Sleepless in St. Louis: Diagnosis Apnea

It’s official. My husband has sleep apnea.

Goodnight Moon

I have known this for at least seven years. Now he believes it too. Why? After a sleep study during which he stopped breathing more than 100 times per hour, the doctor told him oh yes, he has a most severe case.

Repeat the rule after me. Listen to your spouse. Listen to your spouse.

My husband insisted for much of the past seven years he didn’t need to go to the doctor. His condition was genetic. He couldn’t help it. He was born this way. Comes from a long line of short, fat, snoring, German men.

All this despite the fact he stands six feet tall and his father is taller. So much for the short, fat, German man defense.

But my father-in-law snores too. I acquiesced to the genetic excuse for a while.

Then I got mad. A counselor friend tells me it’s easier to be angry than to be afraid. She’s on to something.

I was afraid. I am afraid my husband will drop dead of a condition that is absolutely treatable.

In the middle of the night, he will have a stroke or a heart attack and be gone. Or in a state of cataclysmic sleep deprivation, he will fall asleep at the wheel and die in a crash. It happens. Poof! Just like that. Gone.

You can’t hide tired forever. Eventually chronic sleep deprivation shows.

My husband, once unable to stop talking, now was unable to carry on a conversation. The man who once relished reading with his little boy now was unable to stay awake past the first few pages.

We were losing him even though he was still living here with us.

my hopping mad little tent

At that point I was terrified, so I got hopping mad.

And that is where I camped out for a while. Seething in my anger. All by myself in my hopping mad little tent. Alone.

That is also where my lesson comes in.

No more seething alone. I need to say what I need to say before the quiet repression begins and the situation balloons into a major crisis. Cue John Mayer.

my skinny little foot in Kenneth Cole

When I finally put my skinny little foot down and called the sleep clinic and drove him to the appointment, my husband got the diagnosis I expected.

His doctor prescribed a sleep machine. It is helping. Immensely. Miraculously.

Of course the only model that works for my him is the most complicated and expensive one.

Funny thing. He didn’t use that as an excuse to bail.

This time I wasn’t going to let him. After all these years, every day and night, we’re still learning our lessons.

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 TLB

In his book Questions & Answers About Sleep Apnea, Dr. Sudhansu Chokroverty, MD, FRCP, FACP, reports 15-20 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. Want more information? Mayo Clinic, The National Institutes of Health, and The New York Times are excellent places to start online. My husband will even email with you about his experience if you like. Contact everyday epistle at att dot net. And please consult your doctor.

Dear Nora Ephron, thank you for Sleepless in Seattle. Who’d have guessed your film along with Pearl Jam and Nirvana would lure masses of Gen-Xers to Seattle in the early 90s. They stayed for Starbucks and ended up with Twilight vampire children who settled across the way in Forks. (Did I just write that? I think I need to get some sleep.)

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9 Responses to Sleepless in St. Louis: Diagnosis Apnea

  1. Lisa

    I was so glad when I heard that he was doing this Aimee. And I am thrilled to hear that the expensive and complicated machine is working! Yeah Jeff. Now, I have to say those are amazing shoes! And your skinny little put down foot looks fantastic in them. I saw the pic before I read and thought, “oh good for Jeff, he bought her shoes to make up for not listening to her all this time.” It’s still an option you know. :-)

  2. Kari

    CPAPs are a wonderful invention! So glad he got the diagnosis. And you’ll sleep so much better, too. :)

  3. julie

    Truly helping someone is usually inconvenient, and that little mad tent can feel awfully safe for a while! Great image, Aimee.
    PS my feet will never be skinny- just ask my mom!

    • You’re right, Julie. Most everything that is worth doing is also inconvenient. Come to think of it, love is inconvenient, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or for my tent!
      PS you have lovely feet :)

  4. Cheryl

    I’m glad Jeff is getting better. But more importantly, those are some hot shoes!

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