Better Living Through Chemistry – or Not

“So, tell me I’m crazy and there’s nothing wrong with me.”

“Well, maybe one of those.”
“If it’s one, it’s both.”

The Sleep Study in Non-Dr. Terms: (I write posts like this to remind myself of what doctors tell me because I start to forget the important stuff shortly after I leave their office.)

No sleep apnea,obstructions, oxygen levels were good, very few “sleep events” and no need for a CPAP machine. There were obvious problems however, like taking too long to fall asleep and having a greater percentage of stage 1 sleep and less delta sleep than I should – and in the wrong part of the night. The official diagnosis he listed as snoring – even though that’s not really the case. There was normal snoring which wasn’t even audible, it was just picked up by the sensor glued to my throat.

His non-official non-diagnosis is “non-restorative sleep”. That used to be what the diagnosis would be but apparently that’s not recognized these days because it doesn’t state what the actual cause is. And the cause is…me…kind of.

If there’s no physical reason, there has to be a mental one. And if I trained myself to sleep this badly I can theoretically train myself out of it. In fact, we think I have become so accustomed to being woken up at night for various job things like a duty phone or fire alarm or drunks on the porch, etc. for years that every real or imagined noise is perceived as something I might need to get up and take care of. The doctor actually compared me to soldiers who come home from Iraq and wake up to every noise thinking it’s a threat they have to defend themselves from. It’s not just work of course but that’s possibly a big part of it. I mean I’ve been doing this for what – 15 years in various places?

So yeah, retraining the brain. He told me about something called brainwave music. Google it – I have to later to remember all he was talking about. I copied this from a site: ” innovative techniques for embedding brainwave audio processes into lush, multilayered, ambient musical soundtracks. After a few minutes of listening, your own brainwaves naturally “lock” onto these audio pulses, to lead you easily to the state of mind you want to experience.” Which means I can get a CD with sleep stages and learn to sleep like a normal person again.

But until then there’s Ambien. *cue choir of angels*

I was psyched to pick up a prescription that I had to show I.D. for. I expected great things, although it turns out not to work that great for me – plus gives me the WORST acid reflux of my life.  Since I already take medicine daily for that, I don’t see how I can have a relationship with Ambien.  The Doc has a plan B which adds something to the Ambien that sounds like if you can’t fall asleep with that combination, you are not only never going to sleep but will also live until the end of time.

I tried the sleep CD for a while but I didn’t really notice much difference, other than there was weird music playing when I woke up.  I’ve also found that sometimes a teeny does of melatonin will help as much as the Ambien did (if I’m lucky I’d get 4 hours of sleep without waking up.  That’s pretty freakin’ good when it happens).  In the end, I’ve decided I will sleep when I’m ready to sleep and worrying myself so much about it doesn’t help anything.  Seeing doctors about it only spends my money.  I should just enjoy the random, short sleep that I DO get.  I could keep going back to the sleep Doc so he can try different meds on me, but it’s never been a goal of mine to be medicated.  Pills for GERD and the Lupus/Sjogrens  are more than enough.  When my mind decides it’s going to let me sleep longer than 90 minutes at a time, it will happen.  I tell my PCP that my brain got me into this mess and eventually it will get me out of it.


About deepfriedyankee

I am a parade of one. A seeker of bathtubmarys. A lover of Mardi Gras, bacon and marbles. I have the patience of a saint. A very, very flawed saint.
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2 Responses to Better Living Through Chemistry – or Not

  1. Aubs says:

    I stumbled upon your blog thanks to Freshly Pressed (huge congrats, high fives and fist bumps!) and must say it’s been a pleasure reading your posts! I finally had to leave a comment because I can very much relate to the sleeping problems. I’m still on the fence about making my blog public but reading blogs like yours makes me realize there are other ‘real’ people out there. Thanks for the great stories of real life! 🙂

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