Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Sleep Study (Updated)

I gave this a lot of thought about posting but since I'm confident my results will free me I decided to help any of my readers that may be facing the same path to travel, a chance to hear what the study is all about.

Getting hooked up.

At about 10:30PM it was time to begin attaching all the sensors that would take readings of what seemed like every brain, breathing, facial expression and leg function one could imagine or dream up.

Plug me in!

I had two electrodes on the outside of each calf muscle to measure for Restless Leg Syndrome. Two more electrodes on my chest and one on my back for measuring heart rate. These electrodes snapped into connectors located on the elastic straps across my chest and abdomen in order to measure my breathing.  All of these electrodes were all attached with sticky pads after a light scrub with what I thought was a scotch pad, ok it FELT like a scotch pad, then they were each secured with medical tape. Each individual connection had a long thin wire that plugged into a box to transmit the data to a computer in the monitoring room, which was just outside of my room.

Next, the tech measured my skull so she would know where to place the next electrodes.
These were  metal discs connected to a wire and were eventually attached to my scalp with Conductive Paste. Yes, it's a nasty sticky glue. After marking certain spots on my head with a wax pencil the tech used a cotton swab stick an antiseptic gel to clean the target area, I mean location, for the sensor.

Next up was the face sensors. Three were placed across my forehead. one at the corner of each eye to monitor eye opening and three  across my chin to measure jaw clenching.

The last sleep test accessory was the nasal tubing, not quite the typical oxygen cannula we use for flying but very similar. The cannula has a port in each nostril with the tubing wrapping around each ear to hold it in place.  There was a small loop under my nose as a part of the cannula that hangs down and gently sits on my upper lip to monitor breaths in and out of my mouth.  Finally, the pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels in my blood was placed on my left thumb.

When I first crawled into bed, the tech had to run a baseline test including the video and audio monitoring equipment. I would be given several commands to follow; without moving my head move my eyes right and left ten times each, move my eyes up and down ten times each. Move each foot like I was stepping on the gas pedal in a car, then move them both at once. I had to take a deep breath and hold it, cough, and clear my throat, clench my teeth and finally blink my eyes ten times. Base line numbers complete, time to sleep!

I slept fairly well all things considered. I had one nature call around 3ish (I'm guessing since she said see you in a couple of hours)and finally woke up around 6am.  The first process was to unhook all of the spaghetti wires from the machine then begin pulling off the sticky pads. The goobs of glue would need plenty of hot water when I shower after getting home.

My follow up appointment with my sleep doctor is scheduled for September 16th and my Flight Physical is following three days later on the 19th.  I'll be armed and ready to knock this out.


I followed up with the sleep doctor and my in hospital results were very good. I do NOT have sleep apnea. During non-REM sleep my AHI was 3 and RDI 4. In REM stage sleep both AHI and RDI were 4. Average Oxygen Saturation was 94%.

My advice - Don't waste your time or money on a take home, go to a sleep certified doctor and check yourself into the hospital for the real deal sleep study.


Jim and Sandie said...

Jim had a sleep test (I still can't imagine how you can sleep through all that) and he now sleeps with a CPAP. Sure makes it easier for me because he doesn't snore anymore. I'm really hoping that all goes well for you. RLS is not fun. I have a minor problem with that one but my sister really suffers from it. Looking forward to your test results and that you are soon back in the air.

Chris said...

It sounds like you slept much better than I did in the same situation. I've been through that process a few times now and I still can't quite get used to it. Best wishes for a favorable result, Gary!

Gary said...

Sandie, Crazy, but it really wasn't to bad. I'm thinking my legs were quiet and settled all night so I can rule that out. My weight is the main factor so I have started a diet recommended by a friend that hospitals seem to promote. I'm on a 1500 calorie a day diet and it really hasn't been to bad. Actually I've left some on the table, consuming an average of only 1250 a day and feeling good. Now if I can get used to the portion control!

So good to read you are heading north for cooler temps! I'm looking forward to your new adventures and pictures.

Gary said...

Chris, I had a busy day and then took a hot shower before the 10 minute drive to the hospital/testing center. I was ready to sleep even if I had to stand in a corner to do it. :)

I've been corresponding with Doc. Bruce from the forums and he is walking me through the process. I'm sure I'll get issued and worst case scenario have to report a follow up test result in 90 days. I'm really hoping for low numbers and an all clear. We shall see.

Roy said...

Gary, thank you sharing your sleep study experience. I will likely be scheduling one also. I'm not overweight (in my opinion anyway), but I have a large neck and snore. Take care, good luck and I look forward to more of your blog!


Gary said...

Roy, thanks for reading my blog.

I do have a fat issue. My BMI is 40, all belly! I knew I would be flagged so I got the study done. Don't waste your time with a take home, see a a sleep doctor and do the overnight. I am following Doctor Bruce's info on the AOPA Forum and corresponding through email.

I will post a follow up after seeing the sleep doc and reviewing the results. I am looking forward to getting back in the air.

Chris said...

Roy -

For what it's worth, my BMI is in the normal range for my height, but a sleep study many years ago clearly indicated that I had apnea. Other symptoms included snoring (as you noted), excessive fatigue and daytime sleepiness, and nasty morning headaches (every single morning). I've been treating the apnea with CPAP for many years now. Though I am not enamored with needing the machine, it made a world of difference for me and is better than the alternative. I'm alert, headache free, and as an added bonus, my sinuses stay open such that the multiple sinus infections I've had annually since I was a kid have completely disappeared.

I did not enjoy the sleep study (evidently, Gary can sleep through anything, the lucky dog), but the end result has been very worthwhile for me.