Wink’n, Blink’n, and Nod’n

Another exciting day watching Mom sleep.

Another exciting day watching Mom sleep.

I had my 6 month checkup with the sleep apnea specialist today and let it slip that I’m still pretty tired throughout the day. That got her attention! Apparently, if you are sleeping 7 hours a night with a CPAP, you shouldn’t be falling asleep throughout the day. Well, hmmm, I fall asleep doing my devotions after breakfast, fall asleep in church, fall asleep at the computer, fall asleep when I’m reading, fall asleep waiting in doctors’ offices, ….you get the picture.

So my doctor is wondering if I might have narcolepsy. Sheesh, I don’t know. It sounds pretty impressive. I always thought that was a condition where a person under stress falls asleep in an instant, sometimes in mid-sentence. I don’t think I’m quite that bad. I only know that I’ve been the champion of drowse as long as I can remember. In college, I’d wake up in the middle of a lecture and notice that my hand was still writing but the words were total nonsense. In the Navy at Officer Candidate School, I got to the point where I’d walk into the classroom and just continue on back to the back of the class where I’d stand, leaning against a projector stand and take notes. No use waiting for the instructor to tell me to stand up and go to the back of the class because I was dozing off. Might as well beat him to the punch.

Narcolepsy could go a long way towards explaining all this. Before a diagnosis can be made, I have to get an echocardiogram. I think I had a heart murmur as a kid and the medicine of choice, Provigil, can’t be given to folks who have certain heart conditions. The next step, the doctor explained, is to wean off of my “happy pills.” Apparently, you can’t be on those and on Provigil at the same time. Finally, you go into a special lab where they put electrodes on your forehead and you get the chance to nap over a 4 hour period. If you go into a dream state (aren’t I always?) while you nap within a short period of time, that seems to be a pretty firm indication that you have narcolepsy. Those without the condition take a longer period of time to get into the dreaming stage. It was a lot to digest in one office visit so she’s giving me some time to think about all this although we are going ahead with the echocardiogram.

Next stop was over to see my mom at the nursing home. Although it was 11:30 a.m., she was sound asleep in her wheelchair. I couldn’t wake her up for love nor money. Finally just gave up and sat there and sang through some old songs for her, in case her subconscious was listening and then I told her about my doctor’s visit. As I watched her slumbering on, I had to laugh. “Gee, Mom….I guess I should have told the doctor that sleepiness runs in our family,” I joked. Just then the lunch bell rang and I wheeled her on down to the dining room, got her settled at the table, and put on her bib, and left her peacefully napping.

I don’t know about this Provigil. Do I want to be alert, cranky, worried all the time, and prone to panic attacks or do I want to be sleepy, calm, laid back and generally a happy camper? And listen to some of these possible side effects. “Serious rash….depression, anxiety (crud), headache (hey, I finally got the migraines under control!), stuffy nose (Hello! I’ve had chronic sinusitis for over 50 years!), trouble sleeping (ah, what’s wrong with this picture?), etc. PLUS, it acts as a stimulant and can lead to abuse or dependence on the drug. This is some serious meds.

Like I said, Provigil or Effexor? Alert or happy? I think I’ll have to sleep on this. But right now I’m leaning towards sleepy but happy.


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