By: Kaitlin M
“DAD!! YOUR’E SNORING AGAIN!” I yelled to my father who slept only a couple feet away.
“Mhmm… Sorry.” He replied half asleep.
When I was younger I shared a bedroom with my brother and my father. With my brother wiggling in the bunk above me and my father snoring beside me, I wonder how I ever got any sleep. My brother is deaf so he didn’t hear the snoring, but I bet he could probably feel the vibrations. My father has snored ever since I remember, and even before that. My grandma told me how bad she had it sleeping next to my grandpa who snored loudly, and then hearing my dad in the next room snoring as well. When someone says they snore, I barely flinch because after sleeping in the same room with my dad I’m pretty sure I could sleep next to a running Mack truck. Sometimes his snoring was so bad that he would snore himself awake. That was always the best because then I had a moment of silence. Quiet. Then it would start again. His snoring had a very distinct pattern, and it wasn’t until after he had a sleep apnea test that we realized why that was.
My dad never considered sleep apnea as being the cause of his loud snoring and extreme fatigue. He usually brushed it off that he had a long day and was simply tired. This was very annoying for my brother and I because every time our father sat down, he’d close his eyes and be asleep like that. In the middle of a movie, he would nod off and begin snoring loudly. We used to joke about how quickly he would fall asleep, but we didn’t realize how dangerous it actually was. One event I remember distinctly; my Dad picked me up from Girl Scout camp and he was driving back on our way home. We stopped at a red light and then I remember the light turning green and the cars behind us beeping. I screamed at him, he finally woke up. He didn’t tell me what had happened, but I already knew. This scared the both of us and he finally decided to go see a doctor.
The results we not surprising, but no one actually thought his sleep disorder was so severe. He had an overnight test and was connected to a bunch of machines. Usually they let the patient sleep through the night to monitor their sleep, but the doctors woke my Dad up from the test because his sleep apnea was so severe. They measure number of breathing interruptions per hour and my dad had something like 100 interruptions. Going back to what I said about his pattern of breathing and the beautiful, wonderful silence in between each snore, it actually turned out he wasn’t breathing for almost 60 seconds! Good for me, but not for my dad. Because he stopped breathing so frequently throughout the night, he never entered REM sleep (deepest sleep stage), and this is the reason he was always felt tired even after a full night’s rest. Anyway, the doctors put him on the pap machine that night to see how it worked for him. They obviously told him he needed the CPAP machine
, and he gladly accepted.
My dad began using the machine and almost instantly we could tell that he was feeling better. He could watch a movie without falling asleep, drive a car without fear of nodding off, and most importantly I could enjoy a sweet, peaceful, quiet night without any noise!