Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Migraine And My Sleep Testing

I recently went to a sleep lab to have a study done. I tried to have this done in the beginning of June, but my brain would not participate.

I was on the call list in case of cancellations. I received a call about 8:30 at night asking if I could come in for my study. I said, "Yes", and arrived at the center an hour later. Luckily for me, this facility is a part of my local hospital, Carilion Clinic New River Valley Medical Center (try saying that ten times real fast :) and is located only 10 minutes away from my home.

I will describe the procedure for those of you who might have questions about it.
I arrived and was shown to a room, that looked like a nice hotel room with a queen size bed, tv, and the cleanest bathroom I have ever seen. The tech came into the room shortly and began attaching wires and leads all over my head. He cleaned each individual spot with a cotton swab and what may have been rubbing alcohol in order to remove any oil or dirt that might be on my skin (although, I had taken a shower before leaving home which made it take more than 10 minutes to get there). He placed each lead on my scalp, and a few on my face and torso, using some putty and then taped them down. I honestly did not feel any pricking or discomfort of any kind.

Two belts were attached, one around my chest and the other around my stomach, and leads were attached to them as well. All the leads were pulled back into a ponytail and I got into bed.

I was really surprised that lying down with all the connections and wires connected to me was not uncomfortable at all. The tech then went back to the control room and began giving me instructions. Look left and right, up and down. Blink five times, grind my teeth, and make a snoring sound. Then I was told good night and sweet dreams.

Remember, that I said in the beginning that my brain would not participate? Well, I lay there, tossed and turned, and could not fall asleep. Nothing was uncomfortable, my brain just would not shut down.  By 5 a.m. the tech, came into the room and said that we would just shut it down this time and try again another night.

My scheduled test date was a week later. I went through all the setup and ended up getting my usual "interrupted" 5 to 6 hours of sleep. The testing was not difficult and they found that I have complex sleep apnea, a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Either could, at the very least, contribute to my cranium continua, so I was scheduled to return and be fitted for CPAP mask and machine.

  • The most common form of apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, OSA, and occurs when the throat muscles relax from 10 seconds to over 30 seconds. This causes obstruction and prevents you from taking in air. This may happen hundreds of times in one night.
  • When the brain fails to send the signal to take a breath, this is called Central Sleep Apnea, CSA. As a result, the breathing muscles that respond to the stimulus remain dormant.
I returned to the sleep lab the other night for the fitting and adjusting of a CPAP machine. The sequence was the same as the previous two times, with the addition of a mask that was placed over my nose and mouth.
The mask is a lot more comfortable than I remembered, but it is still going to take time in order to get used to it.

Now I am waiting for the whole contraption to be delivered to me. I will update when I receive it and can give an honest opinion about it.

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