Making Sleep Apnea Personal
This is a picture of a person who suffers from sleep apnea. Almost everyone who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea has an instructive story to tell about what has happened since he or she came to terms with the disease. Here are some of those stories:
Harley's Story: From sleep deprivation to the life-saving PAP device
My name is Harley and this is a true story. In fact, it is my personal journey into years of suffering, pain and anguish owing to an undiagnosed condition called obstructive sleep apnea. Many years of incorrect diagnosis and treatment by a number of well-meaning doctors prevented me from getting the proper treatment for my condition. I tell my story in the hope that physicians and other health workers will recognize the urgency of their learning about sleep apnea and prescribing testing for this most under-diagnosed condition. I hope as well that people with the symptoms of sleep apnea will take this condition very seriously. It could save lives, possibly yours.
Vicki's Story: I just couldn't stay awake
I am a 47-year-old female and I have always had the loudest snore. However, other than snoring, I was a very atypical looking obstructive sleep apnea patient--I wasn't a middle-aged man with a big belly. About seven years ago, I started falling asleep quickly and inappropriately. Watching TV after work one night I awoke when a glass of milk I was holding spilled in my lap. Another night, sitting on the floor cleaning my rabbit's cage, I awoke four hours later asleep on the floor. I could barely stay awake driving. I developed constant headaches. I told my primary care physician that I had headaches and was passing out. She gave me some medicine for the headaches and discounted my extreme fatigue, saying, "You mean you're just falling asleep quickly."
Bill's Story: It was a big deal after all
I had actually known I had sleep apnea for a number of years; I just didn't do anything about it. My wife would tell me that I stopped breathing during the night and that she would lie awake counting the seconds until I started to breathe again. I thought I was sleeping through the night, so I never really gave it a lot of thought. Anyway, what's the big deal? So I snore and stop breathing. At least I'm getting some sleep.
George's Story: Overcoming sleep apnea, my 40-year journey
I am a 52-year-old male, married, and the father of a four-year old child. I am currently a manager for a government agency and supervise nine employees, thanks to successful treatment of my sleep apnea. Life before treatment was not as good.
Bob's Story: Downhill one day at a time
It started insidiously enough. I felt a little more tired than usual and I began to have a little trouble concentrating. My memory was a little off as well. No big deal, just a hair off normal levels and, after all I had turned 50 so I could expect some slowing down, couldn't I? At the same time, my wife began complaining that my snoring was becoming difficult to live with. Hey, how bad could it be, everyone snores. Big deal. Then I began falling asleep in meetings. If the air were close and the speaker droned, off I went. Well, not my fault, they should get some air circulation in those meeting rooms and get the speakers to be more interesting. The changes were so gradual that it was hard to see a pattern. I could find a reason or explanation for everything.