9 Dec., 2020

Not my hand

I have “been” to the sleep clinic, by way of virtual appointment.

The appointment seemed like a waste of time, albeit, it was my first experience of a virtual appointment. Virtual appointments will be great when I’m feeling rotten with some kind of infection, and I don’t want to drag myself into the shower, and clothes, and then drive somewhere when I have a fever, and haven’t been eating. However, I suspect that those may be the very times the doctor will insist on seeing me in person.

I was hopeful at first, because during intake, I was asked which pharmacy I used.

But shortly after meeting with the doctor, she truncated my intro with the dictum that she doesn’t prescribe after an initial appointment. I have to see the PhD doctor/behavioralist at the clinic, who I guess has devoted her whole career specifically to disorders of sleep (I intend to ask her what the topic of her dissertation was, and don’t think I won’t look it up).

I also have to wear a medical grade kinesimeter with a pulse oximeter for two weeks, which the doctor called a “special watch,” like I’m 8 years old, to track exactly how much sleep I’m getting. I have a FitBit that does that—which I know is just an approximation is still way more accurate than my trying to assess my sleep time on my own, which is just slightly above random guessing.

The doctor says that people often think they are getting less sleep than they really are.

I certainly wonder why I function as well as I do on 4 hours sleep a night for 5 days running, and finding out it was really 5.5 would explain things. Considering how I hallucinate, and how weird my dreams get in severe sleep deprivation, I could be asleep, and dreaming that I can’t sleep. I’m perfectly prepared to admit that. I may get 5.5 hours of sleep on a night I thought I go only 4.75, but I am dead certain I did not sleep for 8, especially when I know I was out walking the dog at 1:30am, so my shoes are still damp, and the loaf of bread I baked at 4am is sitting on the table. The FitBit will back me up, and while, as I said, it is not dead accurate, it won’t be off by 78%.

I am not allowed to take PRNs during the two weeks on the kinesimeter. I’d be angry about that, except I may have run through them by then anyway.

How did I know, how did I just know I was going to have to go back to the beginning with these people before they would do anything actually helpful? I have to go through sleep hygiene yet again, and a course of cognitive behavior therapy, which I have already done, twice.

This time, there is an app on my phone that will take me through CBT. It’s cbticoach (Cognitive Behavior Therapy Insomnia COACH). I’ll leave that for anyone who wants to see it, and not bother to say that it’s childish and insulting, or that boils down to “Quit worrying about stuff, and don’t procrastinate at bedtime.” I am seriously considering faking my data.

I have to keep a diary, too. They are going to give me a template for it, so I haven’t started it yet.

After all is said and done, they may send me for a sleep study.

Once it is completed, then, and only then, will they even consider medications.

Don’t everybody clap at once.

Published by Chava Freya

Insomnia is a brain-based disorder I’ve had since I was at least 16 years old. Anti-anxiety medicine doesn’t help, except when there’s external anxiety exacerbating the problem. Sleep hygiene is irrelevant, because it’s not the problem, although I have submitted to it five different times, including having sleep specialists actually come to my home and advise me on rearranging furniture, buying special pillows, forbidding TVs in the bedroom, telling me the bed was for nothing but sleep, sex and reading, and when that didn’t work, then nothing but sleep. Period. That was the biggest failure of all.

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