Tape removal is not fun

So, last night I had to check into Methodist Hospital’s Sleep Disorder Clinic to have what’s called a “Sleep Disorder Test”. They apparently call it that because “seven hours of uncomfortable attempts to sleep normally” is to many words.  I had to have this test because my Doctor thinks I may suffer from sleep apnea, which apparently is the scientific name for the conditon “snores damn loud”.
For those of you that have never had to have one of these tests, let me describe it to you. YOu show up at the clinic, they show you the room you will be sleeping in and you are surprised to find that it looks remarkably like a mid range hotel room. It most emphatically DOES NOT look like a hospital room. The very nice technician then asks you to change into what ever you sleep in, and says he’ll be right back to get you “hooked up”.
“Hooked up” refers to  the placing of approximately 3700 electrodes to your head, chest, face, back, legs, and wherever else the technician feels like placing one.  Or ten. This process does not occur in the sleeping room, but in the “Patient Hook Up Room”. That is a room I never want to enter again. These electrodes are held on with pieces of surgical tape. Remember that, it will become important in just a little bit.
Once all the electrodes, and the tape that holds them in place, are attached the technician then escorts you back to the “sleeping room”. He then instructs you to lay down and sleep as normally as possible. Slight problem here. Normally I do not sleep in a room that has a camera trained on me while I sleep. Normally, I do not have the itching caused by approximately 4700 pieces of tape holding approximately 3700 electrodes in place. Normally when I wake up in the middle of the night I don’t have to call a technician on an intercom to come unplug all the wires from the machine so I can stumble to the bathroom and take care of business.
So, for the next seven hours I attempted to sleep. Eventually I did sleep, but while it normally takes me four, five minutes top to get to sleep at home, last night took about an hour and half. I never did get as deeply as asleep as normal. At this point I should point out that I do, I admit, have sleep problems. Usually I only sleep four or five hours a night, and I normally wake up at least twice, sometimes more.
Once it was over I asked the tech what the test showed. Of course he tried really hard to not say anything, claiming it was up to the Doctor to interpret the results. Eventually he did say that he had never had someone snore quite so loudly. Hell, I could have told them I snore loud. Sometimes I wake myself up snoring.
Eventually it was time for the great “unhooking”, the removal of all the electrodes. The removal of the tape. Remember the tape? I assure you, I’ll never forget the tape. See, while I’m bald on my head, I do have a rather hairy chest. There is apparently no way to remove surgical tape that has been installed over chest hair without removing that same hair. The tech tried, he really did, but …but DAMN that was not fun.

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One Response

  1. They must have used tape on you b/c you’re bald. When I had mine done, they used this weird, waxy substance on me that took FOREVER to wash out of my hair. Then again, I’m allergic to the adhesive in surgical tape, so they had to find alternative methods of attaching everything else. They said my snoring, on a scale of 0-10, was a 9.

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