Tales of Finding my Voice part 1
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Over ten years ago my husband told me when I was sleeping I would stop breathing for longer than he could hold his breath. He suggested I talk to my Primary doctor which I did.
He referred me to a sleep doctor.
I made the appointment. First I had to have a sleep study, which took place at a hospital overnight.
WHen I met him for the first time to review my results, I was nervous. He told me I was the worst case of sleep apnea he ha ever seen, that I should be in medical journals I was so bad. He said I stopped breathing over 600 times.
The first machine he prescribed, did not really help. He worked my insurance company to get me a BiPap machine that assists both inhale and exhale.
Because i breathe through my mouth, I had to have a mask instead of just nasal pillows.
We tried several masks, but they kept hurting where they bridged my nose.
Finally I got a wound on my nose, which the sleep doctor seem unconcerned about.
ALso during this time I was losing weight and had actually lost 80 pounds, which he never noticed. He just kept telling me how overweight I was and to stop eating so much and lose weight. I felt ashamed, even though I know I was eating healthy and losing weight.
I finally went to my Primary doctor about the wound on my nose. He told me I could NEVEr wear that particular sleep mask model again. That I needed to find a different type that would not cross over my nose. He said I was losing skin cells on my nose and would probably have a scar (I do). He sent me immediately to the sleep doctor, who said the wound was not that bad.. He had seen worse, he said..
I described the kind of mask I needed. He said they do not make one like that. I asked him to get a computer and showed him the mask (A Mirage Liberty). IN the meantime he gave me nose pillows and told me to use those. I reminded him I cannot breathe through my nose and they would not work. He just kept showing me the door.
I resolved at that moment that I would NEVER see that doctor again.
He did not see me as a person. He did not care about my needs. WHy should I trust my health to him?
It took me months to research and find another sleep doctor, because that one is the only one my Primary doctor recommends. (Even after I shared my experience with him).
I checked with my insurance company. Then I asked others about their experiences.
I found a wonderful sleep doctor. SHe listened to my concerns. SHe explained sleep apnea to me (which the other one never did). OUt first visit she s[pent almost 2 hours with me. WHen I showed signs of depression, she helped me get diagnosed and on medication.
What a difference.
I felt affirmed in my decision to find a new doctor. One who would see me as a person. ONe who would hear my voice.
AN important way to care for myself is to believe I am worth it. To not settle or be intimidated by doctors who do not treat me as valuable. Yes, I am overweight, but ding my best to be healthy.
I was learning to find my voice.
IN the next few days, I will be sharing other situations like this.
We all need to be heard. We are all valuable. We are all more than a number on a scale.
Have a beautiful day.