It’s been a while since I have written and I think I owe you all an explanation!
Not long after my last heart surgery which was in September 2014, I felt tired. Not tired as in “not getting enough sleep” tired, or not even “come off it man, you’ve had 5 open heart surgeries” tired, but inexplicable tiredness. It was like I had been on some party bender for weeks (I may have been known to do that in my younger days), and that was on days when I had had 8 or more hours sleep. I would literally wake up feeling exhausted.
I had numerous discussions with people on my medical team regarding what was wrong, because this had never happened to me post any of the other surgeries.
Was my heart not functioning properly?
Was the infection that caused the endocarditis still lingering?
Was it my drugs?
Is this just my “new normal”?
As one Dr said, “we don’t get too many people who’ve had 5 open heart surgeries, so this is as new to us as it is to you”.
Because of my endocarditis, I see doctors on a semi-regular basis in the infectious diseases clinic. At one appointment, I was asked how well I slept and I said “most nights just fine.” Nonetheless, he decided to send me off to the sleep clinic.
I had an overnight sleep study at the hospital (see attached pic) and it came to pass that I have sleep apnea. This is all new to me, but my description of sleep apnea is where you stop breathing while you are sleeping. They record the instances where you stop breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time. I averaged 38 times per hour.
That reading of 38 times per hour put me in a “severe” category. And this is the reason why I have been so tired. Because, if you think about it, every time you stop breathing for a period of time, you are depriving your body and all of your organs of oxygen. This can be quite dangerous and for me the higher risk of having a stroke puts the wind up me.
And what a great segue – I now sleep with a machine that literally puts the wind up me! Haha A pipe from a machine that sits beside my bed, forces air in through my nose, forcing my airways to remain open and functioning properly.
So I think I am back! Certainly the machine has given me more energy. I wouldn’t say it’s been life changing insofar as heading off to run a marathon, but I can at least say that I now mostly wake up with some energy – which is a nice experience that I used to take for granted.
I’m grateful for those of you who have stuck around waiting for the next exciting chapter! I’ve often had thoughts of things to write about, but the drive to get up and type just left me for a bit.
I have attached a link with information regarding sleep apnea. I know of some people whose lives have been transformed since they have started using the CPAP machines at night. Have a look – it might be something to chat to your doctor about?
I’ll write some more to you very soon!
With hearty thanks for reading,
That Heart Guy