Monthly Archives: February 2016

Grandma stopped breathing over 100 times in her sleep

Stevie B.

For most, sleep is a treasured bliss that is irreplaceable. For my Grandmother though, to go to sleep was to take her life into her hands. While some invest in luxury pillows, 800-count sheets and expensive mattresses to enhance their nightly resting, my Grandmother was forced to invest in surgery. This is how sleep apnea had a tremendous effect on her health and lifestyle.

When my grandmother married her husband, she was unaware of the importance he would serve her later down the road. She had always been a snorer, as well as her mother, but later in her life it began to become a larger issue. One night, my Grandfather noticed her snoring stop in the middle of the night. He checked on her and realized she was not breathing. In a panic, he punched her chest, relieving the obstruction of her breathing.

My Grandfather continued to do this a few times a night and it became a sort of routine. However, when he died early in his life at 59, my Grandmother was terrified to sleep alone. Temporarily, she moved in with her daughter (my mother) to feel more safe in her slumber. Yet, she knew she would need help beyond that.

When she finally went to the doctor, she was observed overnight. Turns out, she stopped breathing over 100 times in her sleep. This information for the scary truth for my Grandmother and she was eager for answers.

The doctor told her that she would need surgery to open up her throat and let her breath better. Before the surgery could be performed though, the doctor advised her to sew a tennis ball to the back of her pajama shirt. This would help open her airways so she could go through the night more safely. This non-traditional guidance helped my Grandmother survive the night before the incision. The surgery went smooth and she recovered easily. She was very lucky to regain her strength back so easily and return to her normal sleeping habits.

My Grandmother never used a CPAP machine. This technology was new when she was being diagnosed. When she finally went to the doctor, he did not bother to prescribe her the machine and decided to go straight into surgery as soon as possible. However, her current doctor is aware that if she ever had issues again, CPAP is a very reliable option.

I am so blessed to know this information about my Grandmother. It makes me realize how blessed she was to live with sleep apnea and survive despite never going to the doctor. I am more conscious of my body’s habits because of the knowledge of my Grandmother’s sleep disorder. I want to know more about my sleep habits because I believe that the these little things contribute overall to my health and well being.

Our generation has a tremendous advantage over the past ones. Not only have we done more research on sleep apnea but we also have more options on surgery and therapy to recover. CPAP is also much more stable and safe than sewing a tennis ball to your pajamas! It amazes me that my Grandmother even survived so long with this disorder.

Information can save someones life. When my mother witnessed all of this happen to her own mother, her involvement in her health skyrocketed. She joined a gym, quit smoking, did not drink or take medicine before bed and invested in a pillow that keeps her neck more raised (allowing easier air-flow). When I was born, she informed me of my Grandmother’s past health. It was shocking news, but without me knowing, I would be more careless about my health.

I am aware that not much can prevent sleep apnea. Without knowing anything about this disorder though, I would be at a higher risk. I have made the decision to never become a smoker and to keep my weight in check. These two things will not only help prevent me from getting a sleep disorder, but will save me from other health issues as well. It is very important to stay verbal with your health. When you are held accountable, not only are you more obligated to hold to your word, but it helps the other person as well. If we all talk about our health issues, we can influence others to be more aware of their bodies and well being. This is the first step to preventing illness; dealing with sleep or not.

To say I am thankful that my Grandmother to have had this issue would be false. Yet, I am glad that something beneficial came from it. Our family is very active and mindful to what we consume. It has influenced me to be much more interested in health. I want to become a Physical Therapist one day so that I can help people recovering from throat surgery to relieve their apnea. Just as my Grandmother recovered from her surgery in 1992, I will help others rehabilitate from theirs as well. As I see it, her suffering led to the recovery of many others, through my actions one day. That truly is magical.

First experience with Sleep Apnea

Melba H.

My first experience was with a friend that has sleep apnea. As a Medical Assistant student, at the time, I had never heard of sleep apnea. While taking Mike to the clinic, several times, for visits I learned that diet and maintenance of weight played an integral part in sleep and sleep disorders.
      After having several health challenges of my own, Mike has now become my monitor and mentor on using my very own CPAP machine. I had many sleepless nights in the beginning, but I was able to encourage a fellow school member to hang in there with theirs!


​Precious J.

Nothing like a bad night of sleep to ruin your entire day. Many of us have had those kinds of days , where you have had a bad night of sleep and it just flips your whole mood for that next day. Yet not all of us experience the pain and the problems of having a sleep disorder. Those of us who do know the definition of REAL PAIN. Sleep disorders affect us in a way where it can ruin our whole cycle of routine. It is not only is bad for us but the people who are involved in that routine as well.

Things such as sleep disorders can sort of change you as a person. It could lead to depression , lack of energy and many more side effects. It makes doing your everyday routine and the things that you have to do , whether it be work , school or at home, every bit more difficult. Tossing and turning all throughout the night and having to get up at 6 in the morning everyday and expecting a coffee to keep you through the day can get to be stressful and hard to do.

There are many benefits and things now that can help you not be able to deal with problems like that or insomnia , one of the most common sleep disorders. Such as homemade runtime, relaxation , sleep schedules and some medicine or even CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy. It is a machine that helps your airway go through more easily while you sleep. Which can be very beneficial if breathing during sleep is your main problem and can ease a burden off you shoulders.

Many say that the benefits of CPAP is life changing. Could you imagine finally to be able to finish that business project , go to the movies with your grandchildren , do something new, without the fear of not being able to stay up in time without getting drowsy? There are many benefits to even researching the idea or even taking it out for a test drive. What could go wrong with trying to get a little extra sleep through the night?

Sleep disorders make everything your do in life as if you climbing a mountain. Things your should be able to do it just does not seem possible anymore. Always having the feeling of just not enough energy. Just never in the mood and always be alone. That is not a good feel and neither and neither is it a feeling that you should have to put up with either.

There is nothing wrong with finding better ways to be more active and CPAP is a very good experience for people who deal with these problems. Over 40 million people are affected from sleep disorder. At least 20 million experience sleep problems. CPAP can help you not be one of those 40 million. It can at least give you a chance to have an easier night of sleep. Then you have do the things you always wish to do.

Those things that are harder to do will become less of a struggle and a task and more of an activity which you can enjoy. Your whole routine can get off track. How would you like to get your back?

Husbands listen to your wives! Don’t be stubborn and prideful.

Tiffany J.

Sleep disorders affect on average 40 million people per year . Many people contribute disputed sleep  to a stressful life or aging .Yes those things can play a factor in causing disruption in sleep but often there is more to the story than stress or aging. It is normal on some occasions to have disrupted sleep. If the sleep disruptions last longer than a month seeking medical help would be the best. About half of people with a sleep disorder are unaware that they have a sleep disorder. Living with an undiagnosed sleep disorder not only affects the person with the sleep disorder but also everyone that is around that person.

Howard and Jen have been married for 25 years. The couple has been feuding frequently about Howard seeking medical attention for his prolonged sleep disruptions. Howard’s snoring has been getting more abnormal and he struggles to breath while sleeping. Howard is not the only feeling the effects of sleep disruption, Jen frequently finds herself unable to sleep or sleeping on the couch .Jen constantly nags  her husband to go to the doctor. Like any normal man Howard is stubborn and prideful. He refuses to go to the doctor and continues to deal with the effects of not getting the best nights sleep. Jen decides to record Howard while he sleeps. She shows the recordings to Howard . Howard has no response and still refuses to go to the doctor .One day Jen has a light bulb moment. She has the idea that a public shaming of her husband would be enough to break down Howard’s pride and convince him to go to the doctor. The logic behind Jen’s plan is that a man’s most important thing is keeping a good self-image and being prideful. If there is danger to the man’s self-image and pride, a man will do anything in his power to save his self-image and pride.With the recordings of Howard sleeping Jen makes a comedy video similar to Jeff Foxworthy’s show.She uploads her video to youtube. Within a week the video has been viewed 4 million times. The plan works . Howard becomes furious and demanded the video to be removed. Jen offers  a compromise with Howard: If he goes to the doctor she will remove the video. Howard went to a sleep specialist. Howard was diagnosed with a major sleep disorder. On the bright side the sleep disorder can be resolved with a simple surgery removing HOward’s adenoids  and by using a CPAP Machine . For the sake of his wife Howard complies with the doctors orders. After a month of using the CPAP Machine Howard began to wake feeling rested and he saw an increase in his energy levels. Jen also began to sleep better. Howard realized that he should have listen to his wife years ago. To apologize Howard took Jen on a month long vacation to the Bahamas.

A sleeping disorder is something that needs to be taken very seriously. If you think you might have a sleeping disorder see your doctor immediately. Husbands listen to your wives they know what they are talking about.


Exhausted after a long day of swimming, I threw myself onto the hotel mattress. I had barely crawled under the covers before my eyelids began to droop. I drowsed off, unaware of the light being turned off or my teammate sliding into her side of the bed. Suddenly, I jolted up with a deep gasp, waking my teammate, who asked if I was all right. I replied that I was fine, that the noise I had just made wasn’t too terribly unusual since I have many allergies, and my body wakes me up when I’m not breathing. Since I’m allergic to chlorine, swimming is particularly hard on my lungs and airways, so sometimes my poor, swollen throat forgets that it’s supposed to connect my lungs and mouth, so I stop breathing.

My grandmother feels much the same way as my roommate. While she certainly has never been laid back, she doesn’t sleep at night sometimes, in order to make sure she can still hear my grandfather breathing. The two of them, needless to say, don’t get much rest, which is silly, because there is a very easy solution.

My grandfather suffers from sleep apnea, characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings, most common in overweight middle-aged white . Obviously, it’s dangerous to stop breathing while asleep, but our bodies have a built in drive to jolt us awake so we can consciously restart our breathing. Thus, it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep while awakening to remind our bodies to function the way they should regularly. Even though sometimes we wake up and don’t remember, it still disrupts our sleep cycle and prevents us from getting to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, where the restful feeling of sleep comes from. This causes problems during the day because no one can function at their best unless well rested.

I’m lucky, in a way, that my nighttime gasping for air is due to allergies and not a sleeping disorder. I can tame my allergic reactions (mostly) and thus don’t need treatment other than my daily antihistamines. However, while taking an Introductory Psychology class, I have studied sleep apnea, among other disorders, and I am very thankful not only that I don’t have it. High schoolers like me who are equipped with this knowledge can hopefully help to destigmatize the solution for our grandparents, because there exists a way to alleviate the symptoms.

In comes the CPAP–continuous positive airway pressure. With a mask, a tube, and a motor, the CPAP with rhythmic lulling noises emits enough pressure into the lungs and surrounding airways to keep them from collapsing (the symptom that causes the inability to breathe as well as the accompanying snoring). You’d think that people who suffer from being unable to breathe at night would jump on this chance to alleviate their respiratory woes. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes people, afraid of the stigma of sleeping with a mask hooked up to a machine, refuse to see a doctor and get the necessary treatment, thereby robbing themselves of restful nights, as well as taking the same from their partners, who can’t sleep either due to concern for their loved one or from the incessant snoring.

Again from psychology, Abraham Maslow argued that the goal of any human life is to achieve self-actualization, or essentially to be the best one can be. That is all but impossible while being deprived of sleep due to sleep apnea, or even allergy attacks like me. Thus the CPAP is a tool necessary for some of us to be the best we can be.