I’ve spent a good couple of hours over the last few days talking with the new principal, and while early emails raised a whole lot of red flags, nearly all of them have been put to bed as soon as in-person conversation became possible. I still have no sense of my assistant principal, who is a very quiet person. Honestly, in a lot of ways, the AP’s job is more important, as the AP is the one who handles discipline. You need an ass-kicker in that role. I am not getting ass-kicker vibes. But we’ll see. Two major “not important in the grand scale but a big deal to me” tests were passed; teachers do not have a dress code and I am not going to be expected to submit lesson plans, provided that I’m actually teaching, which is not going to be a problem.

Two more weekends and we’re back. I have an at-home sleep study tomorrow, have I mentioned that? It’s because my eye doctor thinks I have sleep apnea, a sentence that is 100% true and I have no intention of providing further explanation for. I’m expected to arrive at the hospital at 7:00 PM, where they will hook me up to a bunch of wires and diagnostic devices, then go home with all that shit attached to me and, at, oh, 8:00 or so, depending on how long it takes, go directly to sleep. Which, hah. I’m thinking about getting up at, like, 5:00 in the morning tomorrow and then not touching any caffeine after noon just in hopes of a chance that I’m not tossing and turning in bed all night. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to do any of my usual wind-down shit either; I typically read for at least half an hour before bed and … well.

I’ll tell y’all all about it on Sunday.

Maybe don’t Google this

Here’s a sentence not many people can say: my eye doctor diagnosed me with sleep apnea. That’s completely true, although I don’t think I have it and I have no diagnosis yet from someone whose diagnosis might count. I had an eye appointment a couple of weeks ago, as I’m less happy with the long-term results of my LASIK than I feel like I ought to be and requested a consult. My eye doc then proceeded to confuse the crap out of me by asking repeatedly if I’d ever been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or if I had experienced various and sundry symptoms of sleep apnea, or if I’d ever had a sleep study done.

The answer to all of these questions was no. I absolutely utterly completely can not fall asleep on my back, and am an occasional mild snorer according to my wife, but that’s it. It turns out, though, that I have a severe case of something called “floppy eyelid syndrome,” which I did a GIS for to grab an image for this post and which you should absolutely not do a GIS for. Basically what this means is that my eyelids stretch way more than a normal person’s, which sounds like it shouldn’t be a thing, but it is. I can basically expose the entire orb of my eye if I want to, which I don’t, but it’s possible. And it turns out that you’re not supposed to be able to do that, and it’s not just a party trick, it’s a syndrome.

That’s not the weird thing, though. The weird thing is that floppy eyelid syndrome is very highly correlated with sleep apnea. Nearly 100%, in fact: in other words, nearly 100% of people with floppy eyelid syndrome also have sleep apnea, to the point where it’s actually used as a diagnostic marker for sleep apnea. So my eye doctor suggested I talk to my GP, and as it turned out I had already scheduled a doctor’s appointment a few days later, and my GP shrugged and went ahead and scheduled me for the study, which insurance then denied.

Like, I would like to be able to sleep on my back, but not at the expense of having to strap a CPAP machine to my face while I’m sleeping. My stomach or my side work just fine, thanks. But at the same time I feel like I ought to take this seriously in case it becomes a Thing later on, right? So if they tell me to do a home sleep study, whatever that is, I’ll do it. And in the meantime, I guess I’ll refrain from pulling my eyelids back any further than I need to to put my eyedrops in.