The smiling doctor greeted me with a handshake. He glanced over a few notes, looked in my throat, listened to my lungs, asked me a few questions.
He was certain I have sleep apnea. “To determine what type of sleep apnea you have, we must conduct a sleep study,” he explained.
Not what I wanted to hear. I was certain he’d say, “Yep, you have it. Here, take this mask thing and try to sleep with it covering your face and everything will be better in the morning.”
We don’t always get what want, and soon I was scheduled for a sleep study. A nice lady explained things in a phone call. She told me to arrive at 8 p.m. and “everyone is gone by 6 in the morning.” She asked if I had questions and I had lots of them, but didn’t want to sound like a curmudgeon or a wimp, so I didn’t ask.
In a day or so, I received a little brochure explaining the procedure. It made me chuckle, informing me that clothing is required and that underwear doesn’t count. I wondered if I should buy new pajamas for this adventure, but decided against that expense.
There was a video available, so I watched it and found it reassuring. I feared that all of us “sleepers” would be set up in a row of curtain shrouded cubicles and we’d be subjected to hearing our neighbors snore, talk in their sleep and whatnot.
No, we’d each have a room.
Finally I screwed my courage to the sticking point and showed up for the sleep study. I walked up to the check-in window and announced, “Hello, I’m here to sleep.” I got all checked in and was led to a room by a lovely lady who advised, “The video recording starts when you enter the room, so you’ll want to change in the bathroom.” The bathroom was right across the hall, so that took care of one concern.
“What time do you go to bed?” a friendly man whose patient I would be for the night asked.
“Around 11,” I answered and he told me he’d be back later to get me ready.
Meanwhile, I watched TV (Yippee, there was a TV!!) and enjoyed the lovely breeze from the fan in the corner of the room. (Evidently, I’m not the only person who needs a fan!)
Then came the prep room. We had a good conversation while he hooked me up to wires upon wires. He explained everything he was doing. I wondered how I was going to sleep with all this stuff on me. Wires to my legs, wires to my head. A band around my chest and a band around my abdomen. A box into which all the wires connected around my neck.
A quick trip to the bathroom when all the paraphernalia was attached was scary. I glanced in the mirror and saw X’s on my forehead. Oh, dear, I’ve joined the Manson family!!
Per instructions I was on my back while my caretaker for the evening ran a little test to make sure everything was working properly. It was the standard “look left, look right, curl your right toes, curl your left toes.”
He made sure I had the call button and I warned him I’d be visiting the bathroom several times. “Whatever you need,” he assured me. “Just ring the call button.”
He told me I could sleep in my usual position and said goodnight. My usual position is on my right side, right arm under the pillow, left arm on top of the pillow. Impossible when restricted with electronic restraints.
Jimmy Fallon was on the TV and I wondered if I’d get any sleep at all.
To be continued …