I’ve been waiting for months to finally put this post together. The process has been long and frustrating but I’m hoping it will help others that may be going through the same thing without even realizing it. This is Part 1 of my journey. I still have more steps to take but I’m finally making some progress. So here we go…
Last year, it was brought to my attention that i might have sleep apnea by my husband. He said he’d stay up nights watching for my chest to move up and down in a rhythmic breathing pattern. Often I’d wake him up gasping for air or just stop breathing all together. It scared him and rightfully so. And then there was the snoring. Apparently, it was atrocious. All of this together left my husband with little sleep and a lot of worry. Meanwhile, I’ve been living life day to day in a perpetual fog. I’m always tired, literally always, and have very little energy. Most of the time I can’t wait to catch a nap or get to bed for the night. I find myself getting drowsy at work or in the car while stuck in traffic. For a while, I just thought it was the stress of working full-time, being a mom and wife with tons of side activities to covet my attention. When my husband proposed he thought I had sleep apnea, all of my symptoms suddenly made sense. He begged me to go to a doctor and get tested because, frankly, sleep apnea can be life threatening.
It took a while for me to finally decide to get the process started. It was going to take a lot of work and I simply didn’t want to deal with it all but plans for a girl’s trip set me into motion. I would be staying in a small home with 3 other friends for the weekend and they were about to find out something pretty annoying about me– I snored like a freight train. I fretted the entire time, worried they wouldn’t be able to get any sleep so I made the preliminary actions needed to get things off of the ground. First things first, I had to call my insurance company and find out what they would cover. I discovered they’d only cover an at home sleep test, no labs and this complicated things. I didn’t know where to start to find a business that would let me test at home. Luckily, a place fell into my lap. Advanced Dental Care of Austin was running an ad on my local radio station and I heard just what I needed, they did at home sleep studies. I called and asked how everything worked. Basically I’d have to pay $300 out of pocket and get reimbursed by my insurance company. The plan wasn’t ideal but it was what needed to happen. So I began saving. While I didn’t get the care I needed before my girl’s trip, I had at least started the process. My friends did get the pleasure of hearing me fill up the night air with my very loud sleeping noises but they were gracious and we ended up having a great time.
When I returned from my trip and had gathered the money I needed, I ordered the at home test. I came in for an appointment and the Advanced Dental team showed me how to use the machine. There were several hookups on my finger, jaw and more that needed to be perfectly placed. All of the wires made for difficult sleeping but I was able to manage. It was nice being able to test in my own bed. During the night, the machine recorded sounds, teeth grinding and my breathing.
The next morning I turned in my test to be sent off to a specialist. They called me in a few days later with the results. I discovered I had what they considered mild sleep apnea. There were intervals where I wasn’t breathing for an entire 16 seconds! This was alarming enough for them to recommend I go ahead and get treated. They quickly went over my options which included getting a dental oral device (which they could help me with) or a CPAP machine. I went off with decisions to make and more research to do. I’ll share the details around that in my next post. All I can say was it was a frustrating journey to discovery.
Until then, sweet dreams!