For those who may not be aware, here is some back story on Myles. He had tubes put in his ears about a year and a half ago due to chronic ear infections. Since the surgery, he has not had one ear infection. We do, however, get to go to the pediatric ENT once every 6 months for a checkup. This past visit, his ENT had asked about his sleeping habits. After discussing what my mom and I considered not normal occurrences, the specialist decided that it is a possibility Myles has sleep apnea and needs to go for further testing.
For anyone who isn’t sure what sleep apnea is, it is a potentially serious and chronic sleep disorder where one repeatedly stops and starts back up. The pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes and can happen 30+ times per hour!
So here we are, Myles is sound asleep (and by that I mean he is snoring EXTREMELY LOUD) in the hospital crib, while Mommy lays on a very uncomfortable hospital bed next to him. Oh wait.. you want to know how it went getting him to sleep, right? Let’s start from the beginning…
We arrived a half hour before the sleep test “started”. We weren’t told what time to actually arrive, only that the sleep test begun at 8:30. Considering myself a pretty knowledgeable human being as far as common sense goes, I know that they probably want us to be here at 8:30 but what if that’s when they want to start actually monitoring? Anyway, we got here at 8:00 pm only to be “greeted” by a woman who introduced herself as our technician. By greeted I mean no smile, not extremely welcoming, but slightly awkward. I guess that’s how I might act if I knew I was going to watch this person sleep all night too LOL.
She takes Myles’s weight on the way to show us our room. As we walk into our quarters for the evening, I notice it is quite small. It has that colorful asbestos type tile flooring and white walls. There is a hospital crib that reminds me all too well of the pediatric wing of the hospital we stayed in when Myles was a only few weeks old. Other furniture in the cubical of a room, a hospital type chair that folds out into a “bed”, a hospital bed, tv stand with tv and DVD player, and a night stand filled with machinery. She shows us that there is a bathroom connected to our room that we will have to share with another family for the evening, so there is a laminated note on the door that says make sure to knock before entering. ‘Okay that’s awkward but whatever’ I think to myself. So the technician says she’s gonna let us get comfy, whatever that means when staying in a hospital like setting, and hands me paperwork befor she shuts the door behind her. The paperwork includes a survey that includes cleanliness…seeing as we just walked in, sure, I guess it looks clean to me.
I immediately turn on minions knowing that will keep Myles mentally occupied as to not freak himself out by realizing we are actually staying the night here. I all of the sudden had to pee. I knock on the bathroom door, open it, only to find a clogged toilet with dried urine all over the seat/bowl. I about lost my cookies. Guess I’ll be holding my pee. We arrived in our pajamas and had already brushed our teeth so we were ready! Apparently, not everyone does that as there is a shower in the bathroom… wasn’t told that before coming.
So we watched quite a large portion of the movie before the lovely blonde haired tech came back into the room. I can’t describe to you guys how she made me feel with single words… unwelcome, peasants, annoying, nuisance. I think nuisance is the best. But all the while she wasn’t technically being rude. Her questions seem demeaning and her statements are short and often followed or preceded by something said under her breath. She asked me if I had any questions. I told her no but that we’ve never done anything like this before so I’m not really sure what to expect. “Hm well okay” I receive before a short explanation that leads into her telling me “we will go over it in a little bit.” I then explain to her that I need to use the bathroom and ours is not in working order. She tells me “well that’s not my job so I will try to reach someone upstairs” with a sigh, “follow me. I’ll show you where the bathroom is.” She did make sure to check that I didn’t place that piece of information on the survey before exiting the room. As we are walking down multiple hallways, she is propping open doors with garbage cans and again tells me under her breath that she’s just gonna leave this here since we will be in and out all night. It’s almost as if you can hear her eyes rolling as she says it. As if it’s MY fault that the bathroom is beyond disgusting.
When we come back to our room, our movie is still playing so we climb back into the hospital bed and wait while watching the little yellow men run around talking gibberish and Gru attempts to steal the moon. After what feels like forever, she finally comes back in with a cart full of leads and monitors to attach to him. She tells me to place him on my lap and then she goes to work. Not much conversation is being had. I tried multiple times to strike one up, asking her how many people she has to monitor per night, and other things that pertain to her, her job, or the leads she is placing on my 2 year old. I praised Myles for sitting so well multiple times. One time she did reciprocate and tell him “yes you are sitting good”. At this point, I’m doing my best to not get worked up all while thinking to myself why would someone work with children’s sleep studies if they dislike children… or people in general.
I had allowed Myles to choose which bed he wanted. He chose the crib! Secretly, I was thankful because what 8 month pregnant woman wants to sleep in a recliner?! Not this one. So after she gets him all hooked up, he lays down on his minion pillow and I tuck him in. I start to read Potty Animals because that is the book he chose to bring. He starts to have a meltdown. First because of the oxygen cannula, then because he had come to realize that he cannot play with his hair. Que the “dun dun dun” music now. Anyone who has ever known Myles knows that is his kryptonite. He has ALWAYS loved to twist hair around his tiny fingers since he was born! Still to this day he plays with his own hair (if not someone snuggling with him) until he falls asleep. So my big pregnant self stands on my tippy toes to lean over far enough to allow him to play with mine until he falls asleep. I have to pee SOOOOOOOO bad at this point. Finally, he succumbs to his tiredness and passes out. I try to put the crib side up but it squeaks so loud that it wakes the monster who starts crying and trying to rip his nasal oxygen out again. After what feels like hours, I get him back to sleep and get the crib half up.
Now, again, I really really need to empty my bladder but I don’t want to leave Myles alone so I run two doors down to the control room, where I’m hoping the tech will be, and knock on the door. Nothing. On the way back to our room, I hear people talking in the room next to ours and I assume that she is busy in there hooking up the other child she’s monitoring for the day. I decide my best plan of action is to stand in the doorway of our room so I can make sure Myles doesn’t wake up and I can catch her as soon as she exits into the hallway. I’m doing the peepee dance when she come out of the study room next to ours pushing the empty tray cart. She looks over her shoulder, completely ignores that I’m standing there, walks into the control room and shuts the door!!!! Did she not see me?!? Should I have shouted?? I again leave my child unattended to go knock on the door. I hear a voice on the other side “oh my God!! JUST A SECOND!” She cracks the door. I said “I need to use the restroom again. Should I just be leaving him in there by himself??” She says “yeah well I just got in here but I’ll be monitoring him now so go ahead.” My head is going to explode, I walk away.
I return to the room grateful to hear the familiar sound of little man snoring. I lay down on the bed very carefully as to not make any noise. I look at the crib, only to realize the tech must have come in while I was hiking to the bathroom. The side of the crib is all the way up and the night stand is moved closer to him. I’m very uncomfortable at this point.
So here we are, Myles is sound asleep (and by that I mean he is snoring EXTREMELY LOUD) in the hospital crib, while Mommy lays on a very uncomfortable hospital bed next to him. I would love to scroll through Facebook till I fall asleep, but no service here in the basement of the building. Oh maybe I’ll watch tv, nope no cable. Okay then. I’ll just write this and then try to fall asleep…
That was terrible. Absolutely horrific. I was up atleast every hour but up to every 15 min. Once, I remember counting my sweet two year olds seconds between breaths… I made it to 29. 29 seconds before deperately straining to gain oxygen. With tears undesirably rolling out of the corners of my eyes, I stared at the camera wishing she would tell me it was okay to shake him to wake him up. Multiple times he was up crying. Screaming “Mommy, I can’t play with my hair!!” The last significant thing I remember waking up to was the time I woke up when the tech came in to the room. She held out her hand to me as if to let me know it was just her and not to worry. But then she never put her hand down and the feeling of “don’t worry” quickly turned into “Shut up. I don’t want to talk to you!” At that point I was so sleep deprived and hadn’t had a great experience so far, that I could have made that vibe up in my head but that sure is how it felt.
We were woke up at 5:44 am to go home for the day. She unhooked him while I packed up our things. She asked if I had any questions and I asked “How’d it go?” She advised me to follow up with his physician. I was so frustrated that I probably rolled my eyes as I said “ok so let me ask you this. I was up counting his breaths at one point in time and got up to 29 seconds before he took a breath. Did the test record that?”
“So you’re asking me if I could see that he had breaks in his breathing? Yes, I could read that.” Followed by, “now if you’re asking about his tonsils, they are a 2-3…so…yeah.” Personally, I took this as 2-3 is not normal and they would need to be removed. I signed the paperwork as quickly as possible and she said “okay, see ya in 10 months” as she smiled for what seemed like the first time, and out the door we went.
Instantly, once I reached the car, I googled tonsil numbers. A one means they are small. A two is normal, three is large, and 4 is ginormous. So really what the tech should have said was “they are pretty much normal… perhaps slightly larger than normal.”
This is not an experience I will ever forget, nor do I want to go through it again. We will hopefully get results soon from myles’ ENT and I will keep you posted. If anyone else has had experiences with sleep studies, sleep apnea, or anything of the sort, please share below!!!! We enjoy hearing our listeners stories!