I finally did it. Three years after I first scheduled it, I did the overnight sleep test for obstructive sleep apnea (polysomnography) at the hospital. In some ways it was not as bad as I thought it would be and in some ways, it was worse.
My check-in time was 7:45 The bed looked like the Great Hunter had made it, you know like when you just pull the spread up and say, “ah, good enough, you’re only going to get back in it tonight” and I look at him with “that look.” You know what I mean. Maybe I was just looking for something not to like because I really, really didn’t want to be there. For the next half hour, I waited for what I guess was the only attendant on duty while he prepared another participant for the night (in another room of course.)
“Sean” came in about 8:30 and began preparing me for the test by applying wires all over my head and in my hair and on my legs and chest. “Sean” was a no-nonsense guy; he didn’t speak unless I spoke to him. I don’t know if he was a nurse or not, he never said, but then again, he didn’t say much of anything. He completed attaching the wires all over my body and attached the wires to a little white box I had to wear around my neck.
After he completed applying all the wires, he brought me a bottle of water so I could take the sleeping pill I had gotten from the doctor. He plugged the little white box into another box and said if I needed him to let him know. I asked him how I would do that and he said to just talk, he’d hear me. Oh great. Someone listening to everything.
The afternoon before the test, I didn’t allow myself a nap or any caffeine as instructed. I wanted to make sure that I was as tired as possible so I would sleep as long as possible. I had visions of lying awake staring at the ceiling. I’ve never taken sleeping pill before so I really didn’t have very big expectations. Boy, was I wrong. I took the sleeping pill around 9:30 and forced myself to stay away until around 10:15 (lights out was at 10:30).
I turned off the television and fell asleep almost immediately and stayed asleep until the next morning at 5:15 a.m., reveille time. Sean came in to wake me and unhook me from all the wires and it was over and done. I was out of there by 5:30 a.m.
I left the hospital and walked to my car. It’s always strange being outside when most of the world is still asleep. But there were some industrious early morning people at a morning exercise class. Me, I just wanted a cup of coffee. and a shower. Incidentally, “Sean” didn’t mention that whatever the goop was he put in my hair would not come out with a normal shampoo.
I still haven’t received the results of the test, I was told that if I had experienced moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea during the night, I would be awakened and hooked up to a CPAP machine. I wasn’t so I know if I am diagnosed with apnea, it would only be mild.
And since I came home on Valentine’s Day, here’s my valentine to you Great Hunter!
Love your description and I really need to get the test, but keep putting it off for the reasons you mentioned. Sounds like it will be good news for you and like your attitude about it all.
Get a sleeping pill! It was so nice knowing I had it, cut down on the anxiety!