Finally...My Sleep Study
It may sound weird, but once I had everything approved through insurance and had my sleep study booked, I was oddly excited. I mean, who really wants to sleep in a lab hooked up to a bunch of wires while someone watches you?
And then, to top it off, sit in the lab, being told when to nap, and being woken up not long after you get to sleep. Doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend my Thursday night and the entire day Friday. But I was excited.
For the first time in over a decade, I felt that I was close to getting the answers I had searched for about the reason behind all my sleepiness over the years. But still, in the back of my mind, I was nervous.
What if I went through this test and still had no answers? I didn’t want to have to go back to square one again.
Feeling excited and nervous for my sleep study
I was singing and dancing to the radio all the way to my sleep study. But as I pulled into the parking lot, something changed. I knew this could be the moment of truth. I was so nervous I began to feel sick to my stomach. So many thoughts were racing through my head.
What if I got in there and couldn’t sleep with all the wires? What if I couldn’t sleep just knowing someone was watching me? That was still a little weird to me. I am pretty sure I sat in my car for close to 20 minutes.
Greeted with a warm welcome
Finally, somehow I gathered up the courage to get out of my car and go into the office. I was met at the door by a sleep tech. I was expecting someone in a white lab coat, like many of those that had performed procedures and tests I had before.
Instead, there was a woman with a warm smile, just in typical scrubs. She was warm and comforting and assured me it would be okay. I guess she could tell how nervous I was.
Once she got me checked in, she took me back to my room for the night. Instead of looking like a lab, it honestly reminded me of my college dorm room.
Settling in and falling asleep
She gave me a few moments to get settled and ready for bed. Then we began the process of attaching the 2 million wires to every part of my body. By the time she was done, I couldn’t help but laugh. I honestly felt like an alien.
I was shocked at how quickly I fell asleep despite all the wires. Besides waking up a few times to the sleep tech repositioning my nose piece twice after it came out of my nose during the night, I did not recall waking up much.
Moving on to the daytime nap test
Upon being woken up for the day, I was told everything went fine during the nighttime portion, and it was time to begin the daytime portion. The daytime portion consists of 4 to 5 naps spaced out every 2 hours or so.
The first 3 naps went like most of my naps usually did. I immediately fell asleep and would often dream — nothing too crazy, or at least not for my dreams. The lights went out, and I knew depending on how this nap went, I either would get to go home or have one more nap.
A terrifying dream
I went straight to sleep, like the naps before. As I drifted off to sleep, I could feel myself in my car - alone and driving down the highway, singing to my radio and enjoying the sun beating through my open sunroof. I heard a rattling beside me, and as I turned to look at what I was expecting to be an empty passenger seat, I saw my brother’s My Buddy doll.
This doll terrified me as a child and was about half a percent less creepy than Chuckie. As I turned to see this doll, his head turned to the side, and he looked confused. “Why are you so scared?” he asked.
Jolted awake, hoping for answers
I could feel my body jump as the sleep tech woke me up.
"Were you dreaming?" she asked me.
I nodded yes.
"I could tell," she told me.
With that nap, my sleep study was over. I was relieved. The following week I would come back to speak to my doctor to get my results. As I walked out, I said a little prayer that whatever the outcome was, I would get some kind of answers.
What is the hardest part of coping with narcolepsy?