Wednesday night, I had a new sleep study done. This time, instead of a home sleep study, I had to go down to New Hampshire for an in-clinic sleep study. The in-clinic sleep studies are more accurate. When I did the home sleep study, my sleep apnea was pretty severe, but with weight loss, I was hoping to improve enough to qualify for the Inspire implant that treats sleep apnea instead of wearing a CPAP every night. Because of the nerve damage that resulted in me having trigeminal neuralgia, it is very difficult and painful to wear the CPAP at night.

To qualify for the Inspire therapy, you have to prove that the you cannot use the CPAP, which was difficult to convince the Sleep Clinic of in the first place. I had to get my neurologist from the Headache Clinic to contact them. Finally, the Sleep Clinic understood the pain the CPAP caused and ordered a new sleep study to see if my sleep apnea had improved enough to qualify for the Inspire therapy. It had to improve enough to be considered moderate sleep apnea not severe.

Have any of you ever had a sleep study? The home sleep study was bad enough. It involved straps around my abdomen and chest, an oxygen tube in my nose, and a small machine strapped to me. However, at least I was able to sleep in my own bed. The in-clinic sleep study was much more elaborate. I was hooked up to about a dozen electrodes from my calves to the top of my head, tight straps around my abdomen and chest, and a censor in my nose that was taped to my face. In addition, the bed was very firm, which I hate, I had a camera on me all night long with people watching me, and only two flat pillows under my head.

I was able to sleep fitfully through the night, but it was not a restful night of sleep, not because of the sleep apnea as much as the very uncomfortable situation and bed. The woman administering the test was very nice. We chatted for quite a bit as she hooked me up to the equipment and then as she unhooked me in the morning. When I looked in the mirror I had red marks and goo all over my face and in my hair. The sleep study is now over, and I have to wait a week to see what the results will be. The whole thing is very anxiety inducing.

I asked the woman who administered the test if she could tell me anything about the results, but she couldn’t. She knows the answer but can’t tell me because only a doctor is allowed to do that because it would be giving a diagnosis. All she could tell me was that my test went pretty flawlessly. I slept on my back and side like they wanted, I reached REM sleep, and I slept the required length of time. I suspect by the way she discussed things with me (her tone and actions), my sleep apnea is still too severe to qualify for Inspire, but I won’t know for sure until I hear from the doctor about the results. Wish me luck, but I refuse to be optimistic. I don’t want to get my hopes up, just in case they are dashed after the results.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

One response to “Sleep

  • Wes

    Professor, I struggle with a CPAP, it keeps me awake so after my in clinic sleep test and several months of trial and buying it, it has just not worked for me. So I can appreciate your quandary, hope you are a good candidate for Inspire, which I had never heard of until I looked it up. Good luck!

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