Tag Archives: apnea

Rambling: Still Breathing

Okay, I know it looks like I dropped off the face of the earth.  I haven’t.  Still hanging in there, and besides, gravity won’t let me fall off, so I’m just continuing to do what I do, which these days isn’t a whole lot.

I’m actually thinking of changing the blog/s, doing something new, something to at least just get me in here and working on them. It’s so easy to lose track of time and just drift. Which is pretty much what I’ve been doing. Drifting. Okay, so gravity may keep me from falling up, but it won’t keep me from drifting a bit. Or a lot.

I’ve been really struggling with the breathing issue, and the CPAP machine. I just don’t think we’re a fit, but I’ve been low on energy lately and haven’t had enough fight in me to argue the point with the CPAP doc. It’s his “thing”, he has written papers on it, he tells me I just need to give it a try.

All his talk about “should” being bad and telling me I need to find a motivation for using the machine, well, it didn’t work, because just after that we had a hot spell during the summer, and the mask made me feel like I was going to suffocate, so I didn’t use it, and haven’t touched it since, even though the weather has changed.

So why do I feel like a little kid who didn’t do her homework and now must face the teacher? Sheesh!

I even bought an oxymeter that measures and records oxygen levels over time. I tested it at night without the CPAP and also during the day, being careful not to jostle it. I found out my oxygen during the day is worse than at night, especially when I use the stairs of concentrate on something – because I literally do stop breathing.  My GeneralistDoc wanted to give me some kind of oxygen diffuser for at home, but the sleepDoc nixed that idea and told him to have me go see him first. I know what he’s going to say – use the almighty CPAP.

Gosh I didn’t realize how frustrated I was with all this until I started writing here. I don’t usually get intimidated by doctors or anyone else, so this is unusual for me, and I’m not sure where it’s coming from. Maybe it’s because the doctor in question is so . . . earnest. He really believes in his advice, and offers it with such enthusiasm, it’s hard to argue with him. He’s one of those people with presence who would do well standing at a podium speaking about apnea at a convention. Heck, he probably does all that anyway. So when all that positive energy is focused on me, telling me how good it would be for me to try one more time, it’s hard to resist or stand firm.

On the home sale front things are looking up. We’ve had several visits. One couple made an offer, and upped it twice, but it was too low, even at their best price. They wanted to do renovations that aren’t necessary, and felt we should come down on the price so they could afford what they wanted. Nope. I know what the house is worth, and I’m not budging below a certain point.

We’ve had two visits this week, one was a return visit from a couple that is very enthused, and talking to their bank, so I’m hoping for an offer from them, and the other visit was a couple with two small children, looking for a first home. It was harder to tell what they thought, though they did ask a couple of pertinent questions that seemed to indicate they were considering it. I just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, what am I doing? Biding time,  installing programs onto my desktop PC, but still using the notebook for emails and such. And still watching a lot of tv. 😉  It passes the time while I wait for my life to settle into a new apartment and new rhythm.

No wonder I haven’t been writing in here. There’s simply not a whole lot to write about. 🙂

Til the next time,
Judee

Sleep Study: Results

Okay, so I snore. 😉

The problem is, it’s more than just snoring. Apparently I’ve been diagnosed with moderate to high Sleep Apnea (pauses in breathing) with periods of Hypopnea (abnormally shallow breathing), both of which cause a disruption in the levels of blood oxygen. I also have periods of “mysterious” (unexplained) lowering of blood oxygen that are not specifically correlated with the above two conditions. I’ve linked to Wikipedia for anyone wanting more technical info.

Here’s a lovely little graphic, I just know you’re going to appreciate. 😉  Basically, what is happening, is that my breathing  sometimes becomes obstructed (the snoring part) when the back of the tongue and soft palate relax too much against the airway, thus closing it off.  Eventually, the brain decides it needs oxygen and begins to insist a bit and forces an intake of air, that then will rattle against the throat and cause the snoring sound.

Keep in mind that while apnea is often accompanied by snoring, snoring does not necessarily mean that there is apnea. There are many other causes of snoring. In my case, some, but not all of the apnea “events” are related to snoring, or obstruction. The others are related to shallow breathing.

I’ve been aware of the shallow breathing for awhile now – it happens during the day, too. When I’m concentrated on something, like typing this post, my breathing can slow down to be almost imperceptible. It’s shallow, slow, and sometimes simply pauses, even though I’m awake. I can be doing something and become vaguely aware that I’m not breathing, or breathing very shallowly, at which point I will take a deep breath and continue on with whatever I was doing.

That’s why I wanted to do the sleep study, because I figure if I’m doing that during the day, what might be happening at night? Well, now I know.

My oxygen levels are de-saturating  during the night. I have the report with all the charts and levels, and a pattern becomes visible, shallow respiration, oxygen goes down, heart rate increases and at some point, the depth of sleep is interrupted, it rises toward waking, and I start breathing more deeply and oxygen goes back up.

Apparently, though, this is happening too often and the oxygen is remaining too low and the increases in heart rate are not good for the heart, and the lack of oxygen isn’t good for the brain, and the disrupted sleep is not good for anything.

Lol, that’s a lot of “not good”s in there, huh?  But there is treatment. It’s called a CPAP, and it’s a kind of mask one wears at night that forces airflow into the mouth and nostrils to keep the air passage open. I’m getting one set up for me next Friday. I’ve been told it’s hard to get used to, and some people cannot adapt, but others can. There are also several kinds of masks, so if one doesn’t work, another might. I know it looks cumbersome, but hey, at least I don’t have to have an oxygen tank, right? This is just air flow. Hopefully by keeping my air passage open, it will help increase the oxygen flow to the blood.

I’m a little bit concerned about the unexplained incidents of low oxygen, though, and may ask my doctor to refer me to a LungDoc and let him look at the sleep study and maybe do a daytime oxygen monitoring to see what’s happening. But I may wait and see how this goes first. One thing at a time.

Anyway, there is good news to all this. It could explain some of my fatigue during the day, even some of my fuzzy thinking and a lot of other minor things I’ve been attributing to simple ageing, or to my meds, etc. Apparently, even my eyesight might improve, because one of the symptoms listed for the low oxygen levels was eye fatigue. Imagine that.

I’m actually looking forward to giving it a try to see if it improves how I feel in general. I’ve got a week to wait before I can try it, but I’m hoping for the best. Meanwhile, I figure a few deep breathing exercises during the day might be helpful, and certainly can’t hurt. Come on, along with me:

Breathe in…..

Breathe out…

Get oxygenated.  It’s good for you!