Hi, my name is Stuart I live a pretty normal life for a 27 year old, other than the fact that during a night’s sleep my wife was complaining of my very loud snoring. This argument rumbled on for ages, until she said “if you don’t go to the doctors to see if they can sort this we might have to break up”: this is how serious things got for us.
So as I thought I was fine I went to the doctors and apologised for wasting his time. He asked some questions so I told him about my wife’s threats then he asked how I felt, so I opened up and told him I feel just as tired when I get up as when I went to bed. I also had a very short temper and this was not me; as anyone who knows me will tell you I am very laid back. The doctor said straight away it is one of two things; either diabetes or sleep apnoea. So he decided to rule out diabetes first -which he did with a blood test- then referred me to a sleep apnoea clinic.
I was very apprehensive and not sure what to expect. I turned up thirty minutes early with my wife (it’s a standing joke that I do not like being late) to book in and be shown to the waiting room. I knew I was in the right room as there were four men in there fast asleep, and one lady reading a book. As my wife was chatting with the lady she found out she was a wife of one of the men. I sat down and waited, trying to make sure I did not fall asleep, but sleep apnoea took its toll. I awoke with my wife tapping me on the arm saying the nurse wants to do some checks on my blood pressure, weight, height and measurements, than back to the waiting room and more sleep.
I was shown through to Mr Oko and I was asked to fill in a very small questionnaire on sleep and how I felt. While doing this Mr Oko was asking my wife questions like “does he stop breathing”, and my wife said no he goes quiet, but I know he is alive as his chest goes up and down. (YOU MUST TAKE YOUR BED PARTNER TO YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT AS I DID NOT KNOW HALF OF THE ANSWERS THAT MY WIFE GAVE MR OKO)
I think I scored 18 on the questionnaire, which I was then told was high, and there was a good chance I had sleep apnoea. Mr Oko asked if I would be prepared to come in and collect a sleep analysis machine to find out what was going on.
I turned up to my second appointment to collect the sleep analyser; needless to say while waiting for my appointment I had a little sleep, as when I have a comfy chair and nothing to do I fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Mr Oko explained how to put on the machine and then took it off telling me to put it on before I go to bed and take it off the next morning (TIP NO1. MAKE SURE YOU TURN OFF THE SLEEP ANALYSER AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP)
Two weeks later I returned to Mr Oko. When I was called in I was shown on a computer the results. Mr Oko showed me where I was snoring and was concerned at how low my oxygen levels were dropping, and explained that was enough evidence to prescribe me a C Pap machine. Mr Oko then measured my nose and gave me a mask ( TIP NO2. THESE MASK ARE DAUNTING WHEN YOU FIRST SEE THEM SO START OFF WHILE SITTING WATCHING THE TELEVISION, JUST PUTTING ON FOR A FEW MINUETS AT FIRST YOUR PARTNER WILL POSSIBLY JUST LAUGH, BUT YOU WILL BOTH GET USED TO IT).
For the next stage I was called by a Respironics sleep support team, letting me know they would be delivering my C Pap machine and pipes. I got home and plugged it in. Again, I was very apprehensive about going to sleep. When I went to bed I put the mask on and started the machine the first time felt very strange with air blowing up my nose, but soon felt ok (I remembered the words of mr Oko: if you manage a couple of hours then when you wake up you will feel FULL OF BEANS). I think I managed about four hours before taking it off, but a lot of people I know say the normal is about two hours building up to a full night’s sleep. I am not sure if tip 2 helped, but on night two I managed a full night and when I woke up the next morning sure enough I felt FULL OF BEANS.
I was amazed at how quickly I felt the benefit; this is when the thought of that dreadful mask goes away and it becomes the best thing since sliced bread.
My Wife is happy as the snoring has stopped and we both sleep much better. My short temper has gone and I am back to my normal self. My thanks goes to my wife for the constant nagging and to the doctor for getting me diagnosed very quickly, and to Mr Oko for all the help and support I could have ever wanted.
If you feel you or your partner could be suffering from sleep apnoea then please go and get yourself checked. Remember, sleep deprivation is a form of torture; don’t torture yourself or your sleep partner. I will guarantee you will feel the benefit straight away. You will feel full of beans again: don’t delay get checked ASAP.