Wednesday, May 23, 2007

brain salad surgery

When you have unexplained periods of time for which you cannot account

But you were fully functioning during the time periods in question

And when you have a history that includes a serious fight with viral encephalitis 20 years ago

And you are referred by a major doc in pulmonary medicine

To a major doc in neurology

You'd sort of think that the neurologist's secretary could find an appointment time

Earlier than fucking JULY!!!!

Ok, I take it back. She got me in to see his colleague, who is a specialist re: epilepsy, and who can determine if these blackouts are actually seizures. June 6.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the new zen in my life

I love that they called this new mp3 player the 'Zen.' And it's by Creative, which makes it 'Creative Zen.'

It came in the mail yesterday, and for once, my rugrat is jealous of me. It's like totally awesome, dudes.

30 gigs for music, movies, photos, planner/contacts, and I can record meetings and lectures.

And, get this...I can get the newest version of books on tape! Yup, I may not have time to read, but someone can read to me while I work, spend an hour on the train every day, or hit the gym.

What's not to like about that?



Yeah, I thought so.

For the first time in a few years, I'm having fun with a toy that isn't sex-related. Although once that new hitachi arrives, it'll take second place. Or, maybe I can listen to the Creative Zen while I use the new hitachi.

My zen at the moment is classic Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Somebody to Love.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

the only thing you absolutely have to do during a sleep study... sleep. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. I mean after all, you're there because you have a sleeping disorder, right?

I had a totally incorrect vision in my head of the clinic. It's actually in an apartment building uptown near central park west. The very spacious apartment, on the ground floor, was turned into clinical counseling offices by three clinicians. I think my doc is the husband of one of the clinicians. Anyway, he's the fourth doc in the group that share the rent and space.

The others work during the day, and he does sleep studies at night. Two of the clinician's offices have twin-sized murphy beds in them that are pulled down at night for the studies. Then everything is cleaned up in the morning before the other docs and their patients arrive. It puts us sleep study patients in rush mode in the morning to try to clean gunk out of our hair and get out early.

The verdict of last night's study: seriously disrupted sleep, but not caused by apnea. This will sound funny, but I had hoped the answer was apnea. Not because I want to have apnea, but because I wanted it to be easily diagnosed and treated, so that I could get better.

Instead, I now get to have more tests and be referred to more docs. So, soon it will be off to a neurologist for that EKG at the very least, perhaps an MRI as well. And off to an ENT specialist about my sinuses.

In addition, the current doc is strongly considering another sleep study, this one for narcolepsy. Now he doesn't think I have narcolepsy -- in fact, the only symptom I have is the disrupted sleep -- but he wants to rule that out before sending me to a neurologist. The narcolepsy study includes an overnight study, and a full day following the overnight during which you take 5 separate naps, which are monitored just like the overnight sleep.

What we do know after last night is that when I do sleep, I don't even sleep for a full hour (why I'm awakened is the $64 thousand dollar question). So even three or four sleep periods during a 7 hour night net me a mere 2 or 3 hours of sleep tops.

And, as my doc pointed out, sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture for a reason.

The only good thing that came out of this study is that my lack of ability to sleep is now documented. Well, that...and now we know my sleep deprivation isn't caused by blocked breathing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I packed my bags last night pre-flight; zero hour 9 PM

I packed last night for my overnight tonight at the sleep clinic. Since I'm taking the train straight from work to the city tonight, then back to work tomorrow morning, I had to pack a change of work clothes, a few toiletries, makeup, etc to prepare for work. But I had to put it all in a small enough bag to carry to work and on the train. So no hair dryer or anything like that.

I've been trying not to drink anything all day, 'cause once they have me hooked up, I can't really trot off to the bathroom to pee. So I'm feeling slightly dehydrated at the moment.

I apparently may not get to shower and shampoo the sticky goo from the electrodes out of my hair. There are showers, but they are in the public restrooms. This is in a small building that is mainly psychiatry offices, and the other docs don't care to have someone showering in the restroom when their clients are coming in.

If we can finish the test before office hours begin, I may be able to shower. Except that I really don't want to shower in a public restroom anyway, so if I can't wash my hair in the sink, I'll have to cover my head with a scarf and hop the train back to work tomorrow morning.

My last task before I get to the clinic this evening is to find a scarf that will cover my hair and still look semi-professional, so that I can work tomorrow with sticky hair.

Monday, May 14, 2007

mother's day, schmother's, ripping, ripped

Mother's day...just another day. I ordered my favorite meal, stuffed pie pizza. And a slice of chocolate/chocolate chip cake.

Then I went online and bought my own mother's day gift: "The 30 GB ZEN™ Vision:M MP3 Player from Creative." Yes, that's it in the photo.

Then I spent the rest of the day ripping all my cd's -- every damned one of them -- into windows media. When the mp3 arrives, I'll be putting the resulting 1,782 songs onto it. Then I'll start searching for free downloads online.

I washed a load of clothes on saturday

And forgot to actually put the clothes in the washer.

Basically, I washed nothing.

I ran an empty washer.

But no...the sleep apnea hasn't affected me at all.


I met someone friday night who was in a movie with Meryl Streep

So I'm on my date last night (and no, I'm not blogging about it -- if you want to know badly enough, email me and I'll fill you in) and we're in a Barnes and Noble store in the city. There's a copy of the movie 'Devil Wears Prada' at the register, and I mention to my date that the book was a past guilty pleasure (reading fluff instead of MFD work).

I got Glen Close and Streep mixed up at first, and my date mentioned it was Streep in the movie, and the cashier mentioned that when she was a kid, she'd been in a movie with Streep, and that Streep was very nice in person. The movie? Music of the heart. She was one of the violin-playing kids.

Only in NY, you know?!

Friday, May 11, 2007

you're a strong woman

I had my appointment with the doc about the sleep study yesterday afternoon. He's a pulmonary specialist at the medical center, directs the sleep center there, and has a second sleep center that can accommodate one patient per night in his private practice. I got lucky to have been put on the schedule of the best of the best.

He is thorough in his assessments, asking a litany of questions about symptoms, stresses, and my daily life. He does see enough in the way of symptoms to warrant a study, and he's extremely concerned about what I called that functional blackout last fall. Yes, sleep deprivation over long periods can cause such dissociations. But even if the study reveals that something is interfering with my sleep, he'll probably still do an EEG just to be on the safe side.

The sleep center at the medical center is so backed up that I wouldn't be able to get into it until september. But the doc's private sleep center, which will take my insurance, can get me in for my first night of the study next Tuesday. It means going in to manhattan, instead of the bronx, but I'm willing to do that to get it done as quickly as possible.

Among the more personal questions he asked (and they were very necessary, to get at my daily life stresses) was whether I'd had any major surgeries (2 c-sections, so now he knows I have two kids), what I do for a living (so now he knows I work full-time and am getting a ph.d.), and the last one, my marital status (to which I replied 'never married'.

At that point, he said 'wow, you're a strong woman.' I just kind of shrugged, but he persisted. 'No really, a single mother, career, pursuing a doctorate. It takes a strong woman to do that. You're a very strong woman.'

I smiled, blushed, and ducked my head in embarrassment, as I typically do when complemented that way. And it felt good.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

happy happy birthday, baby!

The rugrat turned 17 this morning. She left for school all dressed up in the most adorable red summer dress with white polka dots. It totally looked great with her light brown skin and dark brown hair. Actually, black cherry hair, as a part of her birthday gift was a colour job last night, her choice of colour. Tonight it's dinner out with her and her boyfriend. She chose IHOP this year. She wants that stuffed french toast.

(second photo googled)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

omg, look what I just read!

We are currently involved in a study to examine the relationship between gastroesophageal reflux and sleep apnea, based on an emerging theory that gastroesophageal reflux is worsened by sleep apnea.

This is from the web page of the sleep center where I have my first appointment next week. I've had sleep apnea problems for years, and the last year and a half, my acid reflux has become worse and worse. What if the two are connnected? What if, by taking care of the apnea, the reflux goes away too? How awesome would that be?

We already know that sleep apnea can cause problems with weight gain, especially around the middle. And high blood pressure, too. I'm beginning to daydream about how I'll feel physically when this is dealt with, and it just lightens my mood so much.

I am so excited that my appointment is next week. I initially see one of the docs at the pulmonary center to go over all my symptoms, then we'll schedule the night when I go in to be observed while I sleep. If I can get to sleep while being observed, that is. I've waited so long. Hell, I made the appoinment last fall, and this was the first available appointment. But yeah...I am truly excited about finally getting this taken care of.