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Sleep Study, Part Two
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Well. I just had my second sleep study where they calibrated the pressure for a cpap for me. Slightly different set of traumas this time, equalling out to almost as much unpleasantness in the end.

First came an hour sitting in the emergency room waiting aream filled with crying babies, people who spoke to each other in languages I didn't understand, and a tv blaring Dr. Phil (sadly, in a language I *could* understand).

I turned out to be the only subject that night. (I almost used the word "client" or "customer", but "experimental subject" is a lot closer to my subjective experience here.) The technician was a woman this time. She was chatty on the walk to the lab, but once it came time to start wiring me, she only spoke if she needed me to move; still no engagement or explanation of what she was doing. The goop she was using seemed colder than last time, and she used some sort of hand-held air blower to quick-dry it. Between the two, this lowered my body temperature a few degrees, and it took me quite a while to warm up once in bed.

New this time was the cpap mask. She first tried me on one that just fit over my nose. She did explain what I would experience, in a manner that was authoratative, without qualifiers -- and 100% wrong. She claimed that I'd be just fine breathing only in and out through my nose, and that once I fell asleep, my body would naturally do this. Also, that if I *did* accidentally breathe through my mouth, I would feel winded, but I shouldn't panic, just go back to breathing through my nose. Before this, when she ran me through a questionnaire, I had answered the question "Any congestion?" with "No"; it might have been more strictly accurate to say "No more than usual." As a chronic allergy sufferer, I am used to having a nose which is semi-functional at best. After a few minutes breathing through my nose, even with machine assistance, I felt like I was suffocating. Breathing through my mouth intermittently was the only way *not* to feel winded. I gave it several lengthy tries, but I just couldn't envision ever falling asleep like that -- possibly *fainting*, but that didn't seem like a good plan.

She then tried on a larger mask, that covered both mouth and nose. It sort of pinched my nose, rendering it even less useful than before, but being able to breathe normally through my mouth more than made up for that. I was able to fall asleep relatively quickly.

I dreamt a *lot*. Unfortunately a lot of it was similar to the Curse of Eternal Waking, from the first issue of Sandman. I'd be having some dream which was at least partially about the whole experience being over, only to wake and find myself still there.

Got woken up at 6:30, and had all my attachments removed. The tech says that once she got the pressure high enough, I had a really good, long, deep session of sleep near the end. Might even be true; I didn't feel quite as miserable this time as I did after the previous one. Some of that might be down to having more accurate expectations about how I would be treated. It was by no means a *good* night's sleep, but perhaps when I get to try a cpap in my own bed, without 57 electrodes glued to my body, it will help. I am cautiously optimistic.

Home, shower, and time for a nap before work. One shower is enough to remove the tactile traces of the electrode goop, but I still smell... wrong to myself. Even with a semi-functional nose, that's disturbing. Another few days should take care of it. I considered taking a sick day, but given how crunch-y work is lately, that didn't seem prudent.

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Next night, I slept 12 hours, and felt like I could have used a lot more. The holiday extravagances seem to have caught up with me at last...
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(Deleted comment)
Haven't tried those. Are they the sort of thing one can pick up in a drug store?

(Deleted comment)
Try them from a store, but if you find that you like them, it may be worth investigating a Costco membership or some such. We use them all the time, and the savings from buying them in bulk is non-trivial.

Mind, we don't find them a panacea. Similar to you, I'm always mildly congested, and I've found that they improve my breathing through my nose from something like 50% to more like 70% -- enough to make a noticeable difference, but not by any means perfection...

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