Callie and I survived our first night apart in 2.5 years! B reported that my girl didn’t even whine or show any anxiety. No. She and Bandit checked at the front door a couple of times to see if I was coming home (with NO whining or crying- yeah!), but once B said, “It’s bedtime,” they went along and curled up close to him. When I walked in at 6:30 this morning, the sleepy puppies were very sluggish in their greeting. Normally, I get paws on the shoulders hugs and kisses all over my face, but the best Callie could muster this morning was an excited quiver and sleepy eyes. After talking with B for a few minutes, I went and laid on the bed and got a proper greeting from both: kisses all over, with my Callie curled up close to my belly. She must not have slept well, for all her “acceptance” behavior, because she’s been as sleepy today as I.
I haven’t seen any descriptions of what you can expect when you go to a sleep study. Friends and family members who’ve been through one have all been rather sketchy in their memories of what happened, as well. While it’s still fresh, the following account is my experience.
We arrived at the hospital at 8:15 to register. The registration desk had a printer that needs to be put out of its misery. I don’t know what was wrong, but bless its heart, it was grinding its gears and not printing the papers. That translated to a longer-than-usual registration process.
We got upstairs about 8:40. B stuck around (thankfully) and helped facilitate communicate between me and Dave, the sleep technician. Dave did a great job of explaining the MANY wires laying all over the bed, as well as what to expect during the night. He reassured me that my nocturnal bathroom trips would not be a problem. I had to answer a survey that asked questions about whether I’d had caffeine that day and how much, if I had smoked or had any alcohol that day (NO), if I’d had any of various illness symptoms, and how I was feeling (tired, wide awake, and something in between) at the time. He checked my blood pressure and he took my picture- face and profile. I also had to sign a consent to be videotaped for the purposes of the study, so the sleep lab staff could review my sleep patterns. Then he left and let me change into comfy night attire and B left to go home. This was about 9:15.
After about 15 minutes, he returned with a packet of papers I was supposed to have received at home to fill out and turn in. It was a list of all kinds of questions relating to sleep, sleepiness, and lifestyle choices. Some examples: Do you have nightmares or night terrors? How likely are you to doze at a stoplight? How likely are you to doze while sitting and reading a book? Do you snore, or has anyone told you that you snore? I filled this out while he started attaching wires all over my head. He would lift my hair and find a spot, rub it with a Q-tip dipped in some kind of creamy cleanser that was also pretty gritty, dab some thick goopy paste and stick the electrode in it, then tape it in place. It was not bad, but if you have a very sensitive head, the cleansing scrub might be uncomfortable- a little like having sand rubbed in.
I don’t know exactly how many electrodes were on my scalp, but let’s see, there were at least: one behind each ear, one on left/right side just past my scalp line on top, one on left/right side somewhere in the middle of the back of my head, and one on the left/right sides within my hairline at the nape of my neck. Additional sensors were placed on my face: one on my forehead, one each on my temples beside each eye, one on each cheek and one on each side of my chin. There was also the heart monitors- one on my right side, just below my shoulder, and one on my left side, under my arm. Another two sensors were attached to the inside of each ankle. The last sensor was a contraption that looked a lot like an oxygen line, except that it also had two little pieces of tubing that hung down from it. One was to go in my mouth and the other was just to hang out- to see if it moved when I breathed, I think, except that I didn’t notice it moving very much. I almost forgot- the fingertip pulse monitor went on my left middle finger.
It took about 45 minutes or so to get hooked up. Fortunately, Dave understands pregnancy and did not connect the 3 main wires to the wall until he gave me a chance to go to the restroom again. Then he introduced me to the bed: the Sleep Number Bed. Can we say entertainment? 5= softest, 100= hardest. My sleep number is apparently between 70 and 80.
Then… I slept. Not particularly well, but not any worse than usual, so about the same, but for fewer hours. I would wake up and sit up, ready to call out for Dave to unhook me, when Dave would come rushing in, quickly unhook me and leave while I went to the restroom. The guy had it down to a very precise science, for which I’m extremely grateful. Funny thing is that I have no idea how many times I woke up- a lot is all I could say when I was asked.
At 545, the lights came on and Dave started removing all the wires. I answered a couple of quick questions about how well I slept, then I was released to get dressed and go home. I walked in my house at about 6:30, and that included a quick stop at McDonald’s to get breakfast for me and B.
B was waiting for me at the door, and I actually had time to hug him and say hello before my girl came walking in with really sleepy eyes.
I have an appointment to go over my results next week, so now… I wait.