By Tamara S,
For most of his life, Joey had no trouble sleeping. It all ended at some point in his fifties. Suddenly he kept waking up in the middle of the night with shallow breathing. The sleep he so cherished was ruined. He couldn’t function properly because of his nightly loss of breath. At that point, caffeine was the only thing keeping him going. There was almost a yearning for a proper night’s rest. Worried over the lack of sleep, Joey made an appointment to meet with his doctor.
Going to the doctor was, indeed, a wise decision on Joey’s part. Even though it made him miss some days of work, it possibly saved his life. While talking to his doctor, he was asked a few questions. How much weight has he gained? How long has he had his sleeping problem? Has anyone in his family had these same types of problems? In the end, Joey didn’t really think it was a big deal. Now, Joey was under the assumption that his doctor would prescribe him some sleeping pills, and he’d be able to rest normally. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for Joey. However, his doctor just referred him to a sleep specialist, saying that they would be able to diagnose him more accurately. In Joey’s mind, this was just something else that would raise his medical bills.
Begrudgingly, Joey met with the sleeping specialist. Both the doctors believed that he had some form of sleep apnea. The sleep specialist managed to get Joey to agree to an overnight polysomnograph. This meant he would stay in the hospital where machines could monitor him in his sleep. The polysomnograph, or PSG, would monitor his brain waves, the oxygen levels in his blood, his heart rate, and his breathing. The next evening, Joey was hooked up to the machines, ready to be done with all of this so he can stop wasting his sick days from work. The sleep specialist looked over his results, and found out he had central sleep apnea.
Joey officially knew that he had central sleep apnea. Apparently it’s less common than obstructive sleep apnea, where the throat muscles relax and block your airways when you sleep. His problem is that his brain doesn’t tell his muscles to breathe. Some pauses in breathing can last for 20 seconds, which can be deadly, especially for infants. The doctors, mainly the sleep specialist, blamed his weight gain and age for his central sleep apnea. Thankfully for Joey, he knows what’s going on now. In fact, he has multiple different ways to handle sleep apnea. That means he’ll be back to properly sleeping soon enough. Eventually, Joey chose to use continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP, to deal with his central sleep apnea. I guess he preferred using the mask and machine instead of having surgery. With his problem finally dealt with, Joey went back to work and his regular life.