Oct. 17, 2020

Health Update: Sleep Edition

I didn't get around to writing an entry here yesterday. I decided to hold off and do it after my doctor's appointment. I should have known better. There was a reason I switched to doing them in the morning after I first got up--I just get too tired later in the day to do anything.

My dad did not start out well. My alarm woke me at 7am, and I did not want to get up. If I hadn't forced myself out of bed at that time, I probably would have slept until at least 10am. Maybe later. I felt that crappy. But I got up and tried to stay occupied so I wouldn't stress about the appointment. If I could have mainlined the coffee my husband was bringing me, I would have done that because it was not waking me up. I nodded off while sitting at the computer several times.

Not a great start to the day of my first sleep medicine appointment. Or maybe it was fate?

I did end up losing track of time and left late, but we didn't run into any traffic so still managed to get there early so I had to wait. But not very long. I almost missed them calling my name because the physician's assistant looked more like a patient than a PA--he gave off a hipster vibe in his white t-shirt and jogging pants (instead of scrubs) and long hair. He was really sweet, though. Maybe I'm just so used to all the PAs and nurses being women at the offices I got to that I was just caught off guard by it being a man that called my name?

Anyway, he weighed me (280lbs--OMFG!) and took my blood pressure (146/something--I stopped listening because it was so high) and got me all checked in. I only had to wait a few minutes before the doctor came in. He was really nice and easy to talk to and very understanding. We talked about how I checked off almost every single risk factor/symptom on their survey--trouble sleeping, not feeling rested, snoring, high blood pressure, obesity, memory problems, needing to pee in the middle of the night, history of stroke in the family, history of heart problems in the family, and there might have been more. It was very alarming to see.

After I told him about my sleeping troubles and that I never feel rested no matter how long I sleep, he agreed that I most likely have sleep apnea--I just hit so many of the markers it would be surprising if I didn't. Who knows how long ago this started. I've been overweight my whole life, but my husband only started complaining about my snoring maybe 12 years ago (although by then he was sleeping in a different room because he snores like crazy so I can't sleep).

With that confirmation, the next step is to wait for the insurance company to okay an at-home test. Since the appointment was on a Friday, I assume I'll have to wait until the middle of next week just to find out of if I was approved (I assume I will be) then I have to find a time to drive back to the office to pick up the machine to take home then do the test for however many nights and bring it back to be evaluated.

Once that's done, I'm guessing I'll get fitted for one of those CPAP masks. They had some on display in the office. They're so much smaller than what my father-in-law had back in the day. His was massive (but he was also a big guy at almost 400lbs). I worry about the noise the machine makes because I'm very noise sensitive. I have a very loud fan that blows 24/7 for the white noise, but if it's even off balance a little, I will go insane. My ceiling fan sometimes gets off balance or the pull cords will clink together and I start to lose my mind. I remember how loud my father-in-law's machine. You could hear it everywhere in the house which made it hard for me to fall asleep when we visited. Plus it had the kind of repetitive noise that my brain hyper-fixates on to the point of insanity. Ugh.

BUT... if I can manage to get past that and actually get some good sleep, I think I can deal with it. I hope. I might need to be highly sedated every night just to fall asleep but it would be worth it? I don't know. I'm getting ahead of myself. I still have to do the monitoring test to be sure. I hate waiting. Stupid weekends. Ugh.

After the appointment, we stopped at the store so I could get more coffee creamer and a few things to make dinner (found some good deals with Safeway's $5 Fridays) then went home. I was so worn out from not sleeping well and the heightened anxiety that I was unable to really stay awake. Despite it being later in the afternoon, I passed out and slept until 7:30pm. Or tried to sleep. I did not feel better when I got up and only got up because I didn't want to stay in bed for another twelve hours (my back would be killing me if I did that) when I normally would get up. I spent the next few hours feeling like crap--tired, depressed, anxious, unable to focus on anything. I really wanted to write this update then but couldn't concentrate on it. It sucks. Every day is like that.

The doctor said that if I do have sleep apnea then getting treated for it (the CPAP machine) will alleviate a lot of the symptoms I'm having. My chronic fatigue might go away, my blood pressure could come down (and with it the swelling in my hands and feet), the depression might get better and even my anemia might improve because my brain will be getting enough oxygen at night and won't slowly be dying. Okay, he didn't put it that way, but I assume that's what it's like. My brain has been slowly starved when I'm sleeping for years. No wonder I can't remember what I was doing two hours. I think I forgot to take my blood pressure meds yesterday but can't remember. I went to take them an hour late but had a weird deja vu feeling but couldn't figure out if that was because I already took them today or I was having a flash of memory from all the other times I took them. In the end, I decided it would be worse to take two of them in one day than to not take any at all and didn't take it. It's probably why my blood pressure was so high at the appointment.

I told the doctor it was kind of weird to be really hoping I have this awful medical condition because it would explain so much of what's been wrong with me over the years. I thought the fatigue was from so many different things but treating each of those has done nothing. He laughed. Hopefully this is it and explains my symptoms. I won't hope they go completely away--I have so many other issues--but just actually getting some rest will help so much. It sucks to feel sleep deprived even though I sleep eight hours at night and take a three-hour nap.

And if I can get the chronic fatigue under control, I could start exercising again to get some of this weight off before it gets so bad I can't move. I nearly died when I saw my weight go over 280lbs. This is the heaviest I've ever been. I've gained like 30lbs in the last eight months or so but 20 of that has come in the last 3 months. I can't keep doing this. Even if I ate just a salad once a day, I would keep gaining weight. I'm going to have to contact my psych doctor because it's the meds causing this new excessive weight gain. Either I have to try a different med or take something to help control the weight (she said there were options).

I'm due for another appointment at the beginning of November... Hopefully I can hold out that long. I'd like to at least have started treatment for the sleep apnea before I start making appointments with my other doctors. I want to see if it helps any of my symptoms first, you know.

Written by justanotherjen

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