Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let's Try This Again

So I did this sleep study a week ago today.  It was at Dr. SnoozeAndDoze's office building.  I arrived there and was given papers to fill out about how I was feeling on the sleepiness/tiredness scale, when I last had caffeine, when my last meal was, and so on.  Then I got into my jammies and waited for George the technician to come back to do the first of two sessions of hookups to wires.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The room was very nice.  There were at least four private rooms.  Mine had a double bed, TV, desk and chair, and a very nice bathroom to go with the very nice room.  When I first saw the bed, the bedspread looked to me like a high-priced Persian rug which gave the room a particular atmosphere, and of course I said, "It looks like a bordello in here!"  Nothing like embarrassing myself right off the bat.  What does that mean anyway....."right off the bat".  I know it means "immediately", but how did the saying get started?  Probably from baseball.  DUH.  I'll have to Yahoo that.  Hang on a second.....Here it is, straight off the Online Etymology Dictionary web site:

"right off the bat is 1914, earlier hot from the bat (1888), probably a baseball metaphor"

Well, I'm so glad I looked that up.  Another DUH.  Excuse me for a moment while I go roll my eyes.

Okay, so I was at the bordello, I mean sleep lab, and George hooked up all these electrode thingys to my head, face, across just below my collarbone, and on my legs.  They're all wired together and the ends meet in this---I don't know what to call it---a giant plug kind of thing.  This goop he glommed on my hair to help the thingys stick to my scalp was just gross but, fortunately, water soluble.  Big globs of what looked and felt like Silly Putty, only stiffer, thicker, and sticky.  By the time he finished, I looked like the Bride of Frankenstein waiting for Igor to meet her for a little thrill in the graveyard, you know?  Then he draped the big plug whatever and wires across my shoulders and said he would be back at bedtime for the second round of wiring.

In the meantime, I read the newspaper, worked the puzzles, had a little snack, and took my nighttime meds.  George dropped back by and connected me to the other big plug end and ports/whatever coming from the wall.  He also put two stretchy cloth bands about 2 inches wide across my chest and middle.  I don't know what those were for.  Then he took this torture device (a rubber tube with two prongs to put into my nose and an upside down prong to go in front of my mouth) and put that on my face and over my ears.  That was to measure my breathing.  I don't take kindly to having anything near or on my face like that.  When I've been in the hospital and had to have oxygen through the little prongs in the nose....well, it didn't happen.  I always sat them on that dented space between my nose and upper lip and hoped for the best.  What's that space called?  Shoot, now I need to Yahoo that.  Hold on....it's called the philtrum.  (You can't say that this blog is not educational!)  But since the major point of the sleep study was to see if I stop breathing when I sleep, I sucked it up and endured the miserable thing.

I don't know how they can expect anyone to sleep with all this crap on.  George said I slept more than I thought I did, but you couldn't prove it by me.  Fortunately, I did sleep enough that all the important data was collected and enough of it was collected to come to a diagnosis.  I find out the official result when I see Dr.SnoozeAndDoze tomorrow afternoon (George was legally not permitted to tell me), but I already have a pretty good suspicion of what it is.  Why?  Because before I left the next morning, I had to sign a paper that said I was aware that I had demonstrated all the symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of Obstructed Sleep Apnea and I understood that I should not drive or operate heavy machinery if I'm sleepy or tired.

So if OSA is the official diagnosis, then I'll have to use a CPAP machine or a mouth splint or something to keep the air passages open.  I don't see how I can possibly sleep with a mask on my face and air being blown through my breathing passages.  But a lot of people do it, so I guess I can, too, if it comes to that.

And Then We Meet Dr. OhMyAchyBody

George came in at 6:00 AM the next morning to unhook all the wires, electrodes, elves, and ladybugs from me.  Then I had a shower to get all the Silly Putty glop out of my hair.  The bathroom was gorgeous.  Nice shower.  All these miniature bars of soap and little bottles of shampoo/conditioner, soft and thick bath towels.  Very posh.  Then I filled out the remaining papers and headed home.  Then my better half and I went across the road to Bob Evans for breakfast.  Hey now....I deserved bacon after the night I had!  After that, I dropped her off at home and headed to the office.

When I got to work, there were two voice mail messages for me.  At this point, I had not yet been contacted by anyone from Dr. OhMyAchyBody's office.  Now I had two messages!  One had come about half an hour after I had left work the day before and the other had come about half an hour before I got to work that morning.  It turned out that there was a cancellation and could I come see Dr. OhMyAchyBody at 11:30 that same morning?  And could they e-mail a whole bunch of papers and forms to fill out and bring with me to the appointment?  "Sure," says I, "I really don't want to work this morning anyway."  I knew it would take a long while to fill out everything and I was right.

So I went to Norwood where the office is located.  Dr. OhMyAchyBody whacked me all over my body with yet another torture device.  Yep, it's official, I have a lot of pain.  Well, no sh#t, Sherlock!  She was amazed at my high SED rate.  She also wanted to know if I have dry mouth and/or dry eyes.  No, I don't, and why was she asking.  Because those are the two primary symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome, and she's thinking that I may have that because I have the third biggie symptom----are you ready for this?----chipmunk face.  Excuse me, I have what?  Chipmunk face!  CHIPMUNK FACE!!!  I just thought I had cute puffy cheeks.  Nooooo.  I have freaking CHIPMUNK FACE!!!  In professional lingo, chipmunk face means that my parotid glands are swollen.  The parotid glands are the salivary glands beneath each ear.  Sjogren's Syndrome is:

"....a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune defenses attack the salivary glands, the lacrimal glands (glands that produce tears), and occasionally the skin's sweat and oil glands. In some cases, the illness also affects the lungs, liver, vagina, pancreas, kidneys and brain. Most people with this disease are women who first develop symptoms during middle age. In about 50 percent of cases, the illness occurs together with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), scleroderma or polymyositis."

Dr. OhMyAchyBody has ruled out polymyositis and Dr. Dracula had already ruled out lupus.  I looked up the symptoms for scleroderma and I'm pretty sure that's a definite "no", too.  It wasn't even mentioned in passing.  And let me stress, as the good doctor said, this is not a diagnosis, it is just a musing, a weak guess at this point.  Sjogren's is not the only thing that can cause the parotid glands to swell.  I signed all the forms so that she could get my records from Dr. Dracula and Dr. Evil to see all the tests that have been done so far and their results.  Then she can determine if she needs to have any other tests done or if she can make a diagnosis from the tests I've already had.

Now you're all caught up and know as much about my condition as I do.  And I bet you've already looked in the mirror to see if you have CHIPMUNK FACE!!!  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Personally I think chipmunk cheeks are darling! I knew that sleep lab thing was going to be a.....not so fun experience. However, you've endured. $50 says you never get a doctor to a solid diagnosis. Oops..I think I forgot a decimal point there. However, your writing just gets better and better. I would have absolutely no sense of humor left by now. Thanks for sharing. I feel 'edjecated'.