It all started with loud snores at night that kept my wife awake. Two years after my wedding, I begin to add more weight. My usual 180 lbs have shot to 190 lbs and more. I usually skipped breakfast but then I had to. My pharynx structure, as well as my unusual overbite, may have contributed to it. I never knew it was coming and it went from bad to worse.
I have always been a chronic recipient of tonsilitis, which oftentimes during my childhood were not treated properly as I often did not finish the complete round of antibiotic medication. Over the years, my tonsils grew larger and they narrowly close my throat passage. That gave the reasons for the loud snores. When my youngest daughter has tonsilitis, I pity her with her loud snores and catchy breathing.
It started early but I never noticed it. I thought that loud snores were something normal and they were just manifestations of fatigue. It was 2006 and was working with the Highlands Group. I had my day-offs on Sundays and had to drive to Makati on Saturday evenings and return to Tagaytay Monday mornings. It was during this trips that I felt so drowsy, I needed to make a pit stop. I didn’t know it was already getting worse. During meetings, I also instantaneously fell asleep and had to be elbowed by colleagues when it was time to speak. I thought it was just stress. I thought I was just so tired, I can’t sleep at night. I also suffer some hallucinations both visual and aural. I was so afraid to go to the bathroom to pee at night.
I then decided to have someone accompany me when I was driving, especially while traversing the SLEX. It was because, more than once, I fell to sleep while driving. I could still remember, it was a sunny day, and I was driving along the winding road to Tagaytay when I suddenly was out of my senses. I’m so lucky my house companion was with me in the car. He woke me up.
When I transferred to government service, I still ignored my sickness. It was embarrassing at times that I instantaneously fell asleep even in the middle of a court hearing. My colleagues noticed this as well as the judges sitting in front of us.
However, it still took me 6 months to go to a doctor with my wife arranging for a sleep test. Without the company card, we could have spent a lot on the sleep test alone. It was my longest sleep in years. I slept for 13 hours straight. This time I have to sleep with a sleeping device called BiPAP or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. Medical technicians and nurses monitored my sleep patterns. The BiPAP blows air at a pressurized level into my nose. I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Here’s how an OSA works. Tissue or muscles surrounding the pharynx relaxes when the body is asleep. When these flaps or muscles relaxed, they cover the air passage. Coupled with the huge tonsils it will then be difficult for the person to breath. Since the brain, even when someone is asleep, helps to preserve the body, it wakes up the person sleeping. Thus, most people with OSA do not reach a deep sleep or the REM sleep. And if this goes on for several months, then a sudden blackening out will happen, even when the person is doing something.
Right now, I still have it but I am already using a new CPAP machine. Thanks to my Company for reimbursing the cost. For the past weeks, I was experiencing some uneasiness while sleeping and have to wake up at wee hours, and have difficulty to fall back to sleep again. But I found the problem. I recalibrated my new machine and slept soundly again.
I hope you can relate to my experience, especially those who have been already diagnosed, and those who have not but are experiencing the same symptoms. My advice is for you to go to the doctor before it gets worse.