Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sleep: There's an App for That

I wonder why I don't go to bed and go to sleep. But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherent I am, I can skip one hour more of sleep and live. –Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

It's been an interesting week around here. Yesterday LadyBug and I went to the dermatologist for our semi-annual skin check. It's one of those necessary evils, but it is never fun to strip down to your unmentionables and lie on a table covered in a paper towel while the doctor shines a bright light on you as he checks your skin for "interesting" moles. It's especially uncomfortable when you forget to shave your legs and underarms. LadyBug had three removed and I had one, we went for a brownie afterwards and that's over and done with for another six months.

Yesterday evening it was on to the next adventure—prep for a colonoscopy this morning. The procedure itself was a breeze. I slept right through it. But the prep was horrible. The solution was completely vile, I slept very little and 10 years will not be long enough for me to forget that process. This was a follow up to my giving up gluten almost two months ago. I went to see the regular doc and he referred me to a GI doc. They did blood tests and other kinds of fun tests {including testing for giardia, which I thought was hilarious} and when they all came back negative, a colonoscopy was the next step. In the category of finding nothing wrong, my large intestine is squeaky clean and a-okay. They even gave me a souvenir photo, suitable for framing.

Which brings me to tomorrow's stop on my whirlwind medical tour; a septoplasty with turbinate reduction. You see, I haven't been sleeping well. Do you want to know how I know? Well, there's an app for that. This is where we jump to backstory.

Sometime last October, Mr. Bug downloaded an app on his phone that uses the accelerometer to detect movement and then gives you an output of how well you're sleeping. Sleep and I are old nemeses. It seems like I toss and turn and I never wake feeling rested and refreshed. I figured, what the heck? It would be a fun experiment, so I downloaded a similar app {his is for Android phones and mine for iPhones}. I've used it almost every day and the results are in. I am not getting a good quality of sleep at night.

The app is pretty cool. It gives you an analysis of your sleep every morning and keeps track of various aspects of your sleep in charts and graphs. This graph shows my overall sleep quality. You can see that I hover in there right between 70% and 80%. If I were getting a report card for sleep quality, I'd be getting a C. I'm an overachiever and that's really not acceptable.

This chart breaks it down and shows my sleep quality by day of the week. I used to kind of make a game of it and on those days where my sleep quality was lower, I'd make an extra effort to go to bed a little earlier, clear my mind, relax and let the day go, to see if I could improve the graph {see also, overachiever}. All I really managed to do was to swap Tuesdays for Wednesdays.

And here, you can see I'm squeaking by on about 7 hours of sleep a night most of the time. If we were to put this in a report card, I'm getting about a B+ in time asleep, but the quality of that sleep is a C. After watching my charts and graphs for week after week hoping that things would improve, I decided that something more than hoping had to be done.

Back to the present and my impending upcoming surgery. I've suspected that I have a deviated septum {the cartilage in my nose isn't straight} for a number of years. I don't breathe very well through my nose. The right nostril always seems blocked up. And I clench my jaw while I'm asleep. Putting the two together, I am guessing that some of my sleep trouble is that I'm not getting enough air. I never made it a priority to get checked out, but after downloading this app and seeing how crummy my sleep quality is, I started thinking of it more and more. Even so, I put off calling an Ear Nose and Throat specialist to make an appointment. I mean, what if I got there and there was nothing wrong?

Then that would be a waste of time and money.

Recently, I've decided that is a silly way to think and I've decided to be more proactive about my health concerns {see also, colonoscopy}. I made an appointment at an ENT practice and the PA I saw said that my septum is definitely deviated and that I have about an 85% blockage in my right nostril. That means that it is operating at only 15% capacity, which is something like a T {for Troll} on my report card. I chided myself for waiting so long to get this checked out, because something is wrong and it can be fixed.

Of course, it was a different story when the hospital staff called to do early check-in and said that the estimated cost of the procedure was 15 bazillion dollars and 50 cents, which had been submitted to my insurance already for preauthorization and my portion of that was 15 bazillion dollars. And it kind of dawned on me that if care goes beyond the initial office visit, the cost of the thing skyrockets. I'm going to have to visit a therapist next, to work through the anxiety all these medical bills are creating.

In other news, if we have not yet met the out-of-pocket/deductible max for our entire family for the year, we will shortly. This means insurance will cover any and all procedures for the rest of the year. I should have scheduled a mammogram for Friday to round the week out.


Vicki said...

I hope it goes well tomorrow! Good for you for taking care of yourself. I need to go get a regular physical... this year sometime. I do go to the dentist and floss and brush so there's that.

Lane said...

Glad to hear everything went smooth. I almost cancelled mine when the lady called to tell me it was going to cost 3 bazillion dollars out of pocket for a test that's supposed to be free. Darn that family history. Turns out that the more likely you are to have something wrong, the more the insurance company charges to find out. Take care of yourself. Lane

Paulette said...

I'm curious how that app works, but no need to explain, really. Very interesting to see the data though. I'm glad your colonoscopy came out great and am thinking of you today during your septoplasty surgery. Hope you have a speedy recovery!

Shay said...

Wow girl ...thats a lot of medical follow up . Glad the bottom bit went ok and that you are whistle clean down there.

Good luck for the next bit.

Not sure I want to know how cruddy my sleep patterns are - Im sure knowing would make me feel worse !

Jill said...

Well big sis, I'm glad you survived the colonoscopy. 'Bout time one of my siblings joined me. I've had three in the last four years. But, I suppose that's what I get for having as chronic condition. At least I get to wait another 5 years for my next one.

I wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery, and I hope it helps you sleep better!

Jill said...

Oh, yeah. Thanks for the gross pictures on the link that describes your surgery. Delightful.

whimsyfox said...

You m'dear manage to make me bark with laughter even describing something so non-laughable as surgeries. I (finally) wisened up and subscribed to your posts so I would (finally) keep up with your blog. (let's not talk about how I managed to miss reading this for a whole 16 hrs)

I'm relieved to hear the colonoscopy went well & clean bill of health, though that's a double edge sword - everything's clearly not "alright" and they didn't identify the problem. :( I had an endoscopy a year ago. other way in. not as complex (read nasty) prep.

I hope the other surgery I can't pronounce and most definitely can't spell went ok. Deep breaths here you come!

*downloads sleep app*