Monday, December 15, 2008

Sleep Study Results

I got a call last week, asking if it would be ok to move my appointment about my sleep study results to Monday instead of Thursday. I agreed, not realizing that a snowstorm would hit over the weekend. I decided last night that if it snowed again before morning, I would reschedule the appointment. It didn't snow, so I did the drive.

I don't drive in the snow. I'm not a good driver at the best of times, and snow requires even more caution than I have. Still, it looked dry and clear here in Churchville, so I decided I was probably safe. It was mostly freeway... how bad could it be?

It was a white-knuckle drive for me. I gave myself an extra 20 minutes and arrived barely on time for my appointment. The freeway around Churchville was clear, sure, but 20 miles up the road it turned into an ice sheet and was still snowing to boot. I made it, yeah. But I wasn't looking forward to the drive back home.

My appointment was for 10am, so I went in and chatted with my sleep specialist. Here's the results:

  • I do not have sleep apnea. (!!!)
  • I do not have restless leg syndrome.
  • I get enough sleep as far as hours of sleep is concerned.
  • I get enough REM sleep, but I'm on the low end of the scale.
  • I get enough stage 3 sleep, but again, I'm on the low end.
  • I get WAY too much stage 1 sleep.
  • I wake up about 25 times an hour (Spontaneous Arousals).
  • I fall asleep in the morning between 10 and noon.
What does it mean? It means I have two sleep problems.

The minor problem is that my circadian rhythms do not match my sleep habits. That can be fixed, we're going to try melatonin to train my body into wanting to sleep when I want to sleep.

The major problem is those micro-wakings. They are why I'm exhausted all day long. They explain my fatigue, and also no doubt contribute to my fibromyalgia pain. The doctor said that I had no sign of apnea or even my known depression, but he thought the results indicated high anxiety. He thinks (isn't sure) that my anxiety is waking me up at night. There are two possible approaches to this one: drugs or therapy. We're going to try the therapy first, I think. One prescription is 20 minutes of Yoga twice a day. I think the Wii Fit is going to be my best friend in that. I'm also going to discuss therapy with my regular doctor and see if I can find someone in Churchville to help.

And so, after learning the results, it was time to go. Only one problem. Nobody in Churchville could fill the melatonin prescription. I had to go to a specialist in Town. So the sleep specialist gave me directions to the pharmacy, and I set out in the snow to get to the place.

I was lucky. It wasn't as bad as it had been just an hour before. There was ice on the roads, yes, but I managed to get to the place without too much difficulty. I even recognized where I was at one point, as my Mom and I had visited a couple of quilt shops on a corner that I had to turn at. The pharmacist was quick, and gave me directions back to the freeway. I did a little sliding down the hill to the onramp, but kept control.

Once on the freeway, the rest of the drive was cake. No ice. In the hour I spent being briefed on my sleep disorder, the ice had magically vanished. There were snowsnakes writhing across the freeway, but otherwise the roads were dry and clear. I actually had to keep reminding myself to slow down and go the speed limit.

So. That is that. I have my melatonin, and my Yoga, and perhaps I'll soon have a shrink to try to calm my anxieties. And then, maybe, I can finally get some restful sleep.