Friday, November 05, 2010

A personal non rocket tale and warning.

This has NOTHING to do with rockets but I think its important.
For the last two plus years I've felt tired and somewhat depressed.
I just thought I was getting older and though it was normal to feel drained all the time.
Last year while I was driving toward the LLC I was not getting a lot of sleep, largely by choice.

After the LLC I was looking forward to getting my energy back but no matter how much sleep I got, I woke up feeling trashed. I could barely work past 9pm without becoming dangerous and/or unproductive.

A month or so ago My wife went up to Long Beach for 4 days.
On Sunday I slept by myself and Monday I felt terrible. On Monday I drove up to Long Beach and spent the night with her, Tuesday I felt fine. Tuesday night I was home alone and Wednesday I felt terrible. Wednesday night she came home and Thursday I was ok.
I pointed this out to her and she said "when you roll over on your back you snore and I elbow you to make you roll over."

A light goes on My 80 yr old father has Sleep Apnea so I call my Dr and explain the A-B-A-B experiment I had just done. He says he will schedule me for a home sleep study..... 10 days later its tied up in the insurance authorization never never land so I buy myself a recording pulse oximeter and record a nights sleep. I find that my O2 sat goes to less than 80% more than 20 times in a 6 hour recording.

Armed with my data I say dam the insurance and full speed ahead. So I go in and see a sleep doctor that schedules a formal sleep study. The result is that I was having 33+ apneas an hour,
and not just while I was on my back.

When this happens your body senses that something is wrong and sets off all the panic alarms and wakes you up. As a result anytime I got into REM sleep it was short lived and unproductive.
You also get to activate your fight or flight alarm hormones every night. It also explains why I would wake up a 3 am feeling exhausted yet unable to go back to sleep. My body was in panic alarm mode. I was inadvertently running the REM sleep deprivation experiment.

I got a CPAP machine on Wednesday this week. Its only been two days, but I feel 1000% better. I wake up feeling rested, I worked late in the shop last night and got a lot done.

I'm writing this so anyone that snores and is feeling tired will seriously consider getting a sleep study. I did not look forward to sleeping with the Mask and hose etc.. but the change in how

I feel has been so dramatic that I would do it in an instant even if it meant wearing the mask 24/7. So if any of you are feeling tired and run down, not yourself depressed think about a sleep study.

I realize that something once written is on the Internet forever and that this revelation
might cause me some grief in the future while looking for jobs, contracts etc.... but if just one person reads this and it prods them to get checked out it will be well worth it.

As a side note I hope this will mean a lot more progress on the rocket projects!


James Jarvis said...

Hey Paul - that is very good to hear. I've wondered if I have something like this too. What recording oximeter did you get?



Paul Breed said...

This is the pulse oximeter I bought

It took my three nights/tries to get the data off, you must download the data BEFORE you turn it off. It has no permanent memory

Jonathan said...


I am glad you were able to identify the issue. I recently had a sleep study done for the same sort of reasons: lack of energy, lethargy, sleep not refreshing me...first sleep study indeed said I have sleep apnea. I am soon to go back for my follow up with the CPAP machine. Hopefully that gives me similar results to you.

Hope your trip yesterday was fun.

heroineworshipper said...

That does take balls to put on a blog in your real name. Having said that, anyone with enough determination & obsession could link my real name to the complete absolute wacko blogs that I write.

We now feel blessed to have never snored or had to wear a mask. As for the sleep partner, there are just a lot of unfortunate heroines who will never have a snore free partner they don't have to elbow.

Dan said...

Paul, I hope that you are still feeling great while using the CPAP! I have suspected that I have this as well and your post has caused me to schedule an appointment with my doctor to discuss it. Thank you!