Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sleeping with an oximeter..

Sleeping with an oximeter...  Yeah, I never heard of an oximeter before, either.  It's a device that measures (and records) two things: pulse rate and percentage of blood oxygen saturation (in other words, how full of oxygen one's blood is).  The sensor is the little clippy thing (low in the photo) that goes over a finger.  I had a little trouble with that; it only liked my pinky fingers.  Last night I strapped that thing to my left pinky finger and slept with it on all night.  Today I take the unit back, and the hospital's sleep lab will analyze the results.

Why would I do this?  Well, there's a story, of course.  When we moved up here to Utah, we (very sadly) left our GP of over 20 years back in San Diego.  That meant we had to find a new one up here.  I tried hard to find an independent GP, but ObamaCare has effectively wiped them out.  I actually did find three of them, but they are not accepting new patients – all three of them are sort of phasing into retirement.  That means we had to find a GP associated with a clinic.  So I asked several people here I trust for references to GPs – and all of them turned out to have no more room for new patients.  Then I gave up and went to the closest clinic to us – in Millville, 8 miles north of us – and asked to be assigned to a GP.  We figured that then at least we'd have some sort of access to a GP, and if we didn't like the one assigned, we could then go on a leisurely search for a new one.

So last week I had my first visit with our new GP, Dr. Stephanie Thomas.  My first impressions were all good: she was great at answering my questions, looked for ways to help, and got the process of a physical underway (scheduling me for blood work, for instance).  She also did asked me some questions that no other GP has ever asked me: she asked how well I slept.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I've had trouble getting a good night's sleep my entire adult life.  It's rare indeed that I get 8 hours of natural sleep.  I have trouble going to sleep.  I wake up a lot, and then often have trouble going back to sleep again.  I can't sleep if there's any sunlight at all.  Any unusual noise will wake me up.  If I can hear a TV or radio, I can't go to sleep.  And on and on.  Anyway, after a few questions, Dr. Thomas said that I should be screened for sleep apnea.  The easiest way to do that is to monitor my blood oxygen saturation for a night, which is what the oximeter does.

I'm very curious what the results will show.  Many of my sleep issues don't fit the sleep apnea profile at all, though some do.  It sure would be nice to sleep better, though...

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