Monday, January 7, 2008

Sleep Apnea

This morning the most amazing thing happened. My hunny woke up an hour early, refreshed and ready to start his day. I was shocked, but not beyond words, because I was waiting for this to happen. But it was still shocking.

For as long as we've been married, I can't recall one day when my hunny has awakened refreshed. From the very beginning it frustrated me that he spent our Saturday mornings in bed, lollygagging around, while I was ready to go flea marketing or do yard work. What the heck? And he'd come home from work dragging.

Over the years he put on weight (I did too, so I couldn't complain too much), his blood pressure shot through the roof, and he's struggled with chronic depression. He's tried exercise - always being more tired instead of energized afterward - modified diet - we've done that healthy vegetable thing 9 ways to Sunday - and going to bed earlier. Nothing has worked.

My aunt was diagnosed with sleep apnea five or six years ago, so you'd think that would trigger some alarm bells in one of our thick skulls, right? You'd think wrong. It wasn't till the first week of December, lying in bed, trying to sleep (it takes me a good hour to turn my brain off after the lights are out), that I realized that the familiar noise next to me might be a problem. My hunny snores, but that has never kept me awake, since it's not a snore to wake the dead. I think now that that's because it was constantly interrupted every time he stopped breathing. You read that right - he stopped breathing. He'd be lightly snoring, then he'd be very quiet (I didn't realize he wasn't breathing), then he'd sputter and cough like an old car, then go back to snoring.

That night it occurred to me that the cessation of noise might just be cessation of breath, so I said something to him the next morning. I wondered aloud why he stopped breathing, suggested sleep apnea, and he spent a good chunk of the morning researching. It turns out depression and high blood pressure are symptoms of sleep apnea. As is falling asleep at work. And while driving. It also turns out he hadn't wanted to tell me about all the times he fell asleep at the wheel while commuting in Florida. Argh!

So he calls our wonderful doctor, whose praises I can't sing highly enough (if you live in Tulsa and are looking for a good doctor, email me: fleabyte@gmail.com), and got an appointment the next day. They talked for a bit and she was ecstatic to have a source for all of the little uglies that she's been treating without great success, the aforementioned blood pressure and depression. She immediately referred him to a sleep clinic and an ENT. His sleep study was three days before Christmas and they found that the CPAP machine, used to force oxygen through his nose and keep him breathing, worked very well for him. He came home at 6 am bouncing off the walls because he'd had four hours of sleep and was feeling GREAT! Didn't I want to feel great with him and celebrate his sleep? Huh? Did I? Wake up and revel in the new refreshed hunny! No, I wanted to go back to sleep and did.

It seems he stopped breathing quite a few times an hour, sometimes up to a minute. And never ever going into REM sleep, the deep sleep where a person dreams. No wonder his blood pressure was sky high! He wasn't getting any oxygen! It was an awful thing.

It took two weeks to get his CPAP machine, mostly because of the back to back holidays. It near about killed my hunny to go that long, knowing what real sleep felt like, how it felt to be awake and alive. But just last week he got his machine (see it up there?). It has taken three or four days to really catch up on his sleep, which we expected. Adjusting to the machine took a bit of doing, but he thinks it might just be because he needed to find the right sized mask, which he did last night (they sent him a box full of different sized masks). And sleeping with the mask and tube took some adjustment, leaving him with kinked back and neck muscles the first couple of days. But this morning he woke up before the alarm, ready to go, happy to be alive! It was almost more than my poor heart could take.

Our doctor and the ENT seem to think that his weight and blood pressure will both start to improve pretty quickly. Even if they don't, he's already started working on it. Our poor kids aren't going to know what to do with the new daddy, the one who makes them work and works right along with them. As long as he doesn't do it to me. :)

Speaking of work, I have some homework to do, as well as some ironing. Guess which I'm going to do first? If you guessed shower, you're RIGHT! Yay! (go ahead and scream)

Until I write again ...

Flea

P.S. My hunny has volunteered to let me interview him about his sleep apnea if any of you are interested in his side. For your reluctant husbands. So if that's the case, hit me with questions, or just say yes, please.

13 comments:

Melissa said...

Aren't CPAP's a wonderful thing. I sued to call the hubs SnoreMan but now I can't anymore, the CPAP has stopped that in it's tracks.

Here's hoping for lots more sleepful nights for your hunny and mine.

Flea said...

Yay for you! It's the best thing ever. How did you all figure it out?

KIDZMAMA said...

So glad you figured it out. He's going to be a whole new man. With all this great sleeping he may even start a new hobby, make new friends, want to go on vaction. Have I gone too far?

Anyway you look at it it's great news. Congrats to the hubby.

The Nester said...

Hello there, I followed you here from Pioneer Woman. Don't have time to read much--some scary show's coming on downstairs so I need to go upstairs now, away from the computer. I call my man my honey-maybe we have lots more in common! Can't wait to find out!

Flea said...

Hi Nester! Glad to have you here!

Kidmama, you get as carried away as you want!I LOVE it when my hunny has good friends, fun hobbies and wants to take us camping! All things he wanted to do but just couldn't before. Going to far is dragging me out to do yard work, wash the car, vacuum the house and clean grout with a toothbrush. THOSE are the things I fear.

Candace, I know you're out there and you KNOW what I mean. :D

Maria said...

Oh thank you SO much for posting this! I just printed it out and ran upstairs to wake my snoring sleep apnea husband and made my husband listen while I read it to him. I've known for a long time my husband has had it and he always had a million excuses for it, he has a cold, etc. I told him I'm making his appointment in the morning. Every morning he gets up, sits on the chair and falls right back to sleep. He's gained weight. His patience aren't as good. I'm hoping this will help him to lose weight, too. I will definately let you know how it worked out!

Flea said...

Oh Maria, I'm so glad to help. I really hope your husband sees the doc and gets the sleep study. The nurse told my hunny that most people, having gone thru the study, are in denial and won't get the machine right away. It's hard to admit there's something wrong, when we really want to desperately think that we can DO something, like exercise, or modify our sleeping and eating habits. And the machine makes a night and day difference. Best of all, for our frugal selves, the study and machine were 100% covered by our insurance!

Best of luck!

Poltzie said...

I can only imagine what you and your husband will do with his new found energy...
Congrats though, my dad was diagnosed years ago but refused to use the machine until about 6 months ago. We were all worried he would die in his sleep (or in his car) and it was a horrible feeling. I'm glad that your hunny was so open to it right away!

Flea said...

Thank Poltzie. And now it's time take my hunny to bed and turn on the machine. :) Yay!

Karen said...

Good lands! I'm so glad you got that straightened out and nothing serious happened all those years commuting. Here's to many years of restful sleep for both of you.

Flea said...

Thanks Karen. :)

Melissa said...

The hubs snored loud enough that I could hear him at the other send of the house, then the high cholesterol started and depression. Now if I could just get him to wear the thing every night. Sheesh!!

Candace said...

Yes, I am here LOL Hmmm... he doesn't snore, atleast not very often and never very loudly. However, I did catch him not breathing a few months ago. It was eerie. Since he sleeps days and works nights I stood and watched him forever and he only did it once... that time. I told him about it, but as with most things that is as far as it went. And I KNOW he won't get a machine. I will have to mention this to him though.