Sleep, Interrupted

I've just been diagnosed with sleep apnea. I've heard the term but never knew what it was. For quite a while my family has brought my sleep habits to my attention but I thought nothing of it. I'm apparently snoring louder these days and stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. There's been a few times where I've gasped for air and awoke myself. So I went to my doctor who referred me to a sleep specialist. The sleep specialist suggested I do an overnight sleep study. This consists of staying in a hotel-type room overnight and being wired to computers via many electrodes and wires. The results confirmed "mild" sleep apnea. I stopped breathing an average of 23 times per hour in a 7-hour period. These moments can be as little as a 3 seconds on up to 12 seconds in duration. They are accompanied by the brain detecting the problem and sending a signal to the body to work harder to breathe. This results in the brain and body awaking even for just a couple of seconds. Most of these awakenings aren't detected whatsoever but the accumulative waking time results in sleep deprivation. When I stop breathing the body and brain are deprived of oxygen. It can all add up to many health hazards such as high blood pressure, coronary problems, fatigue, loss of concentration, and depression. Yes, depression. This new revelation is not the cause of my depression but it might certainly exacerbate it.

The treatment options are a "CPAP" machine which is a mask attached to a programmed box that sends a constant stream of air through the nose while you sleep. Another treatment is a custom made dental appliance you wear at night that juts out the lower jaw and allows more airflow. Another option is surgery where your jaw bone is dislocated and pushed forward with braces. It includes a 4 to 6 week wiring shut of the mouth and a liquid diet. Not a chance. Yet another is puncturing a hole through the trachea. Again, not a chance.

I'm not sure what to do at the moment. I'm the worst decision maker. I need to research cost and insurance coverage. None of this is welcome news by any stretch and I haven't the energy to deal with it.

As I've written in earlier posts, sleep is my only escape. Now it's become a possible accomplice to my depression. In rare cases, if gone untreated sleep apnea can cause death. It's not a likely result for me but the thought of going to sleep and never waking up is appealing in a macabre way. Isn't that how we all want to go?

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