Wednesday, December 17, 2008

wish me luck...

I have just returned from the Huntsville Hospital Sleep Disorders Center where I had a consultant with a sleep specialist.  For some time now I have suspected that I may have a sleep disorder, possibly narcolepsy.  The doctor confirmed my suspicions, but to be sure I have to return to the Sleep Center TONIGHT to have a sleep study done.  Maybe I am a nerdy medical student, but I am kind of excited about this.  

Here's what is going to happen:  I show up at 8:30 this evening, with an overnight bag packed "as I would for an overnight stay at a hotel or a friend's house."  Beforehand, my hair has to be washed with just shampoo, not conditioner (EEK) and I am not allowed to wear any type of makeup or lotion.  (In other words, I will look like a raving frizzy-haired dry-skinned lunatic.)  Once I arrive, I will get settled into my comfortable hotel-style accomodations.  They will then hook up about a thousand wires to me.  According to the helpful pamphlet:

"Next, approximately two dozen sensors which are generally small metal discs (called electrodes) are applied to the skin of your head and body using an adhesive.  These sensors monitor... brain waves, muscle movements, eye movements, breathing through your mouth and nose, snoring, heart rate, and leg movements.  Flexible elastic belts around your chest and abdomen measure your breathing.  A clip on your finger or earlobe monitors the level of oxygen in your blood and your heart rate."

When I wake up in the morning, it is not over.  I will be sticking around for the MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test), which consists of a series of naps throughout the day using the same monitoring equipment.  A staff of trained technicians in the next room will be monitoring everything about me while I sleep.  Hopefully everything will turn out all right!    Expect an update tomorrow evening after I return from my adventures in the Sleep Center!

P.S. I am not allowed to drink caffeine before my study begins.  Of course, I am having caffeine withdrawal symptoms right now.  If I had known, I would have loaded up this morning.  


Andrew said...

I had this done in 11th grade! Or maybe it was Fall of 12th grade. Hard to remember. I didn't do the "nap" study thing though, just the overnight and then I left. It is kind of interesting/fun. You have to go to the weird basement of the hospital. Good luck though! I hope there isn't a problem, but then again I hope there is so that whatever sleep issues may have can be fixed! Yep yep. The weirdest part is definitely getting all the little sticky-chord things off... they leave a residue. Good luck!

WikiStevia said...

How exciting! I hope everything turns out alright for you.

This is what my brother-in-law is doing this week, by the way, so if you were having this done in Mobile he would be one of the doctors you'd work with.

It is probably best that you are not. It would creep me out to have him watch me sleep.

Tricia said...

Oh I can't wait to read about how this goes! Very exciting!