Friday, April 17, 2009

Sleep Study

OK, so there were two last tests that my doctor ordered... just to "cover all the bases" and not expecting to find anything. One was a colonoscopy - and I'm going to spare you the details. Suffice it to say, things are fine.

Second - a sleep study. I wake up every morning - completely exhausted. It takes a good hour to convince my body to move properly. I fall asleep pretty easily at night and sleep undisturbed for the entire night. I have two brothers & a sister with sleep apnea -so I know the symptoms... I don't have them. My sister also has restless leg - so I'm familiar with it as well... I don't have it. I struggled with insomnia in my teen years - I definitely don't have it.

Oddest thing about it is although I've never been a morning person ... up until about five years ago, I couldn't sleep past 7 to save my soul. Now I can't get up by 7 unless the house is on fire and someone drags me out of bed to save me. I've got 5 alarm clocks going - and I'm still having trouble. My health has been poor and we've had lots of things going on - so the last thing my doctor's were worried about was my trouble with over-sleeping. But, honestly? It's the biggest issue with quality of life that I have right now. I'm beyond tired ALL DAY LONG. And I don't have the energy to play or walk the dog, or do much of anything beyond the bare minimum.

So - met the doctor the afternoon before my sleep study and it was very interesting. Apparently there's a not very well known condition that is the opposite of insomnia - called ideopathic hypersomnia. And, I have 9 out of 10 of the symptoms - to a capital T. Holy cow. Interestingly enough, although sometimes they don't know why someone starts to have this, it can come on after nuerologic symptoms. Which I also have had - and in fact, I've had this "exhaustion" ever since my first "mini stroke" - or whatever it was, if it wasn't really a stroke. It's gotten better and worse, but it's never really left... so the timing fits. Also, one of the "key signs" of this is that people who have it tend to try to avoid napping (because it doesn't help). And -that is really what I do as well. If I do take a nap, it ends up being 5-6 hours and I'm still tired after the nap; what a waste. So although I'm too tired to move or do anything except go lay down; I then turn around and do everything I can to stay awake while I'm laying down.

So, he told me that if I didn't have insomnia, nor sleep apnea, nor restless leg syndrome (which I knew I didn't)... then he wanted to know if I could stay for further testing the following day to test for narcalepsy (which I don't think I have) - and hypersomnia. I won't know for sure the diagnosis for the next couple of weeks, but I am curious.

The sleep test went well - I slept through the night, had trouble waking up, just like always. Of course, I don't have any of the conditions I didn't think I had. Then - the following day - every two hours they would have me lay down to take a nap. They'd give me 20 minutes and then wake me up again. I'd have to get out of bed & sit until the next time a nap was due. I wasn't worried about it... but living it? How cruel is it take someone who is exhausted - tell them to try to sleep, and then wake them up literally within minutes of falling asleep? Ugh. It was actually very frustrating. And I also found it quite challenging to "put away" the things and try to sleep during the day after so many, many days of fighting off sleep during the day.

So, it will be interesting!

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