Sleeping Beauty

Last night I was in South Street Hospital for a sleep study.

This is my second time sleeping around to find out if I have sleep apnea. Well, the first time we found out that I do, a mild case. But my GP suspects it’s worse now and that I might benefit from a CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine.

Years ago I took my first sleep-away study at North York General Hospital. There, patients were herded together in one small area where technicians wired us up. Being in our jammies and all total strangers, it was less than ideal. The bedrooms were the size of closets. The bed had a wafer-thin mattress and the blanket was made of paper. Seriously. And it was cold; very, very cold. Despite being told that the techs would hear me if I called out, my requests for another paper-blanket fell on deaf ears. I was genuinely surprised that I got any sleep at all as I shivered through the night.

Last night I was in a very comfortable room with a regular hospital bed, a working heating system and real bedding. It was so warm, in fact, that the tech opened a window for me and that simulated the conditions I sleep in at home. This time I also took my own pillow and a book with which to pass the time. I had a pretty normal night’s sleep and for me, that means waking up several times with the faint echo of a life-saving snort dancing around the room. Apnea, baby!

I suppose the conditions depend on where the Sleep Lab falls in the hospital’s pecking order and therefore, how much funding it gets. My tech explained how the hospital expanded the program as the need for it grew and that it started out much like my North York experience. OHIP actually covers the lion’s share of a CPAP now. Prices reach into the thousands for the machine. Left to its own devices, sleep apnea – where the tongue slips back to block the airway for several seconds at a time – can cause heart problems and even death. Apparently the government realizes this and recognizes that CPAP is a cure. I won’t get my results for about a month but I’m delighted that my North York experience wasn’t repeated last night.

1 thought on “Sleeping Beauty”

  1. I am glad this time was a better experience for you. My MIL has one of those units and it has made a world of difference for her. If that is what you need, I hope you get it quickly.

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