Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sleep Clinic ???

      Last Friday night I slept at the sleep clinic . Now sleep clinic is an absolute misnomer as you don't get much shut eye . However , the sleep clinic is the end of my story .

      How did I get to the sleep clinic ? Was it when my daughter slept in the same hotel room and complained the next morning that she had a very poor sleep as one of us snored (my wife of course ) and the other choked . Was it when my children were infants ? Was it stress from my work ?

    Well, let's start from the beginning . I was born in 1939 to a young farm couple who had a very meagre residence ...three rooms insulation or central heating . Eleven and one half months later I had a baby brother and by the time I was two years old I also had a little sister . My poor mother ! But that's another story . This one's on sleep . I can remember the three of us sleeping in one bed which wasn't crowded as we were little . As children we slept soundly even though three little bodies rolled and thrashed around and occasionally fell out of bed .
Later a new house was constructed and we had our own rooms ! Sleep was great . I was young . The house had central heating and was insulated .
I left after high school to attend college and lived in various boarding houses with shared accommodation . I did wake up from time to time with noise from other roomers coming and going . I changed localities very often in my early twenties as I taught and went to university . I spent three years in a very noisy single staff accommodation were there was much coming and going through the night . I remember being awake as I would hear people coming and going in the hallways . Sometimes there were all night parties .

    I lived in a remote northern settlement were my wife was the nurse . She was on call twenty four seven . Many nights she was required to attend to a sick person . We weren't in the habit of locking the house door until people walked into the house and into he bedroom to get the nurse .

     Children arrived and took my attention . I felt a great responsibility for the welfare of my children while they were infants .Hungry , cold or ill children had to be looked after . Teenage children were another thing . From a young age my son liked movies . He would try to sneak downstairs to watch a movie and would get caught . He said ,"Dad, I never got downstairs to watch a movie . You always caught me ."

      My children left home , but my interrupted sleep became worse . For many years I have set my thermostat so that the furnace does not come on after bedtime as I found a running furnace always awakened me . Through all of my poor sleep patterns I never felt fatigued and was always a morning person . I never needed an alarm clock .
In January of 2006 I began to feel fatigue and found it difficult to rise in the morning . When my daughter made the choking observation , I could immediately of sleep apnea as I would be waking up with a jump . In 2007 My family physician referred me to a sleep specialist . The sleep specialist ordered a sleep clinic experience .

     So there I was last Friday evening . Now the sleep clinic really wants to see how badly you sleep so they wire you up from head to toe . They will miss nothing . Sensors are attached to your shins and arms . A belt is put around your chest and another around your stomach . A box about twice the size of a mouse is attached to each belt . All these gizmos are firmly attached with liberal amounts of plastic tape . They tell you you can sleep in any position ...just try it . Then they say ,"Have a good night ."

     As you can well imagine I did not have a very successful sleep . It's not easy sleeping in a strange place with all kinds of material attached to you .
I have not received any results from this ordeal, but I would rather go through the investigation as it is well known , that sleep apnea can lead to many health complications . What happens with sleep apnea is you stop breathing and oxygen levels decrease and your blood pressure rises . The combination can lead to other health problems so I will put up with the discomfort as it may prevent other options which are not positive .

     So , Friday night in a sleep clinic !!! Kind of a bad joke !!!!