I got my results a few minutes ago. They confirm that I do indeed have sleep apnea. While sleeping normally, I got zero REM sleep - the really refreshing sleep that rejuvenates the mind and body. Zero. I stopped breathing on average 38 times an hour - at one time for thirty seconds continuously. The oxygen saturation of my red blood cells dropped to worrying levels. When I was put on the machine, 13 percent of my sleep was REM sleep, and I didn't stop breathing once. No wonder I felt better the next day. My doc is now ordering the C-PAP machine. The best Christmas present I'll ever have.
If anyone ever wants to start doing public service announcements for Sleep Apnea for geeks, give me a call. I blogged about my sleep apnea quite awhile back, and haven't gotten around to writing about it since, but this disease and my subsequent treatment have been some of the most significant events in my life.
Whenever I read someone else writing about snoring, I now have this instant zealotous reaction to run-don't-walk to that person and shanghai them off to a sleep clinic. All apologies to anyone this has ever annoyed, since I have a personal furor over this issue akin to rabid various cult leaders pushing their radical agendas about the necessity of marriage to potted ferns. That is to say, it makes me nutty that anyone's left on the planet not breathing during sleep.
I cannot overestimate the positive effect this CPAP machine has had on me. I believe that it has clearly been responsible for reversing a downward spiral of anxiety, depression, and stymied productivity that increasingly gripped me over the last few years. Granted there have been other causes and events involved, but this sleep apnea was literally robbing me of my brain.
As my condition worsened, I lost my ability to think and to grasp big pictures-- the things I so consider part of being me-- but it happened so gradually that I didn't even realize it was happening until I reached the point where I literally couldn't add 2 and 2 in my head, couldn't write more than 3 lines of code at a time, and I couldn't drive a car by myself for longer than 5 minutes at a time without nodding off.
And due to a strange mixture of lethargy, social anxiety, and perceived helplessness, it took me way too long (and far too many proddings by the people I love) to finally get my ass tested. If I could gain access to a time machine, I'd personally march up to my past self years ago, assault him with a baseball bat, and strap a CPAP mask on him as he recovered in bed-- and damn the consequences of time paradox even if it threatened the very fabric of space-time.
So, if you have a heavy snore, suffer often from daily exhaustion and lethargy, can't seem to think as well as you remember you had in the past... SEE A DOCTOR!!!
(Don't make me have to come over there and threaten your space-time fabric.)