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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Wired for Sleep... Parkinson's and Sleep Apnea PART 1 of 3!



My wife and I watch a show on television called The Curse of Oak Island. The basic premise is that there is a lot of serious historical evidence that shows someone took a lot of time to bury something on this island off Nova Scotia. As to who this was, reality TV portrays a lot of culprits, but most likely, it’s the Knights Templar since they’re the cool historical group du jour. Of course, I have absolutely no authority with which to confirm that, but the increase in their mention in the show features a strong correlation to the number of programs on History, which feature said group.


Not to digress, but until they were eliminated on Friday October 13, 1307, they spent over 200 years being the Navy SEALs of the Christian Crusaders. You can read more about them here. It is the opinion of this blogger that, when done well, they make very entertaining "documentary" TV.

As for Oak Island's treasure hunters, I agree as well that they do have a style all of their own (and narration by the same guy who does Ancient Aliens' narration), but my biggest problem with the show is that they NEVER EVER find anything of consequence. 

They could be inches from Shakespeare’s folios, the Ark of the Covenant, or some other pirate’s treasure (or nothing much), and wham... commercial, a little bit of a back track, and nothing. Sometimes, they get what seems like incredible offers and assistance from outside sources, and then they or these promising theories vanish like a Walking Dead character (only never to come back like that guy who went with Tara to Oceanside and Dwight's wife).

 Nevertheless, to our joy, every week History finances and portrays the Lagina Brothers’ search to hopefully find something, and every week, they either find something sort of kind of old, but of small quantity, or they manage to pull defeat from the jaws of victory and come up empty.

This bothers me for 3 reasons.

1)      My wife and I waste a lot of time watching and holding onto the promise that this has to be the year (we just finished year 5). Right now, we await news on Season 6's return.
2)     They are now doing a second show about Civil War gold, which is equally intriguing and suspenseful, and we might get sucked into that.
3)      My doctors should replace the Laginas in their quest to find gold because they would all work well together in this hunt since everything (and I mean everything) that they look for is something that they find.

Let’s take their most recent search: Sleep apnea. My pulmonologist and neurologist want to look for it since I have 4 strikes against me.



1)      I snore.
2)      I’m a tubby dude (i.e. I need to lose some weight).
3)      I have Parkinson’s.
4)      I had a lot of issues with hypoxia and pneumonia all at once in the last few months, and I wasn't getting better.

Maybe one of these reasons is a foul tip or was called a dead ball (or I just didn't want to go for a visit because my docs are so predictable at finding my ailments), but whatever way you look at it, I needed to get checked over since it seems I'm doing my best Ryan Howard at the plate imitation.

A few weeks ago, I had my first appointment. When they wired me for observation, they were able to watch brainwaves of my dreams, listen to my snoring, monitor my vitals, and make sure the metal device that aliens implanted in my brain is still working. Just kidding on that, but then again, wouldn’t it have been neat to see if they found something, which might make these strange dreams happen? Hmm. It might explain a lot of other things, too.


Anyway, the woman running the brain wave watching show, Michelle, had a lot to say and offer regarding the process, which is called Polysomnography (since I am an inquisitive man – i.e. a geek) Additionally, major props to her because she was really nice and professional throughout the whole thing (i.e. she felt bad about putting the sensors on my chest and leg hair since that would be painful to pull off AND she shared her extensive experience and medical advice with me).

In the end, I fell asleep really quickly, and made it through the night pretty well in spite of looking like I was about to be turned into an android who was being monitored to find out if I dream of electric sheep or not. By 530AM, she called the game on account of enough data, which meant I didn’t need to sleep on my back (something I don’t do well), and she said that they would call me back for part 2, which would be whether or not I would need a CPAP mask fitting or not.



Since my medical team is on the ball, it was pretty much a certainty that they would add sleep apnea to my pre-existing conditions list. As for the Laginas, well, they would have made waiting for the decision last until season 6's midseason finale. The show must go on!

In the meantime, I learned a little bit about sleep apnea and Parkinson’s.

1.      Sleep apnea is a big problem. In fact, it can kill older people, which is not a good thing.
2.      According to APDA, 1 study showed Parkies only get 5 hours of sleep on average, and we wake up a lot more than other patients. Of course, that could be frequent urination or meds and dreams, too. After all, it was only 1 study’s results. Nevertheless, it does parallel with our sleep issues.
3.      Another study looked at how common sleep apnea was for Parkies, and it found out we’re 4 times more likely to get it (20% to 5%) than everyday Jane and Joe.
4.      This can be treated with constant positive airway pressure (CPAP - i.e. a nifty mask that makes me look like a fighter pilot out of The Right Stuff).


5.      Problems include snoring, shortness of breath, choking, and gasping for air. Of the words below, most should be common, but "nocturia" is a fancy way of saying a lot of night time bathroom visits.

I recommend reading more about these from the American Parkinson’s Disease Association or the Mayo Clinic or SleepApnea Dot Org to learn more from the pros.

Tune in later this week to read Part 2 about Visit 2!

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