Written By: Wes Perkins
I finally got an opportunity to have a sleep study done at my local VA. In order to prepare for the study, the nurse attached many electrodes to various parts on the body to record vitals while you sleep. After I fell asleep, the next thing I remember was the light turning on and the nurse waking me and telling me that she had to put me on oxygen for the rest of the test. I simply asked if I was snoring. Her eyes got so wide that I thought they would pop out of their sockets, and she said "Oh yes !" and "Mr. Perkins, you stopped breathing more than SIXTY times within ONE hour....I have to put you on oxygen." This was the first time I had heard anything like it and quite frankly, it scared the hell out of me.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
About an hour later I was asked to come into a room and have a seat at a table, on which there was a little box with a long hose and a mask of some sort. I would soon learn that it was to be my Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. I will be as honest as I can here, and tell you exactly what the doctor told the nurse to tell me. "Mr. Perkins, you have a very serious case of sleep apnea. You stop breathing on an average of 60 times an hour. This machine is designed to help you sleep by keeping your airway open through the use of a constant air flow. If you do not use this equipment, it's very likely that you could stop breathing for so long that you can suffer heart failure in your sleep."
A full Night's Sleep
Changes with CPAp help
Upon speaking to my fellow veterans I learned that many veterans who suffer from PTSD also suffer with sleep apnea in one form or other. Since I have been receiving treatment, four of my fellow veteran friends have had the tests done, and are now being treated themselves.