Friday, September 23, 2011

The High Cost Of Getting Into Shape

My march towards becoming healthy continues on. Last week I had a consultation to see if I needed a new sleep study. I had one about five or six years ago and it showed that I have severe sleep apnea. After my son was born I stopped using my CPap machine because I was usually the one getting him from the crib so he could feed and then returning him to the crib. Basically it just made no sense to take it off for a few minutes, put it back on, take it off again for a few minutes, put it back on for about an hour or so and then repeating it all over again. So I got out of the habit of using it and didn't go back to it. Then it disappeared. My wife swears she didn't do anything with it and that it's in the house somewhere but I can't find it so...........anyway.

Anyway, at my consultation they took my vitals, etc and found that my blood pressure was 116 over 73 which is a long way from the 146 over 93 range that it was in. Great news, it looks like the medication is working. They also weighed me and I found that I've lost five pounds since I started working out. Now I know that five pounds isn't a lot but hey, it's a start. To tell the truth, I've started this week by adding another set to my workout routine on the weight machines and today I did two full sets on all of the machines. I don't want to fall back after I've had such positive results so far. Whenever I leave the gym I feel tired but good, sort of more aware of life and I definitely feel more positive about life.

Of course the consultation determined that indeed I did need another sleep study and that came about last Tuesday night. I took the night off from work and did everything they instructed to make sure I would be able to go to sleep. The time came and I arrived at the sleep study lab promptly at 7:30 PM ready for the study. After doing some paperwork I was given a little bit of time which I used to flip through the channels on the television and then I read a few pages of my current book. The tech came in and started hooking me up which is not an altogether pleasant experience.

Note: This is not me, just a free picture I found on the internet.

If you've never had a sleep study before then allow me to describe it to you. They attach a bunch of wires all over your body as well as some EKG leads and bunch them altogether with a few belts around your chest and stomach area. Other lines run down through your shorts to your legs. Then they use some kind of adhesive on your head and attach a bunch more wires there. These are all kept together and attached to wherever they need to go around the bed. Then they put an oxygen sensor on your nose and you lay back to go to sleep. I had taken an Ambien (prescribed of course) to make sure there would be no problems with going to sleep quickly. My co-workers had assured me that the Ambien would knock me out.

Only it didn't. I truly felt like I never actually went to sleep. It was horrible. Think of it, you're lying there with all of these wires attached all over your body and you basically have to lie still, with little movement. That's tough for me to do. I constantly roll onto either side, tossing and turning throughout the night but I feared that if I did that on this night I might mess something up and have to do the test all over again. Finally the tech came back in and took off all of the EKG leads and so forth but leaving the rest of the wires intact. Now it was time for a full face mask CPap, the kind I call the Darth Vader. Half of the time left seemed like I was fighting breathing with the mask and then eventually my mind got used to it and I really fell asleep. Seemingly shortly thereafter the tech came back in and unhooked me from everything. I took a shower and got dressed.

Note: This is not me, it's some guy named Joey that I found on the internet.

These things always seem worse than they are and in fact it probably didn't last nearly as long as it seemed to me. But the Ambien had absolutely zero effect on me and was useless, I was on my own. I must have a high tolerance for it. The doctor came in and went over the results and he used the very official term when he stated that I have "Very severe sleep apnea." Apparently anything over thirty instances of your sleep being disrupted in an hour is severe. I had eighty-two. Almost three times the number for it to be severe.

Needless to say the paperwork has been turned in to my insurance company and now I only await word from them as to whether I get a new machine or not. Clearly it's needed but that doesn't guarantee that they'll okay it. I mean after all this is an American insurance company we're talking about and keeping down costs is holy for them so until I hear the affirmative I'll remain guardedly optimistic. This looks like the second to last step (until something new comes up) for me to get my act together and finally get in shape.

The last is for me to change my diet away from too many bad things (junkfood) and move towards more good things (veggies and fruits) and that will come more slowly. I can only hope that I live up to the expectations for me from my doctor, my wife and most importantly myself because if I'm not doing it for the right reasons I'll fall off the wagon at some point. For now I'm enjoying doing it and can't wait to see what the future holds.

Published by Don Leach

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