Saturday, November 6, 2010

frightened to death take a deep breath! sleep apnea

Nightmares, restlessness, poor grades, depression might be you are not breathing in your sleep. Are you or your kids suffering from sleep apnea? Its a deadly invisible killer on your health.

Duane Burnett sleep apnea Duane Burnett undergoing an overnight test for signifanct sleep apnea at the Sleep Disorder Clinic, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

I remember I use to get comments on my elementary report card "If Duane would only apply himself". High school turned out to be a migraine inducing Linda Blair head twist. All my life I have had horrific terrible nightmares to knock the socks off me for weeks, and decades! When in the work force chronic pain, fatigue, exhaustion, and depressions was the norm. Now in my mid-40's crushing chest pain and laboured breathing is the daily bread. Just keeps getting better every life I live.

I came across an article about sleep apnea when I Googled if there was any relation to nightmares. Its a question and theory I have had for decades now. I have also told my friends with children, that if there kid is having lots of nightmares it may be sleep apnea.

I was so surprised by what this article said that I wanted to share it with you and my first hand experience.

In one section it talks about signs to look for, one of them was the sheets and covers look like they just went through a tornado. I remember waking up in our home in Ladner with the sheets twisted around my ankles, which usually coincided with another anxiety freaked nightmare trying to escape and being chased or unable to run during an earthquake in Gibsons.

One of my fave all times nightmares that just scared the piss out of me was shooting at dinosaurs chasing us through our neighbourhood in Delta to the slough behind our house by a very ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex which bit my head off. And my nightmares have kept up with the times too over the decades!

I eventually figured in my child's mind, oh it must be the sheets, and as they ended up a disaster by morning, I just removed them, and to this day, I still can't have sheets on the bed. I try, but by morning they are on the floor. Maybe one less thing to wash and make your bed up with might have been a bonus factor. :D

Well, duh, took me a few decades to figure out, but after researching why my health and myself was behaving the way it was, I finally figured out I stop breathing 100's of times a night and thrash and toss in pain from fibromyalgia, depression, nightmares. Doesn't help that I am also a creative, intuitive, sensitive, feeling, caring type person so everything is magnified in my perception, like the destruction of the planet. Breaks my heart.

Joy oh joy I am also born with a dreaded sexual orientation that is ostracized and ridiculed by much of the human race, and it in many places, can result in death. Yah me! But then I do often wonder if this is meant to bring out the best in me. LOL Cant' wait to get there. Put me out of my misery! Who would invite such grief into their lives? I often wonder if it will ever get better?

It all seems to fall into place so easy now and with more research and understanding of sleep apnea. There is no real answer to helping someone with sleep apnea ( you may hear them snore a lot real hard ) other then forcing air into them with a mask and tubes. Please let me assure you its not my cup of tea, the mask on top of the chronic pain I am in, particular in my neck when your head rests on the pillow and well, hell, I tore the damn thing off.

Another thing I noticed with the breathing mask and tubes was I would find myself with the air hose tubing wrapped around my neck several times and unplugged from the machine.

Of course a lifetime of no sleep, no oxygen, and chronic pain exasperates the depression, fatigue, and mental functions like memory. Its no wonder a creative joyful child might be told he should apply himself more. He was physically suffering from a debilitating and fatal medical condition. No wonder I could grasp grand concepts of spirt and time and space but couldn't recite dates on a history exam. Of course, the system marked me for how well I could remember. Canary in the coal minds I find out get fired.

I truly wish you consider sleep apnea if you notice some of the symptoms in your child or spouse. Here is a snap shot from the article, which I encourage you to read when you have time.

Abnormal breathing during sleep
Frequent awakenings or restlessness
Frequent nightmares
Enuresis: Bed wetting
Difficulty getting up in the morning
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Hyperactivity and/or behavior problems
Daytime mouth breathing

I hope this helps maybe one kid grow up with parents who have a better understanding of the long term effects of sleep apnea. Unfortunately there is no known cure that I know of and surgery is dangerous to loosing your voice box. I was told in some cases you could learn to speak again if the operation goes wrong by my Doctor. Not a chance I am willing to take.

I once saw a TV news report about a nasal guard looking plastic thing that would go over the bridge of your nose and open your nostrils, but in this case it went in your throat, and opened your airway so you can breath. I did email the U.S. hospital begging for help but they never did reply.

Best we can do is stay informed, as your Doctor may have no idea about this, my Doctors didn't.

In the meantime, we can share our experiences, thoughts, concerns, and hopes with each other till we can breath again.

I have found that learning to be in spirit through meditation and walks in nature help me cope. Helping and being of service to the community takes the focus off oneself and it is a joy to help others. My help has been curtailed by 13 months of unemployment but I still do my best. I have read through dozens of spiritual self help books to give me better skills to cope and encourage you to read a page or two a day to keep you lifted.

Thanks for reading my blog.
Appreciate your comments and feedback.
Get a good nights sleep or a good nap!
hehehehehehe Duane Burnett


My Chronic Life: Duane Burnett - Photographer and Volunteer

Sleep Apnea
Author: Mary E Cataletto, MD, Associate Director, Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, Winthrop University Hospital; Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Director of Children's Sleep Services, Winthrop University Hospital

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1 comment:

  1. A number of years back I was having some difficulties and my doctor felt it may be sleep apnea. I was referred to the Sleep Disorder Clinic at UBC as you note for you above, and what they found was that my apnea was there, but not critical and did not require a sleeping mask. My brother was diagnosed with that solution. What they did discover is that I have Wittmaack–Ekbom syndrome, more commonly known as restless leg syndrome. This was causing my sleep disorder more than the apnea and, one of the key signs was the torn up bedsheets - as you note for you above. Medication is assisting with that and while I still get more restless than restful sleep, things have improved since the correct diagnosis.

    Take care... Bob


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