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Advice for someone waiting for the sleep study?

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nirodha +0 points · almost 2 years ago Original Poster

I've had bad daytime drowsiness for years now (can easily take two naps per day if I was allowed to), but I always thought it was my busy schedule or some medication I was on. However, my doctor and I became more and more suspicious that it might be sleep apnea -- especially after she heard that I snore loudly, get up a couple of times per night, and always wake up exhausted and/or with a headache. Plus it seemed to be getting worse. In September, I went to the ENT and they said that I had a very deviated septum, some bone abnormality in my nose (perhaps from when I broke it a few years back), a large tongue, and year-round nasal allergies. My ENT agreed that it may very likely be obstructive sleep apnea, and ordered a sleep study.

Unfortunately, the first available sleep study was 6 weeks out. I got on the schedule and asked to be placed on their callback list if anyone cancels. I did not hear back from them for 5 weeks, and then the sleep clinic called and said that they had cancelled the appointment because my insurance denied it. I then went back and forth with them and my ENT and my insurance company, and just today was told that a home-based sleep study would have to be ordered. They said that they will send me an email on Monday about how this will all happen, and that they will put my in touch with a 3rd party company that will get me the equipment I need for the home study. They also told me that it usually takes 2 weeks to analyze the sleep data and generate a report for my ENT.

It's probably because I'm so tired and irritable, but I am sooo upset at how slow this is all progressing. I'm normally an EXTREMELY patient person, but I am starting to lose it. It feels like the condition is worsening every day. I had to stay home sick from work two days this week due to fatigue. I am also getting more intense headaches, brain fog, and memory problems. I worry that I am going to lose my job if I can't get this turned around quickly.

Any suggestions from people who have gone through this? Did you experience severe symptoms that caused significant distress and impairment in your functioning? Were you also feeling desperate? Even though I haven't completed the sleep study and don't know for certain if I actually have sleep apnea (though my ENT said that he's pretty certain I do), I am getting so desperate I thought about purchasing a CPAP machine on my credit card today and bypassing insurance just to get this process started. What would you do if you were in my shoes? Is there any way to speed this up? If I can't speed things up, is there anything I can do to get through the next few weeks before I get a CPAP? Thanks in advance!

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Sierra +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Patron

You can make an assessment of how likely you are to have sleep apnea with the STOP BANG quiz. See link below.

STOP-BANG

In your situation I think I would wait for the at home test. Yes, some people do just buy a machine, but it is actually not legal without a prescription in Canada and the US. That said some buy used machines, but I would not recommend it.

There are chin straps sold to prevent snoring, and also boil and bite mouth appliances sold at a pharmacy. Neither are real good solutions, but they may provide you with some relief until you get the test. Many of us find we need to use the chin strap even with the CPAP machine to keep our mouths closed during sleep. So, it may not be a wasted expense.

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wiredgeorge +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

It has been my observation that folks who go to an ENT are typically set up for an operation. These seem to often be non-effective for treating OSA and are painful and very expensive. I am guessing your insurance company denied an in-lab study because they considered the matter resolved with the ENT outlay. The state of sleep medicine isn't great. Saying that, wait for your study and go from there. If you need therapy, there will be an indication of what type machine and pressure, etc will be prescribed. It appears you will not be getting great support for this therapy based on lack of support from your insurance so best to self-educate so you can be prepared to be the captain of your own therapy without relying too much on follow on support. Keep in mind also that there are a couple different paths for therapy; both PAP and dental appliance. Don't get railroaded into one path or the other but educate and find out which seems most promising for you.

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