Saturday, July 9, 2011

I went to a sleep clinic

Never Done: I went to a sleep clinic

I've always been a light sleeper and I have also always been a rural sleeper, which is to say I get sleepy when the sun goes down and I wake up when it's time to feed the chickens. I did pretty well for most of my life without getting tons of sleep, but a few years ago it started to take its toll. as I've been sorting out the asthma/ breathing problems I have developed, I've started to notice that I sometimes wake up either coughing or having what seems like an asthma attack. When I mentioned that to one of the doctors I've seen, he referred me to a sleep clinic, with a stern warning: it's not safe to wake up in the night and not be able to breathe right. I hadn't really thought of that before. So I made the appointment.

I went to see a completely delightful Argentine Jewish (but mostly raised in Uruguay) doctor with a great sense of humor and probing mind. I filled in a massive survey (How often do I nod off while talking with friends, while driving, while in the theater. Do I have restless legs? Am I a vegetarian? Do I have a hard time falling asleep? Staying asleep? Would my partner say I snore? Kick? Do I get up and eat in the night? Do I take naps? How long? Did I think Gaeta on Battlestar Galactica was actually gay?) (You're right. They didn't really ask that. But I think he was.) Then the doctor interviewed me, and then my partner, and interspersed sweet jokes in between his medical discovery. (In my country we do triathlons too. We play football, we eat barbecue, we take naps.) (That sounds like a much more fun triathlon than the one I am doing.)

In the end, he decided that I should go in for a sleep study -- where I will sleep in a bed overnight hooked up to wires and probes and even a microphone. When I expressed my concern that it might not be much of a night of sleep, he reassured me that all he needs is 4 hours. Funny, I wasn't so much thinking about what he needs, but hopefully his needs are really to serve mine, and hopefully we'll work together so that the next time I ride blog on the subway ride home I won't nod off like I just did. (Which I did not make up, and is 100% true.)

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