Saturday, May 09, 2009


I just finished the third week of my final term of classes. I have two more weeks of classes, then three weeks to hard-core study for final exams, then I'm off to Uganda! (plane tickets not yet purchased, visa not yet acquired, project not yet figured out)

My classes this term are AIDS and Tropical Environmental Health. In other words, I spend the first half of the week talking about sex, and the second half of the week talking about poop. One of our professors in TEH is hoping to win the world record for saying "shit" more times than anyone else.

I have decided to take it easy this weekend. I've been sleep-deprived (and therefore, cranky and depressed) for the past two weeks, so I decided to give myself a rest. Having said that, though, Carina is headed tonight to a club I've been wanting to go to, and I seriously considered going back on my promise to myself to chill out. But then I took a quick nap, and once I tasted the sweet, sweet rapture of sleep, the thought of getting gussied up, going to Camden, dancing, and then having to find my way back home was just too much. So home and sleep it is. Tomorrow is a bridal shower in the park, so that shouldn't interfere with my plan.

Speaking of sleep, I FINALLY saw a doctor yesterday. Let's recap the timeline:
October: asked GP to refer me to sleep specialist
December: appointment with sleep specialist; referral for overnight sleep study
February: overnight sleep study cancelled due to record snowfall
March: microspirometry test replaces overnight sleep study (a tiny machine I take home and clip to my finger to measure oxygen levels in my blood)
April: receive letter saying microspirometry is negative for sleep apnea; appointment scheduled for June; I call to move appointment sooner, since June is more or less when I leave the UK indefinitely

So yesterday, six months after starting the process, I saw a doctor about test results. I had to wait an hour in the waiting room (lucky I didn't have class). He started by saying that I didn't have sleep apnea, my oxygen levels were a flat line. He looked at my file, which says that nothing I've ever tried has worked, then he said that they can't do anything more for me except repeat the same tests I've already done multiple times. He said he could refer me to a neurologist to confirm a diagnosis of narcolepsy, but as it could take a couple months to get an appointment, I told him not to bother. I'm leaving for Africa at the end of June, then may or may not come back to the UK in September (and may or may not have health insurance, depending on whether I get a job). So we decided together not to pursue this anymore for now. He did put a referral letter on my file, so that if I do come back to the UK, I can go see a neurologist immediately.

So that was a bit disappointing, until I remembered what my original objective was back in October: I really just wanted to know if I should be using my CPAP machine (I haven't used it in almost a year). According to the microspirometry test (which I'm not sure I trust, but whatevs), I don't need to use the CPAP. Yay!!! Now I can continue to not use it, but guilt-free!


  1. migrainemaven5/09/2009 4:01 PM

    Huh. I wonder how long "immediately" takes in the NHS?

    Here is what all us Mercans need to think about as we contemplate health care reform: fast, cheap, good. Pick any two.

  2. Migrainemaven -- that is pretty clever! You can't have it all! Awesome.

    Kusems -- I know I've probably asked you this before, but what would happen if you went to bed at 9 pm every night and did not need to get up at a certain time the next day? (Note: I am not suggesting that you do this; I am merely asking scientific questions.) (Another note: Doing this is nearly impossible to do anyway.) And also you control everything else -- food the same time every day, no naps, no alcohol, consistent exercise schedule, etc. Would you consistently wake up 10 hours later? 11 hours later? 12?
    I think I can hear you saying "It doesn't matter. Even if I get unbroken, consistent sleep, I am still tired during the day." Is that about right? I would really like to know how much you could sleep if given complete freedom.
    Also, I'm a little confused about the CPAP machine. You're happy that the one test told you that you don't need to use the CPAP. But why all this "guilt" business? If a doctor says "use this CPAP because it's good for you" and you are lazy and choose not to use it, and consequently, you feel bad physically, then, well, you are suffering the consequences of your own choices, and therefore the guilt is unnecessary. On the other hand -- and this is probably the case -- if you choose not to use it because you know through experience that the machine doesn't help at all, then again, why the guilt? Is the guilt stemming from the fact that you are "disobeying" a perceived authority figure?
    I think I'm missing something because I don't get it!

    Are you excited for Uganda? I'm excited for you. I've never considered going to Africa...