Posted by: admin in on July 25th, 2010

When I arrived at the sleep clinic for my sleep study, there was one other person there before me.  He was a very large fellow and had to use one of those electric mobility carts to get around rather than walking.  I understand that extra tissue around the neck would certainly contribute to snoring, and this guy appeared to be a prime candidate for weight loss to remedy whatever sleep apnea or snoring problem he might be experiencing.  I felt a little bit more uneasy that being only slightly overweight that I was having these issues myself.

Anyway after they took my check for the downpayment I was escorted down a hall and to a room with a bed, desk and TV/VCR combo unit and a separate bathroom.  I noted that the room had a video camera mounted in the upper corner pointed squarely at the bed. It was fairly early and was not close to my regular “bed time” so I was told to take an hour or so to get comfortable and get in my pajamas.  I usually only wear boxers to bed and never appreciated wearing and pajamas growing up.  Anyway, I got in a t-shirt and a lightweight jogging pants.  After reading a few pamphlets and magazines that were in the room, the sleep technician came back.  He popped in a video in the TV and told me to watch the 30 minute show that would tell me more about durable medical equipment and explain the process.  I had no idea what durable medical equipment referred to however I was soon to find out.  The video had little or nothing to do with the sleep study itself, but rather focused mainly on styles of CPAP machines and how they fit.  I was pretty nervous and somewhat upset at the thought that I had already been “diagnosed” as having sleep apnea and should be familiarizing myself with the durable medical equipment at this phase. The video was produced by the maker of one of the CPAP products which also bothered me in that I felt that it was biased toward their solution (a CPAP machine) for sleep apnea.  After the video was over the sleep technician came back in the room and started fitting my head, chest, legs and index finger with electrodes and sensors to capture my brain waves, breathing,
involuntary movements and my oxygen levels in my blood.  This process was all pretty interesting to me although once I was hooked up to all the wires, it was nearly impossible to move.  I also was instructed to lie on my back to keep the sensor wires from getting tangled.

As I have always had a preference to being a side-sleeper.  The fact is that this after the sleep study was over bothered me as I know if I am on my back I will be snoring loudest and have the most difficulty breathing… at least that is when my wife informs me!  This seemed to me that the study was trying to enhance the sleep apnea to it’s highest possible level rather than get a good indication what I am typically experiencing.  Anyway, I did feel like I got OK sleep during the clinic, probably as I didn’t have to get nudged by my wife.  After getting unhooked and showered up, I took a short walk around the streets of the medical campus.  I had about an hour before the appointment with the sleep doctor to review the results of the study.

The results were that I had “moderate” sleep apnea.  I figured this was the case anyway as I usually woke up tired and my wife constantly telling me about all the intermittent breathing throughout the night that I usually exhibited.  He went over the typical treatments, but again only recommended getting a CPAP machine and downplayed all the rest. He produced a business card for me of the company he recommended I purchase it from and told me they could help make arrangements to get one of them.  I asked him about the typical cost for the units and found out they could easily cost $1600, but that my insurance would probably cover some of it.  Some of the parts were supposed to be replaced once or twice a year and they could add an additional $200 or $300.  

Ouch!  I didn’t feel comfortable proceeding with the purchase until I had discussed it with my wife.  The doctor also informed me that I should sign up for another sleep study just for the purpose of getting the CPAP machine adjusted to my liking – apparently there is a dial for the pressure somewhere on the unit.  I really was getting the feeling that the whole process was geared toward selling the CPAP technology.

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