My roommate in college

By: John T

My roommate in college, who I’ve been friends with for five years now, has sleep apnea. It happens just after he drifts into a peaceful slumber and I’m left listening to the horrors to come. It starts with a small but noticeable grunting noise. After a few minutes it can progressively turn into a rasping breath as his lungs inhale and exhale air. I cannot take such a sound for it scares me and I don’t know if he realizes what he is doing. At that point I wake him up and ask if he is alright, which he responds with “Yeah I’m fine man” and back to sleep he goes. Unfortunately for me, this alarming sound will return again.

This is my personal story of what happens too often in our room. Sleep disorders have begun to arise with me. I have never experienced such an unfortunate dilemma in my life, but I took action to stop this. I started burying my head under blankets or my pillow at night to act as a sound barrier, but this didn’t help. I then turned to earplugs. To my surprise, the earplugs worked relatively well. I was getting decent sleep again and hardly woke up from my grunting roommate. However, as the weeks went on, I discovered how selfish I was being.

Instead of dealing with the problem at the source, I solved the side effects of my roommates sleep apnea. Of course solving these side effects only benefited me and I felt responsible in a way to inform my friend of his problem. This rasping noise, of which I mentioned before, got louder and even to the point where my earplugs couldn’t block out the noise anymore. It was at that moment I realized what I had to do.
The very next day after a night which seemed to go on forever, I informed my friend of his sleep apnea. At first he didn’t quite understand what I meant and after explaining it to him, he began to. I talked about the sounds he was making and how it affected my sleep cycle and he genuinely looked sad. I could see it on his face that he felt awful, and that for the past few months he had been disrupting my sleep. I went on to explain how concerned I was, because at certain times it sounded like he wasn’t breathing but choking. Along with this friend to friend talk, I gave him a package of nasal strips to try out. I didn’t know if they would work, but I was desperate to try anything at that point. He thanked me for them and put the nasal strips on at night.

It seemed to work at first, but yet again the sound came back. I was distraught and disappointed. I couldn’t believe that nothing could help him and I went to the internet to find out what other people were doing. The CPAP machine
came up again and again. It was some sort of machine that helps increase air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse when breathing. Maybe this can help my friend and it’s exactly what I plan to give him next.

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