Why can’t I breathe?


This picture came from here.


Sounds fancy, don’t it? You’re probably wondering what the hell I’m doing, sitting here blogging when I should be in an intensive care unit with a giant tube down my throat.

But it’s not that exciting, I’m afraid. In fact, it’s pretty damn dull. Damnit!

Yeah, so. Remember that sleep study? I got the results. Of course I will share them with you! I will even go so far as to translate the difficult medical jargon (see pretty green letters).

STUDY PERFORMED: Nocturnal polysomnogram.

(Find out why patient snores.)

PROCEDURE: Technician-assisted study recording EEG, EOG movement, chin EMG, nasal and oral airflow, EKG, respiratory effort, oximetry, body position, snoring, pulse rate, and limb movement.

(Test will measure how much patient snores.)

SLEEP ARCHITECTURE: Total recording time was 556.5 minutes with a total sleep time of 376.0 minutes. Sleep efficiency of 85%. Total number of arousals [!!!]: 75.

(Patient snored for 376.0 minutes)

RESPIRATORY DATA: 5 episodes of hypopnea with a mean length of 24.8 seconds. 5 episodes of respiratory effort-related arousals [!!!]. Patient slept 2.5 minutes in supine position and 373.5 minutes in lateral position.

(Patient tends to snore on her side.)

OTHER: No abnormal limb movements.

(Patient did not fondle herself.)

CONCLUSION: Test showed evidence suggestive of mild sleep related breathing disorder.

(Patient snores.)

So that was a waste of a perfectly good night. And now my doctor wants to see me. Why? So he can tell me to my face I’m a big, fat snorer? Dave calls me that every morning. For free!

Oh, well. I still haven’t cleared up the mystery of why I have a flat throat. I’m sure that will be a similarly fascinating revelation. I’ll probably find out that excessive snoring causes the throat opening to flatten.

Have you checked your throat opening today?

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42 Responses to “I Have Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome”

  1. 1 PG

    congrats on being a side snorer. that’s solid work. on my side is about the only time I DON’T snore.

    PG’s last blog post..John Adams? HA! I Laugh At John Adams (86/365 v2.0)

  2. 2 Daisy the Curly Cat

    Yikes! Do you think you will get to wear one of those CPAP machine thingies? My Daddie, he snores at night. A lot. Especially when he sleeps on his back. This is what I hear:
    “Mark? Mark! MARK! Go on your side. Your SIDE! No, not your side of the bed. Your side on your body. You’re snoring. Real LOUD!”

    Daisy the Curly Cat’s last blog post..My Spycat Bag of Tricks

  3. 3 Ilana

    I try never to fall asleep in front of people, because then when I wake up they are all avoiding eye contact and snickering suspiciously. Too bad I fall asleep everywhere, including in class, at work, on the subway, and on dates.

    Ilana’s last blog post..Don’t Quit Your (Imaginary) Day Job

  4. 4 absepa

    The trick is to marry someone who snores louder than you do, then they can’t give you any grief about it. (This may be a bit of a problem, tho, since you’re already married and you seem kind of attached to Dave.)

    So, are there lots of people with the flat-throat thing, or are you a medical mystery? I’ve never heard of it…very curious.

    absepa’s last blog post..Shout-outs to a Couple of Peeps

  5. 5 stephanie

    You’re so brave. I have always snored but never tried to find out why in case they think I need a head transplant or something.

    stephanie’s last blog post..Search Engine Optimization – KEYWORDS

  6. 6 Prefers Her Fantasy Life

    Wow! 75 arousals should lead to some sort of happy ending, wouldn’t you think?

    Prefers Her Fantasy Life’s last blog post..Six Degrees of San Francisco

  7. 7 Shieldmaiden96

    Last time I went to my doctor she told me I have ‘abnormally large tonsils’ for my age, and that ‘if they bother me I may be a candidate for surgery’. If they bother me?

    This is the same person who tells me every time I go there that my blood pressure is ‘creeping up’. I don’t have the heart to tell her that it ‘creeps up’ when I come in there because I ‘hate her’.

    Shieldmaiden96’s last blog post..Band on the Run

  8. 8 Pricilla

    The publicist’s daddy used to snore. VERY loudly. He could wake whole neighborhoods. The publicist learned to sleep through the noise. She married a man that doesn’t snore and it took her quite a while to learn to sleep in the quiet.

    Sometimes she misses the snores…..

    Pricilla’s last blog post..Oooh, Look at Me!

  9. 9 C.B.Jones

    I choked on a Twizzlers yesterday. It’s probably karma for the other comments i made regarded your flat throat.

    now I’m afraid of using a straw to drink the milkshake I bought form Dairy Queen.

    C.B.Jones’s last blog post..I’m happy and angry!

  10. 10 Jenn Thorson

    75 brief wakeups during the night? 75? Holy heck.

    Well, at least you didn’t fondle yourself. We were all wondering after that last post regarding this.

    Jenn Thorson’s last blog post..The Regrettable Third Grade Boobie Extravaganza

  11. 11 Anne

    I hope you will let us know your proposed treatment. My husband snores like a banshee and I have been trying to get him to go to a doctor forever (he refuses). Maybe treatment will be something I can slip into his food when he isn’t looking (beats the heck out of smothering him with his pillow which is option B).

    Anne’s last blog post..Nature Invades a Small Town

  12. 12 babs - beetle

    Well, you are a strange one! Snoring whilst laying on your back is the usual thing, not on your side. Must be your flat throat!
    I must admit to making the odd noise when laying on my back – that can apparently be heard in the next room!

    babs – beetle’s last blog post..I did this so JD doesn’t have to.

  13. 13 flit

    I followed the marry someone that snores more than you do advice … which takes care of the snoring, but does nothing at all about the tooth grinding that I excel at.

    I have an appointment to go pick up my new and made just for me (which was a particularly revolting process, by the way) mouth guard later today. I can ~hardly~ wait to try sleeping with it.

    Should have asked them to make it glow in the dark.

    flit’s last blog post..Starting to Unwind

  14. 14 Jen

    I don’t snore. The only time I do snore is when I have someone else in bed with me, which is rare so I don’t snore anymore. I suggest you tell Dave to sleep on the couch if you are to really stop snoring.

    Jen’s last blog post..Swine Flu Pandemic

  15. 15 cardiogirl

    I love the idea of someone having to sit in another room at the hospital watching the clock and timing how long you were snoring so the data can be captured in the report.

    It truly drives me insane when my husband snores and frequently I move downstairs to the couch and turn the fan on to cover the sound of his snoring.

    I cannot imagine having to listen to a patient snore while watching the clock. I would gladly clean toilets at Taco Bell before I took that job.

  16. 16 JD

    PG: Yeah, I’m very proud. I always thought I only snored when I lay on my back. But you can’t argue with sleep technology!

    Daisy the Curly Cat: Oh, dear. I feel sorry for your Mommie. I don’t think I’ll have to wear a mask, because the problem isn’t that bad. Which is to say, it doesn’t bother me!

    Ilana: You must go on some real hot dates. I’m sure those sleep technicians were laughing at me, but unfortunately that was not included in the report.

    absepa: Yeah . . . I kinda like Dave. And if he hasn’t started snoring by now, chances are he never will. I really don’t know anything about this flat throat syndrome. I’ve tried Googling it . . . nothing. My doctor didn’t act like it was anything special, tho.

    stephanie: Well, I HOPE I don’t find out that I need a head transplant. Now I’m scared to go to the doctor! I’m pretty sure Dave wouldn’t mind, as long as my new head didn’t snore.

    Prefers Her Fantasy Life: You’d think so. 75 has got to be some kind of record, even for me.

    Shieldmaiden96: HA! I think you should tell her, and see what she says. I had large tonsils (and adenoids), too, and had them ripped out when I was a child. It was the right decision, because they really did “bother” me.

    Pricilla: Aw. That story is a little bit sad. I have to sleep with a white-noise machine, because I can’t have it be too quiet. But there’s a big difference between snoring and white noise.

    C.B. Jones: Well, there you go. Karma’s a bitch, but maybe your almost-choking scare is the worst that’s going to happen. Or maybe not.

    Jenn Thorson: Yeah, I wanted to have some kind of official report that there was no fondling going on. I’m relieved. And yet all those arousals? It seems contradictory.

    Anne: I have a feeling the treatment options do NOT include an easily disguised liquid. I’m thinking more along the lines of masks, mouth guards, and surgery. None of which I am about to do.

    babs – beetle: Yeah, I thought I only snored on my back. It is rather weird. And you’re right: it can only be because of my flat throat. No other explanation makes sense. I have woken myself up snorting while lying on my back . . .

    flit: Ohhhh. Good luck. I had to sleep with a mouth guard when my dentist thought I was grinding my teeth (I wasn’t — the tooth pain was a fractured tooth LIKE I TOLD HIM A MILLION TIMES). Anyway, yeah, the mold-making procedure was rather harrowing. Much more harrowing than actually sleeping with the thing.

    Jen: Dave has taken it upon himself to find other sleeping arrangements when it gets really bad. And once or twice I’ve moved myself, just because I can’t stand the suspense. But usually I just sleep blissfully through it all.

    cardiogirl: Really? Taco Bell toilets? Surely those must be the worst of the fast-food toilets. I think it might be kind of fun to see if people talk or scream in their sleep. I might rather enjoy that.

  17. 17 Kathy

    I don’t snore nearly as much as my husband does, which is why I’m always freaked out when I make a sudden snort noise and I’m like “Was that me? I sound like that?”

    Like flit, I’m a teeth grinder, which if you ask my sisters and my husband is something you almost want to kill someone for. I can still remember my sisters throwing pillows at me during my sleep to shut me up. I think it must be worse than snoring, though I never hear what it sounds like. Nor would I undergo a sleep study to find out. If I heard it, I’d never fall asleep again.

    Kathy’s last blog post..What’s That Wednesday

  18. 18 Lola

    75 arousals? I bet Dave was jealous.

    Seriously, I’m hoping you don’t have to do the CPAP machine. It is a real PITA. My exhb had one. Anastasia is supposed to use one but she refuses. Instead, we are dueling snorers. Each of us coughs unnaturally loud to wake the other when the snoring gets too obnoxious. How juvenile is that?

    Lola’s last blog post..Follow up to "It’s The Stand"

  19. 19 Lola

    I think I kinda agree with you about wanting to be a sleep study tech than clean Taco Hell toilets.

    Can you imagine how hilarious it is to watch people trying not to, you know, do the things they normally do while in bed alone. I bet the techs have all kinds of stories and I bet they laugh their asses off.

    Lola’s last blog post..Follow up to "It’s The Stand"

  20. 20 Mary @ Holy Mackerel

    I’m glad they found something at least. Isn’t that better than nothing? Methinks it is…hopefully you won’t have to wear one of those sleep apnea masks that my husband wears. He looks & sounds like Darth in it, but it’s done wonders for his breathing.

    Mary @ Holy Mackerel’s last blog post..I Hate Multiple Choice,Part 2

  21. 21 MamaNeedsaCosmo

    “5 episodes of hypopnea with a mean length of 24.8 seconds. 5 episodes of respiratory effort-related arousals . . .”

    Um. Are you sure this isn’t backwards?

    Maybe the 5 episodes of respiratory effort-related arousals resulted in 5 episodes of “something else” lasting a mean 24.8 seconds.

    If so, then sign me up.

    The only kind of arousal that lasts 24.8 seconds in my house lately is the excitement my husband displays when he finds out I’m making lasagna.

    MamaNeedsaCosmo’s last blog post..The McAccident – An Open Letter

  22. 22 Edward

    I don’t think I snore, but I find if a girl does then a swift shove onto the floor usually sorts her out for a while. Good luck with that.

    Edward’s last blog post..Already?

  23. 23 Preston

    It’s been a very long time since ANYONE has check my throat opening and that’s all I’m gonna say about that! I snore myself but usually if I’ve been drinking and fall asleep on my back. If you get a chance, please check out my new blog. I finally have it on my domain name, meandtheblueskies.com. Woo Hoo!!!

    Preston’s last blog post..NC Rep Foxx Claims Matthew Shepherd Murder a Hoax

  24. 24 Jay

    But … 75 arousals each night sounds like such a GOOD thing! LOL!

    We both snore. My solution is to wear ear plugs and if OH complains, offer him a pair. But he does have abominable dying-in-his-sleep episodes where he’ll wake me up because I can hear him not breathing, and then he sucks in his breath with a huge, choking-to-death-on-a-walrus noise.

    I guess that’s what your sleep study people were talking about, huh?

  25. 25 JD

    Kathy: I’ve never heard teeth grinding either—but I’ve heard myself make that loud, masculine snorting sound. It’s really bizarre to wake up to that. Usually Prudence is staring accusingly at me, so there’s no doubt as to where it came from.

    Lola: HA! Women really do come out ahead in that regard, don’t we? I do the coughing thing when I have to share a hotel room with my mom, who snores. It may be juvenile, but it works! And I agree about working as a sleep tech. It’s probably pretty boring most of the time, but then you get someone who does something . . . you know.

    Mary @ Holy Mackerel: I’m glad your husband has found relief with his Darth Vader mask. It sounds like I won’t have to do anything because the only problem is the snoring—and that doesn’t bother me one bit!

    MamaNeedsaCosmo: Oh, man, I hope I didn’t do “something else” in my sleep. I wish they could put something in the report that would discreetly say whether or not “that” happened. LASAGNA!

    Edward: I can tell you from experience that a swift shove onto the floor results in a shoving match from which “the girl” usually emerges victorious because she cheats and fills her pillow with ball bearings.

    Preston: HA! Oh, dear. Well, let’s just assume your throat opening is normal, shall we? And . . . YAY for your new blog! I have visited—I just haven’t had time to comment. But I will this weekend. Congratulations!

    Jay: I know! But I wasn’t even aware of them, so how good could they have been? Oof, that sounds scary. Yes, those dying-in-your-sleep episodes are usually not considered good in the sleep study industry. He may want to get that checked out. Can you hear him not breathing thru your earplugs?

  26. 26 Queen Katherine

    Hmm That is a lot of arousals. Then again, how many people can say they have a flat throat? Do you have to chew your food a special way? Drink from flat rectangular straws?

    I agree – I hope you don’t have to result to the CPAP machine. Not only is it a total PITA, but really, how attractive is it??

    I feel for ya. And thanks for the translation. lol


    Queen Katherine’s last blog post..You are old, face it

  27. 27 unfinishedrambler

    Best response was from Daisy: nice way for “her” to put it to “Daddie.” :) Was glad that my wife, Shieldmaiden96, had no snide comments on the side about me.

    Loved the arousals [!!!], although probably not as much as you did. :)

    unfinishedrambler’s last blog post..Don’t know much about beadwork, black hair, Boston or bowling, but that, hmmmm…

  28. 28 Puglette

    hubby woke up the other night and told me he heard loud snoring and thought he had woken himself up with his own snoring again. then he told me it was really ollie’s snoring that woke him up! yeah, blame it on the cute little pug.
    have a good weekend!

    Puglette’s last blog post..Sign, Sign Everywhere a Sign

  29. 29 dcr

    So, you have UARS? Is it contagious? Sounds like SARS–you don’t have some advanced form of swine flu, do you? Is it safe to comment here? I think I’ll go wash my hands after submitting this comment, just in case.

  30. 30 shakespeare

    My husband only snores when he’s on his side FACING ME… which he insists on doing for some reason (he must like me or something).

    Maybe I should insult him every night before we go to bed.

    Maybe we need separate bedrooms. Hmmm…

    shakespeare’s last blog post..The Scent of Lilacs

  31. 31 Natural

    you snore?

    my prescription:

    smother snorer with two pillows and revive them in the morning.

    Natural’s last blog post..Mirror, Mirror on the Blog….

  32. 32 Musingwoman

    75 arousals! Is that like some kind of record?

  33. 33 JD

    Queen Katherine: You are very welcome. And why have I never realized that “pain in the ass” is abbreviated “PITA.” How pretty! Anyway, yes, I suppose the flat throat is a tradeoff for all the arousals. I’ve been eating only flat food lately, which seems to be making absolutely no difference at all.

    unfinishedrambler: Oh, now, wait. Shieldmaiden could still chime in. Or maybe Seamus will be the one to call you out. In our house, it’s the cats who usually say the things we’re reluctant to say ourselves. WOO! Arousals!

    Puglette: Oh, how could it have been my sweet Ollie?! I hope Ollie very gently shoved him off the bed!

    dcr: I forgot to say that a free sample of hand sanitizer comes free with every comment. EVERYthing sounds more threatening when you acronym-ize it (except PITA).

    shakespeare: Aw! Your husband likes you. There’s got to be some deep meaning behind the fact that he only snores facing you. Well, for now, try insulting him and see what happens.

    Natural: Sounds about right. My cats try to smother me every night, but they usually leave a small opening for me to breathe/snore through. They seem to have the reviving part down pretty well.

    Musingwoman: I wish I’d thought to ask if it was a record. I bet it was. We should probably all be checking YouTube right now to see if those sleep technicians uploaded the video of my arousals.

  34. 34 Jay

    I keep telling OH he needs to get checked out, and also that losing weight to reduce the size of his neck would help, but he never listens to me.

    “Can you hear him not breathing thru your earplugs?”

    The earplugs don’t block out all noise, they just seriously reduce it, but I think it’s more of an instinctive ‘WAKE UP – YOUR HUSBAND’S DEAD!!’ thing. Thankfully, he usually isn’t. ;)

  35. 35 Tiggy

    It was worth your suffering for a great post, surely?

    I wonder if they were just being kind about the ‘no limb movement’ thing… Just to be sure, I’d check YouTube, I don’t trust those doctors…

  36. 36 JD

    Jay: My mom is hinting around for me to hang out while she sleeps to see if she stops breathing. I asked her if she couldn’t just videotape herself. Happy Mother’s Day!

    Tiggy: Oh, always. The more I can suffer, the more blog fodder. And thanks for planting the YouTube idea. I’m scouring for videos with keywords “sleep study,” “fondling,” and “JD.”

  37. 37 TheSnackHound

    Yes…I check my throat opening on a regular basis. Well..if I figure out how…I would. I do have a disorder where I try to talk while I am drinking, so it goes down “the wrong pipe.” But that is not a true throat disorder, that is a stupidity disorder.

    All I can think of when I think of sleep studies is that it must be darn cold to do one. I always think they put you on a cold table with one thin sheet for warmth and you freeze all night. But maybe that’s not true.

    TheSnackHound’s last blog post..The SnackHound Tribute to Dom Deluise

  38. 38 JD

    TheSnackHound: I have that same stupidity disorder with drinking while talking. You’d think once would be enough to drill it in my brain that those two activities don’t go together. I’m not sure where you got the cold room thing for sleep studies. I was pleased to find my room had a thermostat; unfortunately, it controlled another room, too, and apparently THAT person didn’t enjoy Arctic temps.

  39. 39 Baron von Rochester

    I love it that you have a “sleep efficiency” of 85%. That sounds pretty good, really. I mean, it’s a solid “B” on most grading charts.

    Baron von Rochester’s last blog post..My Day at the Dentist

  40. 40 JD

    Baron von Rochester: I was rather proud of that score. They said it was the “low end of the normal range,” so, yeah, I’d say it was about a B. I am efficient at sleeping!

  41. 41 Richard Mongler

    Don’t feel bad. At least you don’t have teh swine flu.

  42. 42 JD

    Richard Mongler: Good point. And those punks only get to wear a flimsy surgical mask. HA!


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