Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not quite a sleeping beauty

Three things I have learnt in the past 24 hours:

1. Sleep apnea is not just for 'overweight truck drivers'*

2. It is not possible to have a good night's sleep on a fold-out bed.

3. The only place open in town, any town, at 6.30am is likely to have Golden Arches out the front.

*direct quote from accredited sleep specialist

Mr6 has been for a sleep test. It has been decided that he, the world's skinniest six year old, has very mild sleep apnea. He snores like a truck driver, but this is the only thing he has in common with that profession, despite a recent visit to a truck show. He also grinds his teeth, throws himself about, talks, moans, dreams wildly - and occasionally forgets to breathe. His is the mild version, though, so it's only very occasionally. Much better.

Apparently, the problem is with the size of his tonsils and adenoids (large), in comparison with that of his airways (small). This is hereditary, though being overweight does exacerbate the problem, which is why, according to our sleep specialist, people think it is a disease of larger, sedentary people. It's certainly not something I ever associated with the under-seven brigade.

The specialist thinks he will grow into his tonsils. I suspect that, if this is true, he will end up about 200 cm tall and built like a ... Mack Truck. Which is okay by me (although feeding him may be a problem), though looks highly unlikely at this stage.

The interesting thing about sleep tests is that they put you in a tiny little room, wire you up with about 87 long leads, including five or six stuck to your head with dissolvable glue, stick prongs up your nose and then say 'okay, go to sleep now'. Of course.

Suffice to say, Mr6 had the worst night sleep he has had in, well, ages. And so did his Mum. Oh, yes I did. (You only put guests on a fold-out bed if you really don't want them to stay.) All the way through to 5.30am, when we were evicted (they need to clean the room for the day surgery people) into an unknown town where we had to amuse ourselves for five hours before our next appointment. It is moments like this that McDonald's really comes into its own.

I am writing this post at 3.55pm. This is unlike me. Usually I knock them out at 10.25pm. But I think I'll be asleep by about 4pm today, so I'm getting in early. I go to bed knowing that Mr6 is fine, which is a huge relief. I also go to bed knowing there is a Pillow Top mattress awaiting me. Also a huge relief.

I'll be back, bright-eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow.

{image: moviegoods.com}

(A word about spelling. My instinct was to go with 'apnoea', but research into various Australian sleep associations revealed that they tend to go with the simpler 'apnea' spelling, so I've followed suit.)


  1. Goodness, that must have been a bit of a scary diagnosis! not to mention it must have been a bit scary seeing him all wired up like that. Hope you get a good night's sleep...and I'm glad your son will too :-) xxxCate

  2. Glad its over. I hate hospital tests. I get so nervous during the procedure, then waiting for the results. Lucky the RCH has a McDonald's that Anya & I can go to right after her numerous yearly tests.

  3. Joni's thought was mine exactly, I bet you are so pleased to have it all over with. Have a wonderful night's sleep on your pillow top. I hope mr 6 sleeps well too.

  4. Oh Al, you poor things. That is so scary, for you all.

    I hope he (and you) coped OK?

    What is the next step forward?


  5. Goodness - I bet you're glad that's over. When will you know the results? Glad they think it's mild.

    Sleep is so fascinating to me - how much we need, what happens when we don't get any, night terrors and the bane of my life...snoring.

    I remember one of my friends making a time lapse photography film of her boyfriend asleep. He was staggered to see how much he actually moved around - at one point, he had his feet up where hid head should be. Whereas another friend could go to sleep with a cup of coffee next to her and not spill a drop.

  6. I'm typing very quietly - read this when you wake up :-)

  7. Not liking the diagnosis or the night on the fold out bed, on your behalf. Sleep tight tonight:) Jen

  8. Wishing you sweet, silent, fluffy dreams! (And Mr6, too.)

  9. Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Mr6 has always been a sweaty, snoring baby, so this is nothing new - it just has a name now. I choose to think positively, that he will grow out of it in the next few years. If not, he'll be up for an operation to remove adenoids/tonsils. Things could be much worse.

    See how much better things look after a good night's sleep. :-)

  10. Poor guy! I have been told the same thing, that my son would "grow into his tonsils" - that they looked large. But, he hasn't had any consequences from it like your poor little one has.

  11. Glad to hear the problem got sorted out early in his life.

    (((( Hugs ))))

  12. Hi - that must have been very scary. You could try taking him off all dairy foods for a bit to see if that helps his tonsils reduce in size. My son has dairy intolerance and I always know when he's snuck an icecream because his tonsils get huge and he gets a sore throat. Maybe try it for a week or two?

  13. So familiar - my husband's niece had sleep apnoea due to massive tonsils and adenoids. She had them both out at 6, was fine after a couple of days, and the improvement has been quite dramatic. Before then she was still having a day sleep at 5, because she always had such a restless night.

  14. Oh, Allison, I really feel for you. I did that with Joshua when he was only 10 months old. It was one of the worst nights of my life and I didn't sleep a wink. Three operations later (adenoids scraped 3x, grommets inserted and replaced 3x and tonsils removed), he no longer snores or gets ear infections.

    We used the ENT surgeon Dr Andrew Wignall in Eastwood in northern Sydney who was brilliant, if you want a second opinion. J x

  15. So he actually managed to go to sleep?? I am impressed.

    We knocked back a sleep test for our girls. I am fairly sure they have mild sleep apnea (they are also skinny and snore like nothing else etc etc) but I think the anxiety caused by even attempting a sleep test would make it not worth the effort.

    And you just made me feel 100% right about the decision on mention of the fold out bed!

  16. Hi there, Congratulations on the great blog.
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  17. I am interested to hear about this because as you know we are in the same boat here with Doo Dah. Back to ENT next week to follow-up after the nasal spray has been useless. Was thinking I would like him to have this test. Maybe not???

  18. My brother just had to do this test with my niece and it wasn't a good night for anyone involved at all. You have my sympathy. At least they know now what the issue is. I sincerely hope you get a GREAT sleep tonight x

  19. Thanks for the heads up we are booked in for March and this is after an adenoidectomy. Sleep well.

  20. Your 6yo boy sounds like mine...skinny, snores, wild dreams.
    You've set my mind at ease a little, because I'm one of those bad mothers who nevers takes her children to the doctor...unless it looks like they could die.

    PS I'm glad you cleared that 'apnoea' 'apnea' spelling up...looks weird with the 'o' though huh? :)

  21. Oh and just reading the comments...my boy is a sweaty sleeper too! His pillow is often soaking wet under his head!!

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