Good and EVO

Hopefully the last medical related update for a while

Ah the wires
The wires, the 30+ pounds, and the sleep study

Y’all are probably sick of hearing how I’m sick instead of Android and root stuff, and this is probably the last major update post (which is good by the way.) Here’s what happened and how I’m now feeling like a dorky cyborg at night.

August 2015, baby’s coming, I’m noticing I’m out of energy and sleepy all the time. Taking naps. Not feeling particularly bad just sleepy. We’ll put my weight at X as although I wasn’t happy with it, it was about where I gravitated with a two year old and another on the way.

I thought I was just run down from two years spent chasing after my oldest.

December 8th – 13th or so, I got sick with what I call the Christmas Funk. It happens every year right around that time.  It went from flu-like to allergy-like somewhere around New Year’s but the symptoms were about the same. I flew to Vegas for CES in sinus hell and pretty much survived CES by popping Costco cold and flu tablets.

January 16th I’m still sick and the health insurance was running out in a few days (wife’s amazing company decided to tell her they were moving her job to Michigan right before the Christmas party, really great timing guys,) I’d called my doctor but got sidetracked by a trip the hospital for my newborn.

Month-long sinus bleh wasn’t particularly unheard of for me but I always put it into the category of I’ve been quite ill in comparison to people I’ve known since I was a kid. /home schooled vegetarian pasty kid problems here.

A couple of days later my doc called in a couple of prescriptions (had hospitalized baby to think about, forgot to make that follow up call,) and two weeks later when they were done I was still sick. Problematic as suddenly I was without affordable health insurance as the wife’s job covered that. I was also without money as since baby got sick Jan 16th our deductible was $6000. This right after the $6000 deductible we paid to get baby out in August in the first place.

With somewhat of $12,000 in medical bills, no health ins, Pocketables suddenly not paying, and the other things going south, I decided to tough it out through to when wife got new job and insurance. That turned out to be an extra month taking us to March.

It was sometime in March a door hit me in the office. This was my wakeup call. Literally. I’d gotten on the ground and evidently decided to stay there. I’m not sure if I went to lay down or I was checking something behind my computer but I got hit by someone opening my office door and me being passed out on the ground.

I’ll point out I was sleeping, I have no evidence that I passed out. I was just freaking tired all the time but at this point I was not coughing/wheezing/hacking/sniffling/etc. I don’t generally sleep at work. This surprised and upset me. Work was fine with it as they knew something was afoot. I vowed to do better as in my mind since I was not hacking and wheezing anymore I was better.

I weighed 20 pounds more than I expected. That was a shock. I changed my diet up some and wondered why I was gaining weight with the new baby who actually sleeps through the night and the three year old who finally did as well.

We got the new insurance finally and with that I went and got healthy. Just kidding. Baby was hospitalized again. Probably the last airway related hospitalization. Both could have been solved by $8 of steroids but the first one came on suddenly and the pediatrician she was at said get her to a hospital now. Hospital gave no instructions, pediatric follow up had no recommendations, so we didn’t know on the second event that she should have had a bottle of steroids handy. We do now.

In case you’re keeping score at this point – we’ve maxed out three insurance deductibles for 1) having baby (August 2015), 2) baby’s overnight stay in ICU (January, 2016) and the next hospitalization one that happened I believe in April. You’d think I’d remember that third date, but I don’t.

After this hospitalization I took a couple of days off. Baby was ok (croup, small airway plus tiny swelling = bad time breathing both times). I’d get up, take the kids to daycare, come home to sleep just a little bit more and wake up and it was time to get the kids. Get them fed, bathed, watch an episode of something, go back to bed.

April – I was 30 pounds up at this point. I’d gotten sick again. Passed out sitting at my desk one day, this time didn’t get hit by a door but contacted my doctor, got another prescription for the coughing and crap and also a recommendation for a doc to recommend me to a sleep study. One does not simply walk into a sleep study evidently. One has to go to a different doc who throws a set of pills at you they know won’t work and then after a month can refer you so your insurance covers it.

I got referred to a sleep study after taking zombie pills for a month. I went to the sleep study. I got sick the night of the sleep study and couldn’t breathe. This was made worse because the airflow test equipment lowered my ability to breathe. I spent the night feeling like I was being suffocated and strangled by a very weak squid.

And then nothing. I heard nothing from anyone. I called and got an appointment to speak with the doctor about what in the world had gone on. I got to the doctor’s office and they asked if I’d completed the second study yet. What? What second study? Yeah, the sleep center was supposed to call me and inform me of something involving a second sleep study a week or two prior but was waiting until they knew what the copay was going to be.

OK, went down to sleep center, was told they’d be calling me that night. Nope. Three days later I get a call to schedule and how much more it was going to be (even maxed out my insurance now didn’t cover much of this,) and they ask if I want it and I say yes, I’m going to lose my job as well as maybe die if this keeps up (we’ll see the “maybe die” part in a minute, I’m not overreacting here). I ask what the results were from the first and am told I have to discuss that with the doctor but that’s why there’s another one scheduled.

I get very sick at this point or somewhere before or after… I don’t remember.. may have been the first one. I ended up hitting up the asthma sinus and allergy program for a nice three hour visit which included a CT scan, X-rays, lung function test, allergy test (found out what I’m allergic to finally,) and it seems like a couple of other things. I’m given two weeks of horse pills and enough steroids to kill a mule.

Two weeks later I’m still sick and have the sleep study coming up. I get over the funk with a day or two to spare and do sleep study number two. It’s the same place, same people. The guy who’s strapping me in mentions he’s pretty glad to see me again, I ask why, he pauses and asks what the doctor told me and I tell him there’s been no contact. He paused for a second and told me I stopped breathing a crapton of times in the last sleep study.

I don’t think he said crapton. There was something that had just happened a couple of months back that made this hit like a hammer. A guy I knew from a meetup group I somehow ended up leading who had a kid recently was found dead in his living room. He’d had sleep apnea and even though he was on a CPAP it’d damaged his heart to the point it failed. The wife had to force an autopsy as they wanted to call it a drug overdose, but he didn’t do drugs… evidently it’s just what all the people are dying of these days.

Sleep test two involved a VPAP (CPAP, but variable pressure) and all the electrodes they connect to you. That’s two per leg, three on the chest, and a lot on the head. I felt like I was being strangled by a slightly weaker squid that was trying to give me mouth to nose resuscitation.

I tossed and turned and wonder what life was going to be like if I had to sleep with one of these at my house and then wondered what damage might have been done to my heart. I believe I fell asleep around 3am. They woke me at one point as my mouth was open and the CPAP pushing air through my nose made it sound like the demons of hell were moaning for their lost lives.

I now had all that gear on me AND a chin strap.

They woke me at 5:30am I think. My belief was that I’d slept for two and a half hours. I was asked by the guy how I felt with roughly 1/4th of the sleep I normally want and realized I felt ok.

I went home, got the kids to daycare, came back to take a bath to get the electrode gel out of my hair, decided to get two more hours of sleep before going into work. I don’t recall much more other than being half asleep doing everything. Not tired, half asleep the entire day.

I called the doctor’s office the next office day as I didn’t want to deal with unknown delays again and they said they’d call me back. They didn’t. I called them again the next day and was told I wasn’t snoring, I was just stopping breathing, over and over again. Oh, well, good to know the wife wasn’t deaf. Potentially Central Sleep Apnea as opposed to Sleep Apnea. Lawd.

I was told to expect a call from another company about a breathing machine. I’d do it for 30 days and then they’d have me back in to analyze the results and see what’s going on at the doctor’s office.

A few days later I got a call. I was given an appointment a week and a half out. I asked if there was any way they could see me sooner as I was pretty much the walking dead at this point and they said they’d call me if anything came up. Nothing came up.

Last Tuesday I went in and was given the rundown on a much less annoying looking machine than the one I’d used at the sleep study.

It was a VPAP with comfy nose cushions, a humidifier, cell tower check in to resmed, SD card to record my breathing patterns, website to get scored on my sleep, etc.

I took it home and Tuesday night had just about the worst sleep of my life. Wednesday night was a little better, Thursday was the pits, Friday I felt better but knew something was wrong with my getup so I grabbed a different headpiece, Saturday better, Sunday better.

So we come to today. I’ve been told by two people I didn’t request the information from or tell this narrative that I look significantly better. It’s past 2pm and I’m not passing out at the desk. The really odd thing is I seem to have a hyper sense of smell now (perhaps the humidity?).

Anyway, we end this fun tale on a positive note. I seem to be doing better, and sleeping with a VPAP once you figure out how to position it is pretty easy.

The lung funk and being sick so long? Probably allergies compounded by getting no rest whatsoever. We’ll see.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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