Monday, March 12, 2007

To Sleep...Perchance To Dream...

I'm never been a big fan of Monty Python, which is sacrilege to Amy who can quote Monty Python chapter and verse. I think it's due in part that I'm half deaf and I don't follow some of the dialogue real well, or it may be it's not my type of humor.

However I will admit that I have repeatedly used the audio from one of the Monty Python films in various radio pieces I've produced over the years. The audio? This quote.

I bring that up because on a fairly regular basis Amy thinks I might be dead.

It's not a judgement as to my mental acuity, it's the fact that I stop breathing. I don't notice. I'm asleep. Amy notices. She's noticed since we were first married and has been gently, and not so gently on occasion, prodding me to "see a doctor."

I know what sleep apnea is, I know it can shorten my life....I know... I know...

I'm a guy. I don't go to the doctor too often....however, when your wife is losing sleep because she's "timing" you when you're not breathing, and I suspect has compiled a spread sheet to document it, it's probably time to face facts.

It's like my rule with breath mints...if someone offers you one, take it...don't assume you don't need it and they're just being polite.

So I've been to our family doctor, explained that I'm tired a lot...I wake up at 1 a.m. and am often lucky to get 4 hours sleep, I figure who wouldn't be tired...but that Amy insists that sometimes she thinks I'm dead, because I stop breathing for long periods of time. The doc kinda...okay...completely came down on her side of the argument. He's a guy, but he's a doctor guy, so he's not really a traitor...completely. He ordered me to undergo a sleep study, something I fully expected.

So now I'm negotiating my way through the process of going to yet another doctor to explain the exact same thing so that the insurance company will believe my doctor, and they'll put me in a sleep study.

I tried to get this all accomplished last Friday, but the insurance company seemed confused, this new doctor's office seemed chaotic, and I ended up leaving a bunch of messages trying to get all the pre-approvals, etc. No one returned my calls.

So today, I began the process again with a little more fervor and perhaps a little less tact, and I've at least got an appointment with doctor #2. Of course, then the very kind woman I spoke with started outlining options for the sleep study saying patients are told to go to sleep at 11 p.m..

I wake up at 1 a.m....

I asked her if 2 hours was enough for them to get the needed data, and she didn't quite get my humor. So I explained that if she wanted me to stay up until 11 p.m. there better be a marching band in the room for about 6 hours prior playing loud and continuously because odds are, I would fall asleep before then.

So now we're trying to arrange a sleep study more in accordance with my lifestyle (good luck), which hasn't been formally approved by the insurance company, but must be scheduled NOW because apparently everyone on earth is having sleep studies done and if I don't schedule it NOW, Rip Van Winkle will get in line ahead of me and I'll have to wait 20 years or so for him to wake up and for them to change the sheets to make room for me.

In the meantime, the insurance company - depending on who answers the phone - is trying to decide if they'll cover it. Apparently that verdict depends on how much I snore.

I'm not kidding.

The insurance won't cover a sleep study for people who snore...but people who may die in their sleep - apparently snoring or not - those folks will be covered. I'm not certain if that's determined by a "snore meter" , a much studied "snore-line" that has to be crossed, or some other type of nasal audio scale they use in weighing these considerations....they're an insurance company, they have machinations all their own.

I snore. Sometimes I snore a lot, sometimes I snore a little, sometimes I don't snore at all. I could probably dig more into this weighty issue factoring in things like which way I'm sleeping, how long it's been since I've slept, and the amount of snot in my nose, but I really was never even good at geometry and this sounds like at least algebra would be involved, not to mention the potential for being really gross.

I'm going to leave it up to the doctors, and having dealt with a lot of doctors over the years with Amy's health needs, I'm fairly certain they know how to write things down so that I don't end up with a massive bill for a night's sleep that says, "We've determined you snore. Please pay $_____ ."

The truth is, I am tired a lot...and it's gotten worse as I've gotten older. I have a complicated sleep schedule that I often have to abandon and, of course, my wife occasionally thinks I'm dead.

I figure that should be enough.

In the interim though, I am now worrying about doctor's appointments, scheduling conflicts, and then having someone say, "Okay, go to sleep," with some expectation that I will be able to do that sans someone clubbing me over the head.

Which means I will lose sleep thinking about stuff like that...

Anyone got an Ambien? Just kidding.

There is an upside to this I least when I can't sleep because I'm stressing about sleeping Amy will know I'm not dead, so she should be able to get some least one of us will.