If you snore, read this! Part Two

By Wendell R. McMillan II

If you missed part one, you can read it here.

As I look back on this now, 2007 was a VERY pivotal year for me. Jan 1 was my calendar quit date after completing The American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program. Our son was born in September, premature, and had to spend his first week in the NICU and I discovered I had sleep apnea.

My sleep study was scheduled for 04/12/2007. That was a Thursday and Keischa would be on-call so the thought was it shouldn’t disturb our home routines any. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that it couldn’t hurt to see what was going on with my sleep. Heck, it might even feel like a little getaway in a hotel room for a night.

I went to a pretty non-discript building in downtown Baltimore. Even though it was a Thursday night, I could see evidence of people partying…way too much. I really miss that city some times. But I digress. I went to the office, checked in and was given instructions for the night. I can’t remember the exact instructions I was given but I remember I wasn’t supposed to take any naps, no alcohol or caffeinated beverages or foods for at least 12 hours before. This included chocolate, cocoa etc.

A very nice gentleman introduced himself and showed me to my room. I wished I remembered his name and his story as I remember it was quite interesting. He was an immigrant and this was his second job, not a bad gig as I look back on it. The room was nothing to Tweet about, that’s for sure. Probably 2.5 stars on a 5 point scale. I didn’t notice any two way mirrors so the cameras must have been well hidden. I changed into my pajamas (yes, you can wear your own clothes) and waited for the tech to come back out and put on the sensors.

Now this is where it started to become clinical. They put sensors EVERYWHERE it seemed. On my legs, abdomen, chest, head… Bruh, how was I supposed to sleep with all of this crap on? I just knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep in this strange room, with some dude watching me on a camera, and sensors recording my every move. Boy, was I wrong. After lights out, the next thing I remember was him coming to wake me up, telling me they got some good data and that I should be hearing from my doctor in a few days. I got dressed and went to work. If you have any anxiety about the test, don’t. In looking back on the results, I fell asleep clinically in 7.5 minutes. I guess I might have been a bit tired then.

As far as those results go… I am sooooo glad Keischa was at the doctor that day to snitch on me and there was an attending physician there who cared. The total recording time from lights out to lights on was 410 minutes (6.8 hours). The electroencephalogram (EEG) confirmed my sleep time to be 357 minutes or 5.95 hours. Here’s where you need to really take note. I had a total of 115 respiratory events, 24 obstructive apneas and 91 hypopneas. My respiratory disturbance index was 19.3, which is considered moderate. What this means is that I STOPPED BREATHING 24 TIMES AND MY OXYGEN LEVELS DROPPED A TOTAL OF 91 TIMES! Need I say more?

In the next post, I’ll talk about the follow-up study where I was fitted with a CPAP device. In the meantime, please visit www.sleepapnea.org for more information and take some of the sleep quizzes to see where you stand. Most importantly, be honest with yourself.