Sleep Study, My Foot!

9 Oct

Sleep deprivation process is more like it.

I took my nighttime medicines before I left the house, and arrived at the hospital shortly before 9PM, pretty much ready to go to sleep. I had a zillion forms to fill out, most of them asking for the same information over and over again. Don’t these departments speak to each other? And then came the “wiring up”.

I had electrodes in my hair, on each temple, one on each cheek and another on either side of my mouth. Electrodes on each leg and two on my chest. There was also a nasal cannula meant to track how much air I breathed in, and a belt around my waist and my upper chest. All the wires were connected at the back of my head, and I was told to sleep tight.


I have been trained practically since infancy to sleep flat on my back. Sleeping on your side, so I was told, makes one round shouldered, deforms your rib cage, twists your hips, and dislocates your insides. The gospel according to my mother.

I said my regular prayers and then prayed, individually, for just about everybody I could think of, from the President to the guys who collect our trash. Doors opening and closing, strange rattles, what sounded like a meal cart rumbling down the hallway, and my technician popping into the room from time to time added to the fun. Sometime in the night he did ask me to roll over onto my side, but after a short time, I rang back and asked how long I had to stay this way, because I couldn’t breathe. OK. He said he’d never had a patient that couldn’t sleep  on their side. I pushed the two pillows together and put my head in the space between them, so the wires didn’t press so badly into the back of my skull.

At one point I heard a repeated five beep sound, and I was hoping that meant it was 5 AM, as they were supposed to get us up at 6:00. The tech came into my room, and I asked him if it was time to get up, but it was only 3:30. It turned out the beeping sound was caused by the person in the room next to me having dislodged the oxygen sensor on his (or her) finger. Rats. My legs were giving me trouble (I have Restless Leg Syndrome) so I asked if I could get up and take another pill. That did, finally, put me to sleep!

The tech came in at 6, and disconnected me. I put on my clothes, shoved my wig over my gummy hair, and went to the bathroom to wash the goop off my face. I left the hospital at 6:30, was home a little before 7, fed the critters, and shoved The Squire over to his own side of the bed at 7:15. He woke me at 9:15, so I could go to a meeting at church at 10, but I came back afterward and slept another hour.

The only indignity I avoided was the staff trying to fit me for a CPAP machine. Many, many years ago, someone beat me up and then tried to smother me with a pillow, and ANYTHING over my face sends me into an Olympic-class flat spin. We’ve danced the CPAP dance before, with less than happy results. The staff even has to watch me when I come out of anesthesia after surgery, because if I wake up with the oxygen mask over my face, I flip out. It’s not a pretty sight.

So now it is about 8 PM, and I am going to take my meds and go sleep, unencumbered, in my own bed

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