I found out this past week I’ve got sleep apnea. Apparently about 39 times an hour I stop breathing for at least 10 seconds, and wake up because of it, and don’t remember it.
But in between, I get 1.53846 minutes of extremely restful sleep.
The good news is that a very low pressure cpap completely prevents the apnea, so I’ve got to get one of those, and I’ll be fine.
I wouldn’t really have expected this, because far from sleeping too much (as apnea sufferers tend to), I tend towards insomnia. But the doctor said it can go either way, hypersomnia or insomnia.
I’ve heard some folks say treatment for apnea can make a big difference in your life. I don’t want to get my hopes up or anything, but that’d be neat.
The sleep study which discovered this was recommended by a trip to an ENT specialist, which was part of the ongoing attempt to discover why I’ve had a cough since about February.
It was kind of funny, I saw the notes that the sleep lab sent back. They said, apparently with a straight face, that it was vitally important that I lose massive amounts of weight, or no treatment would be effective — and just after that, that a very mild cpap treatment completely eliminated the problem. So maybe no treatment would be effective except the one they had tried that very night and confirmed was completely effective? I don’t know. Maybe that weight loss stuff was boilerplate.
Since I’m aware that significant weight loss virtually never lasts for more than 5 years, and usually more weight comes back after that than you lost in the first place, weight loss doesn’t seem like a useful long term solution to me. I mentioned this to the doc and he accepted that reasoning, then mentioned bariatric surgery, and since I’m not into Russian roulette, I said I wasn’t interested in that either. To the doctor’s credit, he accepted that as well and we went on with the cpap plan.
I mentioned that I was disappointed that I would have to use a cpap, and he smiled and offered me a tracheotomy as an alternative. I decided the cpap would be fine.
He did give me a good scare-the-patient story, about how he actually did have to schedule a tracheotomy for a patient with extremely severe apnea for whom the cpap wasn’t effective, and the guy died of sleep apnea in the two weeks before the surgery happened.
So I’m taking it seriously. Cpap it is. Bring it on!