Sleepless in Seattle

Ok so technically I should call this post Sleepless in London – or even Night of the Living Dead would more accurately reflect the experience that is the Sleep Study. Then again, at times it was comical… so here goes…

Quick catchup.

This was the first one since I started using a ventilator (BIPAP) machine to breathe for me at night. The machine blows air into me via a face mask. My lungs are that of an athlete – but the mechanics have failed (muscles defunct).

Why overnight monitoring?

You know when you wake up and can’t remember where you are or what day of the week it is?

Add in:

  • an intense fear and certainty that a burglar is somewhere in the house yet at the same time your head is telling you that is ridiculous
  • feeling drugged like you had one bottle of wine too many – chilled but about to slump into a coma
  • saying things that make perfect sense – but only to you

all making an appearance during the night. One things for sure – this seemed suspiciously abnormal.

Then I’d huff and puff all day feeling like each breathe wasn’t worth the effort , pop on my vent and reach the same drunken mind altering state within the hour.

It’s the same state people strive for who are turned on by PVC, whips and strangulation…. apparently *cough

So … on with the post (I’ll come back to sex later on).

Connecting up

We arrived with the kitchen sink and were shown our room. My sister in law was in a new hospital with her little one – and posted a picture of this huge plush room with en-suite. This is what we got in comparison!!


That’s hubs changing the channel as people had nicked the remote :-/ and yes the room is that yellow and only 3 foot longer than the bed.

Access for wheelchair users

Well obviously changing the TV channel is out (and we were there from 3.30 until 10.30 ish the next day) and there was no level entry shower facilities in the ward area (the one in the accessible bathroom at the end of the corridor was broken). I was told the sleep study area had an accessible bathroom next to the room but it was small and had no grab rails if you needed them. Not that it mattered because once they connect you up at 8 (or 9 if you smile nicely) then you can’t disconnect so everyone has to use a commode (painful, awkward and my dignity trickled away in one piddly audible moment 😦 ).

How many nurses does it take to demonstrate a call button

A smiley nurse popped her head in and demonstrated the call button aeroplane style. The big red one for the alarm and the little one right under it for the light and you can move it around like so… (demonstrates lifting and putting down so said item – twice)… Oh my life, yawn.

A bit later another one wanders in ‘this is the…’ we nodded politely and saw the whole routine again. Thank you very much that’s great (not that I can press it or that it would reach the floor where hubs ended up sleeping).

Nurse number three got a a less than smily welcome as she launched into ‘this is the…’ finishing with ‘oh let me start again, ‘my name’s …’.


Scrabble anyone

I think she was bored as she struck up a conversation of the merits of the 4s and her mirror screen protector. I also suspect she was sponsored by Zynga?

Still, we couldn’t talk iPhones all night. The doc had blood to suck out of me and I had a bed to get into with more buttons than an Apollo rocket.

It took about 2 hours to ‘get into bed’ and I departed for planet Gaga.

Meanwhile TOSCA (below) stored the data for another doc to have a quick squint at in the morning. This is a clip on your ear, heated to Sahara Dessert at midday temperatures probe that measures Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide and your pulse rate. A good figure is 98 for O2 and about 6 for C02.


With a patient screaming, my air bed mattress buzzing with the aggression of a killer bee and general freaky noises – sleep consisted of about 40 winks.

On the plus side I was fairly pain free in my lovely squishy bed.

Boy did I feel like S*#t in the morning. Hubs too. TOSCA gave up recording at 7.30 am but I stuck with him for an hour to see what he would say once I’d got out of bed. I wanted to experiment with different breathing techniques and observe the figures.

I googled the manual and read up about the device – because I could.

The verdict

I am breathing too much! People with mechanical failure retain CO2 – especially at night and during dream sleep when the body totally goes floppy. The vent keeps them normal by keeping good breathes going all night.

However, my vent was taking me past normal – and making it really low. It’s like when you hyperventilate but without the panic (or the quick shallow breath in/long breath out breathing that some find enhances sex – whichever you relate to more 😉 )

My Swiss cheesed brain now thinks a low of 2-3 is normal during the day and makes me feel ill.

So what now?

I’ve got to use different vent settings – but the effect makes me feel like I’m being strangled so this is going to take time and mind control not to freak out.

So with advice on settings we trundled home via a cab that smelt like a kennel and a train that oozed happy staff (no really – train was so good, top marks).

… one more thing

If we chatted on Twitter you will appreciate why the food wouldn’t have made the next round of Masterchef. Cue the Monica scowl.


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