Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Progress and Decline

At this week's fiddle lesson I started learning Oh Those Britches Full of Stitches, here played much more ably by someone who's only had three lessons than I can play it yet. Oh well! This marks my first official foray onto the D string, although I've been playing it in secret almost since the beginning.

Charlene is also trying to teach me the correct bowing technique for "Egan's Polka," which right now is very difficult. I'm used to one bowstroke per note, so playing several notes on one stroke is new and confusing. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it after a few more days of practice, though.

In today's medical news, I went to see my pulmonologist for the sleep-study results from a few weeks ago. Gary and I had talked last night about how, although my mood's fine, I've been really tired lately and have been sleeping a ridiculously long time (like, ten or twelve hours) each night. Exercise makes me sleep more right now, whereas it usually helps me wake up earlier. The last time that happened was before I was diagnosed with my sleep disorder. Six years ago, they called it UARS -- Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome -- which meant that my blood oxygen levels weren't going down, as in true apnea, but that my airway was narrowing enough to tell my brain to wake up.

I only had the second sleep test because my insurance company required it, but after last night's conversation, I wondered if maybe my sleep disorder had gotten worse. And, lo and behold, indeed it has: I now have full-blown -- although mild -- apnea. Off the CPAP, my blood oxygen dipped to 79 percent and my sleep was very disturbed (I didn't actually stop breathing, but my breathing was very shallow). The second they put me on the CPAP, I plunged into REM sleep, which I hadn't reached until then. "You like CPAP," the pulmonologist told me.

Indeed I do. I asked him what would make a sleep disorder get worse, and he pointed out gently that I've gained twenty pounds in those six years. Some of this is due to menopausal metabolism changes and some of it's probably due to my meds (I lost twenty pounds after going off my first round of meds about ten years ago). I'm not technically overweight, but I'm at the border.

Gahhhhh. I'd love to get off the meds, but my shrink thinks that's a really, really bad idea. She thinks I have to be on something the rest of my life. Pfui!

In the meantime, they'll be dialing my CPAP up a notch, from 6 to 7. I'll be curious to see if that makes a difference.

The good news here is that insurance will definitely pay for the sleep study and the CPAP. The bad news is that I have to keep hauling the CPAP around when I travel. I wish they could make one the size of an iPod, but that doesn't seem to have happened yet.


  1. Susan, I'm sorry to hear that you've got that full blown apnea. My Mom has it too and the CPAP helps her sleep much better. Grandmother had it too and it probably aggravated her alzheimers, or so runs family opinion.

    When I put a bunch of weight on thanks to SSRI's my psychiatrist changed me to another medlication that didn't cause as extreme a weight gain. This was especially helpful because I had a sedentary job. I'd gained way more than you have. Good luck with this meds thing. I'm guessing that you'll make some dietary changes to offset the weight gain but maybe your doc can give you a different med that won't cause that weight gain or maybe not as much.


  2. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I'm sure the iPod-sized CPAP is just a matter of time. As Lewis Black says, "If in my lifetime we can go from a telephone with a receiver so heavy you could have killed a puma with it, to something smaller than a pack of cigarettes..."

    Jeff P.

  3. Dianne6:24 AM

    hi Susan,

    I keep track of my sleep apnoea by accessing my machine's data.

    Lots of info on these boards:-



  4. Christine7:41 PM

    Hi Susan:
    You can find a small, lightweight CPAP at www.cpapxchange.com (I think that's correct, do a search for cpap exchange if not) that weighs only 2 pounds (without humidifier and battery, both of which I feel I need) by AOMED. I use it only for travel or when my power goes out at night (battery pack takes over automatically in an outage -one pack lasts 4-5 hours, 2 last 8-10). I love it -fly everywhere with it. Entire thing with unit, humidifier, battery pack, carry case, plug in cord (for in autos, etc.) was only $498 with free shipping - I highly recommend it!


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