My experience with a sleep study – Or how I was turned into a Borg

Well, the Ungodly Expensive Sleep Study is over.

For those of you who didn’t know (or haven’t guessed) I’ve been dealing with some really nasty daytime sleepiness. It’s to the point where I fall asleep while at my desk or driving. I can sleep for 7-8 hours a night and wake up the next morning feeling as though I never went to sleep. So I was sent to a sleep doc who ordered a sleep study (polysomnogram) for this past Monday night and then a nap test (Multiple Sleep Latency Test or MSLT) for the following day.

I’ll talk about the cost and my reaction to it in a bit. For now, let me describe the UESS.

I arrived at the sleep center on Monday night, made my initial payment and then was shown to my room and given paperwork to fill out. I had to fill out a quick sleep info sheet and then 3 pages of a pre-study questionnaire. The nurse told me that after I was done with that I’d have time to change into my PJs and get ready for bed. She brought me some water (no caffeine allowed) and I was left alone for awhile. The good news was that I could bring my own pillow so I dragged it, my mine-mine and my teddy bear (named “Six”) to try to help me feel more comfortable.

I also kept staring at the wires laid out across the bed, all of which I knew would soon be attached to me.

Wires waiting for me

Wires waiting for me

Sure enough, the nurses came in and helped me get all hooked up. So I had wires going down each of my pant legs, a band around my stomach, a band around my chest, EEG thingies attached to my collarbone, and then a host of electrode-things stuck to my neck, face and all over my head. Oh, and the thing attached to my left index finger. After I looked in the mirror I decided I totally looked like a Borg from Star Trek.

Elfucius of Borg

Elfucius of Borg (Thanks for the nickname, Chris!)

Turns out that wasn’t all.

As they put me to bed at 9:45 they made me turn off the TV, my phone and all other electronics. So no music, no movie, no reading…nothing to help me get to sleep in this strange place. Then they hooked up two tubes into my nose to monitor how much I was breathing in and out. To be honest, I think that was part of what made it all so uncomfortable.

After they spoke to me through the room speaker to do some testing and make sure all the wires were hooked properly they told me to sleep. To get comfortable I rolled over (as best I could with all those wires) and flopped on my stomach. I’m pretty sure I was out rather quickly. Or…I was until the clicked on the speaker again and woke me up to tell me to roll over on my back. So now I was uncomfortable, in an uncomfortable position and frustrated. Guess who lay awake for awhile? Eventually they told me I could roll back over. Didn’t take too long after that for me to sleep again.

All too soon they were talking to me again and telling me it was time to get up. (From my estimate it was about 6am.) They came in to tell me that they’d be taking off some wires and the tubes in prep for the nap test and that I was not allowed to even doze off for a few seconds before the first round at 8.

For the nap test I would be put back into the bed and told to try to sleep for 20 minutes. After that time they’d wake me up and then I’d have to stay awake for the next hour and a half until the next round. The naps were set for 8am, 10am, Noon and 2pm. If I dozed off between those allotted nap times even for a few seconds it would make the whole thing null and void and I’d have to come back in for another full night and then a new MSLT. I was absolutely determined not to go through that again.

They did bring me Hardees for breakfast and Subway for lunch so I certainly didn’t go hungry. I still wasn’t allowed any caffeine to my dismay.

I’m pretty sure I slept for at least 3 of the 4 naps tests. Not sure if I went into REM sleep though. I seem to remember dreaming but that might have just been my mind wandering before I fell asleep.

After those were over they de-wired me, cleaned the gunk out of my hair and let me go home.

For the record, that wasn’t restful at all. I was more exhausted Tuesday night after all those tests than I had been in awhile. I could barely see straight.

I should hear from my doc in about a week with the results. The main things they are checking for are sleep apnea and narcolepsy. For the cost of the UESS they had better find something.

Which brings me to the cost. The good news is that my insurance covers the testing. The bad news is that it’s subject to my deductible first. My deductible is $2500. The full cost of the testing is $2800. I had to bring in a down payment when I arrived on Monday night. That down payment would have bought me a Wii, a 360 and a PS3 along with some games and then some. It was put aside for my car fund. Now….well, all I can say is that for that kind of money there had better be some results that can be treated. If they find nothing out of the ordinary I might cry.

So now I play a waiting game for the results of the UESS and continue to try not to pass out at random points during the day.

(P.S. Sleeping wire-free at home on Tuesday night felt like a dream. Too bad I was still completely exhausted when I woke up this morning.)

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~ by rumielf on February 23, 2011.

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