Saturday, July 11, 2009

Clearing the air

  So, if you follow my ever-fascinating spew of Twitter streams on the right side of this blog, you probably saw a tweet from about a week ago where I celebrated my independence (on July 4, natch) from sleeping pills.

  A little clarification is in order.

  I recieved a few messages since then congratulating me on conquering my sleep apnea, and I've had a few people ask how my sleeping is since my deviated septum surgery. The short answer is, it's really not any better, and there's no way to make it so. The type of apnea I have is a matter of brain malfunction. I don't have a throat occlusion, and I don't have insomnia brought on by stress. There are no relaxation techniques that are going to help. There's no melanin pill or sleepy time tea remedy. My diaphragm doesn't get the signal to breathe sometimes during the night, and (according to the last study) that causes me to stop breathing for sometimes upwards of a full minute. There is no solution for this.
  The Ambien, and later Lunesta, were merely crutches to help me not be aware of waking up 70-80 times a night. And it worked, for a time, until my body built up a massive tolerance to the medication. I was still having apena episodes that entire time; I just wasn't as aware of them. Same thing with the deviated septum. The most important reason for that surgery was to improve breathing. This, again, doesn't solve the initial problem. It merely assists in softening the effects. It had the added benefit of improving my endurance during heavy cardio events, like running, and it added a little range to my voice for singing. I think it was a good move.
  So, what I'm getting at, is this: I appreciate all the good sentiment, but it's really unwarranted. The reason I quit the sleeping pills is that I have built up over three years of tolerance to them. It's a waste of money, and it's extremely damaging to the liver to take those medications for a long period of time. I'm a week into the "no meds zone," and I'm doing just fine. In fact, I feel better, really. I think this problem is as solved as it's going to get, and I'm good with that. I'm not dying from fatigue, I'm mentally as acute as I ever was, and my body is physically healthier than it's ever been, both in endurance and sheer strength.

  What's there to complain about?

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