September 17, 2012
Sleep Study: "Get it done, it's worth it!"
After being diagnosed with sleep apnea, Roger Christiansen, a 41 year old trucker from Plainview, became one of the hundreds of thousands of patients that regularly use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to improve their sleep.
Roger said it was a very positive, life-changing experience.
Roger had been looking into sleep studies for a while. “I wasn’t sleeping well at all,” he said, “I would be up all night, every hour or so. The rest of the day I didn’t have any energy. When I came home after driving truck for twelve hours, I didn’t want to do anything but sit on the couch.”
His wife was also being affected by his sleeping habits. “When he was sleeping, he would be moving around, kicking and snoring,” Roger’s wife Lucy noted, “If I got up in the middle of the night, he would roll around and take my spot. There were lots of nights I slept on the couch.”
When it turned out a sleep study was part of a required process before he could be eligible to undergo gastric bypass surgery, Roger finally set up an appointment. He “shopped around” to find a facility that could perform a split night study - diagnostic the first half of the night and then treatment the second portion. He found that Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital met all of his needs. Roger qualified to do a split night study and was able to handle everything in one night.
Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital Sleep Disorders Center is accredited with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). This accreditation covers both in-center, and at home sleep testing. Many insurance companies require that a site be accredited before they will cover expenses for sleep services. The only other centers in Nebraska that maintain the AASM accreditation are located in Lincoln, Omaha, and Papillion. The closest out-of-state locations are in Sioux Falls and Dakota Dunes, South Dakota and Carroll, Iowa.
When explaining the sleep study, Roger said, “It was an easy, pain-free process. The sleep technologist was so professional, he explained everything, answered all my questions, and arranged follow-ups. In the facility there’s a nice bed, your own shower and they were always making sure I was comfortable. It was better than a hotel room!”
After his sleep study, Roger discovered he had stopped breathing 110 times an hour; anything over 30 times per hour is considered severe. “We didn’t realize how bad it was until he did the sleep study,” said Lucy his wife. Roger added, “And my legs kicked 148 times an hour. No wonder I was tired!”
Roger was then set up with a CPAP machine. At first he was skeptical. He didn’t think he could sleep with the machine. “I thought I’d have problems sleeping with the mask. Plus I usually toss and turn in my sleep, so I was worried about the tubing. But now I wake up in the same position I fell asleep! I actually sleep a lot better!”
“Four months ago, I tried walking around the block and couldn’t make it. Now I walk over two miles regularly. I have more energy and I feel a lot better.” Roger is also spending a lot more quality time with his 6 kids, taking walks together, and playing football. In three months he has lost 72 pounds. Better quality sleep has given him the energy and motivation to lose weight on his own, and he no longer plans to have the gastric bypass surgery. “I’ve lost weight, my blood pressure is the lowest it’s been in seven years, and I sleep all night and don’t wake up until the alarm goes off!”
His wife Lucy is also thankful for the peace of mind. She said, “I don’t have to keep checking on him anymore. I don’t get that feeling that something’s wrong in the middle of the night.”
According to Roger, “If you’re tired all day and have problems sleeping, get it done. It’s worth it!”