Updated: Dec 8, 2018
Don't you just love when you are told to do something you are prone to do regardless, and
yet when you are told to do it you forget how to for some reason? Well, this week I had to go through my precautionary sleep study. The last time I did this I was three, maybe five years old. All I remembered was me, a sleep-deprived child with cables strapped on to her head freaking the hell out. What I did not remember was how to sleep, but lets back up this nightmare just a bit.
This shitty night began with no idea of direction. I had no clue where the appointment was. I just had a name. It could have been the street. It could have been the building. No clue. Since the facility where the study takes places is only open during the night there is no one to reach during the day. Let's fast forward to me actually getting there.
I was surprised by the hotel like rooms. Thus, while my mother bickered with the only nurse in the whole facility about the communication problems that she had no control over I took in every inch of the room while thinking: "this is it. You just have to sleep. You do this every night". Even though the room resembled something your mom's friend would find acceptable as a guest room it felt staged like something out of Bates Motel. It was like I was gonna be murdered in the room and people were going to watch from a hidden camera (which there was).
How does the test work you say? Well, you know in the first X-Men movies where dr. Zavier had a machine that helped him find other x-men and he had cables hooked up to his head? That's pretty much it. The nurse walked in with one fist full of cables and the other full of glue wipes that smelt like stale fruit loop bars. She then expected me to be okay with her putting sticky little nipple stickers all over my hair... I take pride in my hair. For years I have been protecting my hair from chemicals that society dictates to be helpful, and this woman is putting breakfast smelling glue all over it. Ladies don't want sticky white stuff in their hair.
Apparently, Dr. Sandman (that's what I'm calling him) decided to do a split study. Let me break it down for you. A split study is when one is forced to sleep without their BiPAP (which I have slept with every night for twenty years and I am not ashamed of and believe that everyone should have.) for half of the night. Followed by the other half of the night where the nurse is fucking with your settings (which changes the amount of airflow that comes out of the BiPAP).
Here is my journey to falling asleep. All I could think about when trying to sleep without my BiPAP was the memory of being a kid, and being woken up for school by my mother at six AM and trying to fall back asleep without my BiPAP, however, surprise I have sleep apnea and I would wake up on the verge of death every time. Let the record show that I would keep trying to fall back asleep. It would be an understatement to say that I was freaking the phalange out. So, I decided to start thinking happy thoughts. "My future," I said, "Think about your ideal future". It's midnight and I'm in my vibrant, yet sleek apartment in Atlanta doing a freelance job for Cosmo. I'm very enthused, my assistant, who is also my best friend, is not. She's tired and wants to go the fuck home. My life partner walks in (I call him that because I don't want to give him the satisfaction of reminding him that he tricked me into marriage) and tells me I'm working way too hard. He then puts Winifred, my three-legged kitten, on my desk. Suddenly I hear my moms phone beeping and I snap out of it. (I'll never forgive her for that.) This kept happening throughout the night. Beautiful, sleepy, fantasies, followed by phone beeping until the nurse walked in and told me I was sleeping too well without the BiPAP and that I needed to get a little uncomfortable. Which made me think "well mini glow, we have come a long way since our 6 am death naps", but that was the upside. The downside is my final settings ended up being way higher than they should have because I spent half the night with no breathing assistance followed by a mask that was practically turned off the settings were so low. Overall my sleep study, ironically, ended up being a sleepless night.
Lesson to be learned? I have come a long way. I think I underestimate how strong I am, and the shit I can get away with. I really didn't think I was gonna get through this night. That sounds stupid, but it was pretty stressful. It feels good to know that I don't need to depend on a machine anymore. Don't get me wrong, I want it, and I love it, so insurance please pay for it, but it gives me peace of mind to know that I can take sneaky 6 am naps like normal people do.