Monday, 2 July 2012

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

After the photo, a nasal canula was
added, holding a sensor over my mouth.

I spent last night in hospital, no it was nothing serious. In fact, it wasn't for treatment of any sort.  It was a sleep study, for diagnostic purposes.

Even with my pain levels mostly under control, I've been suffering from lots of fatigue.  The sleep study is to find out if there's some other cause of my being tired.

So happens at a sleep study?

The preparation was fairly simple, shower and wash my hair, but not to use hair conditioner, talcum powder, moisturisers or  deodorant, then to pack my toiletries and pills, and pyjamas for a night at the hospital. (It had to be cotton pyjamas not satin or polyester.)

After checking in, I was wired up. 

There were electrodes on my legs to check for restless leg syndrome, across my chest to check heart function, and a lot of them on my scalp to monitor brain function, some on my face to keep track of eye movement, and whether my jaw was moving or I was grinding my teeth.

All the wires that were attached to me.
Next came elastic bands around my waist and chest with sensors to monitor my breathing.  The chest band also had a sensor to note which position I was sleeping in.

After the above photo was taken a nasal cannula was added (the same as used for oxygen - but not connected up to oxygen) which had a sensor wire hanging from it across my mouth. This was to check whether I was breathing through my nose or my mouth.  This was the most unpleasant part of the whole experience. If you've ever had a nasal cannula, you know they're uncomfortable, and have an incredibly strong plastic smell. 

An oximeter was attached to my finger with a bit of tape, and then I was fully wired up.

The technician left the room to go to the computer monitor, and spoke to me through a speaker giving me instructions to move my eyes, breathe, hold my breath, lie in different positions, etc to check that the sensors were working correctly.

The equipment in the room, connected to computer
equipment in the monitoring room.
After that it was lights out. 

I had trouble getting to sleep. I always have trouble sleeping in a new place, and the nasal cannula was very annoying. I did toss and turn a lot, and was surprised that none of the electrodes came loose, the goo they stick them on with is heavy-duty stuff.

Strangely, when I did sleep, all my dreams were about the sleep study. Hospitals are usually incredibly noisy, busy, places. The sleep unit is incredibly quiet. My dreams supplied the noise and busy-ness of a hospital. 

In the morning, the technician came back and unplugged me from everything. A hot shower to get rid of all the goo that had kept the electrodes attached was wonderful. Then it was a matter of eating breakfast and driving home.

The information gathered will go to my regular doctor and a sleep specialist. In about a week, I'll see the sleep specialist to get my test results.


  1. The most unbelivable of all is that you have been able to sleep for a while with all that stuff on you and around you !

    1. I know, Claire. For a while, I thought I wasn't going to be able to sleep with it all on.


Thanks for being part of the conversation.

Your comment will be visible after moderation.