May 8, 2015

I Recorded Myself Sleeping Because I Thought I Had Sleep Apnea, But The Footage Revealed Something Far More Sinister

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Flickr / allnightavenue
Flickr / allnightavenue

Unfortunately, sleep apnea runs in my family. I remember family vacations where I considered cashing in all of my allowance money so I could get my own hotel room and not have to listen to the epic snoring battle that was taking place between my parents in the queen bed next to me.

I had made it 29 years in life without ever being accused of snoring by any former roommates, boyfriends, or family. However, a few months of regularly waking up feeling like I was out of breath with my heart racing along, and having consulted a healthy dose of websites discussing sleep apnea finally convinced me that the family curse had descended upon me. I went to a doctor with visions of scaring away every potential future mate by wearing a sleep apnea mask that made me look like some kind of H.R. Giger nightmare.

I wasn’t diagnosed with sleep apnea yet, though. My HMO-financed physician who had an office above a dry cleaner in a part of town that had never even heard of the word “gentrification” told me the best and cheapest way to figure out if I had sleep apnea or not would be to record myself sleeping each night for a few weeks and he could review the tapes and decide.