Monday, September 15, 2008

Please get tested

Some of my regular readers- maybe all three of you- may have noticed an increase in my posting the last couple months. I've hesitated writing about what's going on because I've written too much about my health problems the last couple years, and I also wanted to wait and see if the change is real. It is.

I have sleep apnea, and probably have had for a few years. I never got tested, partially because many of the symptoms could also have been caused by other, known health problems I had. But as they were eliminated one by one and the symptoms continued, I finally listened to Ginger and got myself tested. Not only did I have apnea, i had a severe case- they got me a CPAP machine the same day.

The difference is amazing. Now I sleep when i sleep- real REM sleep, too, complete with dreams. When I wake up, I'm actually awake- no more staggering around with "the stares" for an hour or two until I've gotten a pot of coffee under my belt. Oh, there are side benefits- like that "not dying early" thing- but the way I feel in the morning alone is worth more than I can tell. Compared to the way I felt before using the CPAP machine, it's like being on crystal meth, except without the psychosis and damaged internal organs.

So if you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, get yourself tested. It is real, and the consequences are severe. I quote from The American Sleep Apnea Association website: "Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes." Many doctors say that warning isn't worded strongly enough.

Get yourself tested.


ogre said...

Amen, Joel.

I got tested as part of TMJ treatment, and was just short of a moderate case. The corrective ortho work (and the mouth appliance I get to wear at night when I'm out of ortho) will correct it, in my case.

But the difference was obvious, particularly when I had to stop wearing the appliance to do the orthodontic work--I immediately noticed being slower and less alert, and more fatigued.

Get tested. If there's any suggestion -- like snoring -- get tested.

ms. kitty said...

I'm so glad you got tested and learned what the problem was, Joel. Very smart!

Joel Monka said...

If I were smart, I'd have done it a couple years ago!

Tyler said...

Thank you Joel for mentioning this. My sister died several years ago, and while the full circumstances of her death are still undetermined (a long and complicated story), we believe that her severe sleep apnea may well have played a part.

Robin Edgar said...

"If I were smart, I'd have done it a couple years ago!"

You might want to review the last couple of years worth of blog posts to see if you might have written some of them differently if you weren't sleep deprived. . . You may recall that on at least I few occasions I thought that you were not posting with all of your faculties intact. I wasn't joking when I suggested that. The effects of sleep deprivation can be as bad as, or worse, than being drunk or otherwise intoxicated.

I have often said that I believe that getting 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day should be enshrined as a basic human right. Of course that would add one more human right to the list of human rights that are being disregarded by the Bush administration at Guantanamo etc.

Tirya said...

My husband was tested several years ago, after I told him that I had listened to him stop breathing several times a night. He was put on a CPAP and it made a HUGE difference in his level of restedness, his mental alertness, and his overall health and demeanor.

I'm sleeping easier, too, because I'm not subconsiously listening for him to resume breathing again...

Glad to hear it's working well for you!

Joel Monka said...

Robin, I wouldn't be suprised at all if there had been such an effect. I'm not going to change any of them, though. A blog is- at least mine is- a personal record as much as a soap box, a form of public diary. It will be an interesting study for me in later years, to see how I responded to what was going on in my world. The difference in tone, subject matter, and thought processes from the period when I was in such pain that it took hydrocodone to be able to walk to the bathroom are obvious to me now, for example. What helps me understand me, helps me understand everyone.

Tyler, my heart goes out to you.

Tirya, I'm glad it worked so well for him- and gratified that you're a reader!

Robin Edgar said...

I didn't say revise your blogs I simply said "review" them. There were at least a few where I thought your judgment was seriously impaired by meds or something and it now appears that you are pretty much acknowledging that fact aka truth.