I did it. I did the sleep study. I am a walking zombie this morning, but I DID IT.
I checked in through the ER at around 7:30pm last night. If you ever want to see a hip hop happening place, stop by a Level 1 Trauma Center on a Friday night. Luckily, they quickly shuffled me through and I headed up to the Sleep Clinic with my overnight bag and pillows in hand.
They immediately had me change into my PJs and started in on the wiring. You would not believe the shit they attached to me.
The full list:
* 30 wires (literally) attached to my scalp – to measure brain activity
* 8 wires attached to my face – to measure my R.E.M. movements & teeth grinding
* 2 wires attached to my legs – to check for Restless Leg Syndrome
* 2 wires attached to my arms – um, I have no idea why
* 2 separate breathing canulas stuck in my nose – to measure my amount carbon dioxide emitted
* a pulse ox on my finger – keep track of the oxygen in my blood
* A microphone taped to my neck – so they could hear me
* 2 belts, 1 tightly on my waist and 1 tightly around my chest – to measure my chest compressions
It took them nearly an hour to get my head wired. And several techs came to watch because apparently the full “parasomnia montage” test is a rarity. This part was particularly unpleasant as they had to dig into my scalp with an exfolient to get the connection to be as clean as possible. Then they attached the wires with glue. That’s right, glue. Stinky, sticky, smelly glue. I am not sure if my hair will ever recover. I may just have to shave it and start over.
Once the leads were on, he let me go to the bathroom one more time (as I tried desperately not to drop any of them into the toilet) and then he hooked me up to the other monitoring apparatus. I laid down and realized this was definitely one of the weirdest things I have ever done in my life. He performed a final “bio cal” – whatever that means… where he boomed over the intercom to tell me to open my eyes for 30 seconds, close my eyes for 30 seconds, move them left and right and up and down, hold my breath, breathe through my mouth, etc. Basically I think it was to make sure everything was working properly.
And then he told me to go to sleep.
I read for about an hour. Every time I tried to move, I was reminded of what a horse must feel like. I was tethered in every way possible. Though, if I am being honest, it was the wires on my arms (which were taped ALL the way down my arm, making it very hard to bend at the elbow) and the breathing canulas which were the hardest to take.
But I did finally drift off.
He woke me around midnight because my unconscious tossing and turning had pulled out one of the wires out and he had to do an emergency wirectomy at my bedside. Then he told me to go back to sleep.
I really don’t think I slept from that point on for more than 5 minutes, he assured me that I did sleep. In fact, he seemed really pleased with the amount of data he gathered.
The next thing I knew, it was 6am and they were waking me up to take the wires out. Two techs proceeded to pull all that tape off my face, head, legs and arms. Declan asked me this morning if it hurt. I’ll give you the uncensored version of what I told him: IT HURT LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. Imagine one of those monkeys who has other monkeys cleaning their head and eating what they find. The techs didn’t think that was very funny when I mentioned it to them – but it was exactly what it felt like.
Then they released me. I wandered down the hallway in a complete daze. If you think a hospital is weird on a Friday night, you should see it at 6:30am Saturday morning. I didn’t encounter a single person the whole way, and everything was dark, dark, dark. It felt like one of those horror movies where the last one standing is trying to sneak her way out to safety. Or maybe that’s just the sleep deprivation talking.
And after a really long shower this morning and complicated glue removing maneuvers, I feel somewhat close to human again. I tell you though, I am going to feel REALLY human tonight because I can start taking my Lunesta again.
I find out the results of the tests on October 19th. Cross fingers we get some answers and all this was worth more than a funny blog post.