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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sleep apnea and my tonsillectomy

This is just my explaining whats been going on in my life a lot over the past few months. So basically I suffer from sleep apnea (it is a sleep disorder with abnormally low breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour).

So what made me go to the doctor was I snore extremely loud! I got my adenoids removed when I was 14 to help stop it but that didn't work, it actually made it worse. So I went back again because my friends had said I stop breathing and sound like I choke in my sleep. And I slept my way through the summer, I was constantly exhausted, I couldn't do anything, I was always falling asleep while doing stuff. Going back to college was a nightmare... I used to drift off during classes so I had to constantly drink energy drinks (which are high in sugar, bad for you in general), so having 2 of these a day is very bad. I never got int trouble but it was rude to seem like I wasn't listening so I was constantly embarrassed and missed out on crucial information, my memory span was cut short!

So I was sent to a specialist who believed I may have sleep apnea so i did a sleep study in November. Once the results came back, it was shocking! I had one of the highest apnea levels in Ireland. The normal apnea level for sleepers is 5 times a night, for sleep apnea sufferers it is averaged at 30 apneas a night. But in my case my apnea level is 96.3! That is extremely high and dangerous.

Common symptoms include loud snoring, restless sleep, and sleepiness during the daytime. Sleep apnea causes many health risks in later years, so going undiagnosed is dangerous to you. Health risks associated with this is high blood pressure, heart complications, stroke, diabetes and even sudden death.

I was told my tonsils were twice the size of normal tonsils, they needed to be removed. After I got the results of my sleep study I was given a sleep machine (pictured below) and had to sleep with it every night ever since. When I found out I was totally shocked, I was thinking how can I have this on with friends staying over or with a guy in my bed?! With the tonsillectomy hopefully it will stop my sleep apnea and stop the snoring too.

On January 11th, I had my operation and am currently recovering. The operation went well, when I woke in the recovery room, my heart rate was higher than normal and my hole body was shaking with cold. They gave me a hot blanket but I was still freezing for some time. I was very groggy too.

When I got back to my room, I started to cry - I felt very overwhelmed after waking from the anaesthetic! My parents were there when I first got back but left to leave me rest. My friend Mark and his girlfriend Leigh came to visit me, they brought me a get well card and ice cream and some other treats. Then later on my friends Salome Niamh and Rose came to visit :) I was so exhausted from talking to Mark and Leigh that I couldn't talk much when the girls got there. When they left I was so exhausted. I had to drink loads of water, take shots of pain killers and had a drip hooked up to my hand. The drink half fell out during the night so I got it taken out. I was allowed to leave the hospital the next day after lunch and since have been home.

I'm on 3 different tablets for the pain and antibiotics. After eating I feel sick, not so great, and the painkillers make me drowsy :(

It should be all worth it in the end and hopefully my apnea will be gone when I'm recovered, but there is no guarantees. Anyone else had there tonsils removed, let me know of there experience, how did your treatment go? :)

Lots of Love

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