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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

To sleep, perchance to snore

Mrs. Fetched took Daughter Dearest to the doctor early last month, because she was feeling run down all the time. I figured that whatever it was could be fixed by her getting some exercise and staying off the phone with her boyfriend in Indiana at night — when you’re 17, you usually don’t need to worry about chronic conditions, after all. Mrs. Fetched agreed with me, but the doctor thought she might have sleep apnia.

Now none of the Fetched family figured there was anything to this — especially Daughter Dearest. Even she figured she needed to exercise more and lose some weight. Nevertheless, the doc (who has been pretty good overall) scheduled her for a sleep test at the clinic next to the hospital. As Daughter Dearest is a homebody, who likes her bed, we figured this would throw some false readings. And yet, off we went one cold night — and found that we had to check in at the hospital. Inconvenience is the most sure way to rile Mrs. Fetched, and this is certainly no exception. But after checking in, we hiked back across the parking lot (quickly! it’s cold!) to the sleep clinic where the technician and a big ol’ pile of wires was waiting.

So he got to work, putting goop and a couple dozen wires on her head and elsewhere. Her attitude wasn’t exactly wonderful, so when I asked her which finger they put the tape on… she showed me!

This was before they put the airmask on her.

When we went to pick her up the next morning, she said, “I’m sure they’ll say I failed. I didn’t sleep well all night.” Sure enough, a couple of weeks later the results came in, but the data was stuff that didn’t reflect a restless night: she stopped breathing rather frequently and her oxygen levels dropped to 70 (they should stay around 90 or better), causing an erratic heart rate. When they turned on the airflow, everything went normal. So now she has one of those CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines.

Mrs. Fetched figures I should have a sleep test, too. It wouldn’t surprise me if I do have sleep apnia — I’ve woken up on occasion feeling like I wasn’t getting any air. In my case, though, I tried the low-tech version: Breathe-Right strips. Mrs. Fetched had bought some for me in the past, but I never felt like they were doing my any good. I snore, but so does she. But this time, I noticed that when wearing them, I go to sleep faster and don’t wake up in the middle of the night (and I don’t snore nearly as much). So I’ll probably be using them for… ever.


  1. That has to be really scary for her! I think if they test everyone we all have so form of it. But that was a bit much for daughter. I wish her well and hope the machine works for her.

  2. Hi Farfetched.

    I'm sorry to hear that about Daughter Dearest and I agree with deedee's comment above. How long will she have to have the CPAP machine?

    I've thought of trying those strips before, but didn't know if they would really work. Sounds like they do and I'll have to get some.

    Best wishes to Daughter Dearest and the family.

  3. Hi guys!

    The machine seems to be working OK, she says she can tell she sleeps better (even with the mask limiting her motion). I think she's stuck with it for life, although I suspect losing some weight would help a lot.

  4. Hi FarFetched, I'm glad they caught that when they did. That sleep apnea can cause real stress on a heart if it's left untreated.

    I know a lot of people who use those machines.

    I had a terrible snoring problem and wondered if I had sleep apnea (it's common among snorers) so (our low tech solution) mister taped me while I slept. Because of the regularity of my snoring, it was pretty obvious I didn't miss a breath!

    The first thing that happened when I stopped eating between meals (and thus stopped eating after 7pm) was that I instantly stopped snoring. Mister swears that I don't do it at all any more.

    And since he stopped wearing ear plugs and moving to the sofa, I believe him.

    Also, I think I've heard that losing weight helps.

    You must have a wonderful family doctor for that to have been caught so early.


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