By: Brea M.
Sleep apnea has a lasting affect on more than just the person suffering from it, especially if not treated. Most people do not know they have sleep apnea until someone else tells them. I had previously read case studies and written reports on sleep apnea, but I had never observed someone suffer from it. However, shortly after meeting my boyfriend I knew he had suffered from it without being aware he had a sleep disorder. He would constantly complain about being tired and not feeling rested, even when he had a full night of sleep. We both blamed that on the baseball season at first. He works in professional baseball, and the long season can be exhausting. In the offseason, however, I noticed he was snoring loudly and appeared to have trouble breathing at certain times. I immediately knew he suffered from sleep apnea.
With having a health scare a few years ago which resulted in him suffering from “white coat syndrome,” persuading him to seek medical help was a challenge. “White coat syndrome” is a phrase given to people who have high anxiety and fear being in the medical setting. I eventually got him to agree to go to the doctor for a check up, which resulted in a sleep study being ordered. With all the anxiety during the check up, and not knowing if insurance would pay for the sleep study, my boyfriend decided he would get treatment at a later date. No matter how much I pleaded for him to get his sleep apnea taken care of, I couldn’t convince him.
More than a year later, he has still not taken care of his sleeping disorder. It has gotten to the point where I have to sleep in a separate room or I get frustrated with him. When telling him I am frustrated with his snoring, he tells me he cannot help what he does when he is unconscious. I know it is wrong of me to be frustrated because of something he cannot control, but I am also frustrated he will not take the initiative to go to the doctor to get help. I am more worried about his health than anything. I try to be as sensitive as I can be because of his anxiety; however, I still find myself feeling frustrated. As our relationship continues to become stronger and more serious, he has promised he will get treatment before we move in together. We are moving in together this summer, so I am expecting him to seek medical treatment soon. Once he seeks medical attention and starts to sleep with a CPAP, I know it will help both of us.