The Sleep Study Fiasco
Last updated: May 2023
I have already had 1 sleep study experience and that showed that I have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as well as restless legs syndrome (RLS). A sleep study was ordered because I was having issues where my breathing wasn’t always autonomic. My GP thought that it was due to something happening in my sleep.
Turns out it had nothing to do with something happening in my sleep, especially because I was having these issues when I was awake. After that, the GP thought it must be my emotions causing my breathing issue, so I had to fire him.
Thankfully, I was able to get a new GP really fast because he works with a team of doctors. After reassuring her it was not my emotions, she referred me to a cardiologist. This is where the sleep study fiasco begins.
My sleep study experience
The cardiologist wanted me to have another sleep study to monitor my heart and test to see if I have central sleep apnea as well. Due to being in a small town, the request was sent to a hospital in a larger city to have the test done.
This can mean it may take longer for tests to be done. On top of this, it was 2020 and the pandemic was just in the beginning stages of things. For a while, tests like sleep studies were postponed so those hospital staff members could be helping in the emergency. This was understandable and I was still able to get other important heart tests done in the meantime.
Waiting for my sleep study
When things finally got back up and running again 4 or 5 months later, I knew it was still going to be a long time to be seen. After another 6 months, I finally caved and called the hospital to inquire if they knew when I was going to have the test done. Also, I asked if it would be possible to be put on the cancelation list. After all, this test was needed to help figure out why my breathing wasn’t always autonomic.
I was feeling frustrated with how long things were taking because this was a serious issue, not just with this test but with other tests on my heart. I was informed it was going to be 5 more months. They were short-staffed, and the clinic was running on reduced hours still because of the pandemic.
Over 18 months later
Another 6 months later, with it now being 18 months since the request was sent, I called the hospital to inquire about the sleep study. They informed me that my name was taken off the list! I was now being referred to a sleep specialist who also performs sleep studies.
I was shocked and quite annoyed by this; I didn’t know how long it would take to get in to see this sleep specialist. I ended up calling their receptionist to inquire about where I was on their waitlist and if it would be possible to be put on the cancelation list because this was a serious issue and this test was needed.
Next, I was informed that sleep specialist doesn’t do sleep studies! And also, I needed to send the hospital a new request for the sleep study.
Feeling frustrated over the fiasco
I called the cardiologist's office in tears because it was going to at least be another 6 months before the sleep study was done. After some back and forth with the cardiologist's office and the sleep specialist's office, the sleep study was canceled. The cardiologist no longer believes it’s my heart causing my symptoms as all the other tests came back normal.
I’m in the process of trying to figure out what to do next with my GP. Eventually, we may decide to do another sleep study to see if I also have central sleep apnea.
How was your sleep study experience for sleep apnea? How long was your wait? Please share a comment.
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