Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sleep Study

One of the side effects of Chiari is massive sleep deprivation caused by many factors. My central nervous system continues to be compromised due to permanent nerve damaged cause by my brain tail and continued brain stem kinkage.

At night, I go to bed like every other person on the planet ~ but I don't sleep ~ and if I do happen to fall asleep after hours of tossing and turning I don't stay asleep long. Years of sleep deprivation was taking it's toll on me physically and mentally. I was finally motivated enough to do something about it. In late September, I signed up for a sleep study to determine if I actually have sleep apnea and/or other sleep related disorders that might be preventing me from getting a good nights rest. I had heard stories ~ I was prepared for the cameras on me all night and maybe a handful of electrodes to monitor my sleep patterns ~ but nothing prepared me for the study itself!

Shortly after I arrived at the sleep clinic they stuck electrodes, with wires connected to them, all over my body. They were on my scalp, in my hair, on my forehead and chin, on my collarbone, chest, waist, legs ~ you get the picture ~ I was wired for everything. When it came time to actually turn in for the night, they strapped tight elastic bands around my chest and torso to measure any movement throughout the night. They they tapes a microphone to my neck to pick up any sounds I might make ~ followed by these horrible tubes up my nostrils and don't forget the ever popular pulse-oxygen meter clamped on my index finger. Then they turn out the lights and tell you to get good nights sleep ~ SERIOUSLY????

Did I mention that I watch way too many sci-fi shows ~ I was totally psyching myself out with all the wires on my body ~ good thing they didn't stick anything in my veins or I would have high tailed it out of there. I was already convinced that I was sending signals to the Mother Ship.

Needless to say, it was a very long seven hours before they woke me up to go home ~ I don't know how long I laid in bed tossing and turning (gently at least so I wouldn't rip out all the wires), but I know it was at least a couple of hours before I fell asleep. My follow up appointment is in a couple of weeks. I am very curious to hear what they found out about me and hope that they have a plan of action for me.

Funny thing is ~ I feel like I have not slept a full night in a very long time ~ maybe about 8 or 9 years ~ but losing my job a month ago changed things. For the first time I am sleeping again ~ ironic ~ maybe I was under so much stress with my other job that I had no idea it was keeping me up at night. So, with that huge burden lifted I am finally getting a bit of relief. Did I mention that even with the new recent sleeping at night ~ I am still dog tired ~ true story!

A questions to chiarians out there ~ how wonderful would it be to take away this symptom for good ~ how do you think you would feel if you got 8 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep every night? Do you think it would make it easier to cope with the demands of constant bombardment from our braintails?