Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Hi, everyone, and chag sameach (happy holiday) to my Jewish readers.

I know, I'm way past due for an update. Here's what's been going on:

1) I cannot sleep. First of all, I'm about one thousand percent sure that I have sleep apnea, and that I've had for the last, oh, three gazillion years. Which means that I have not had a decent night's rest for a long time. Months ago I went to my doctor about it, and I went to a sleep specialist about it, and I got a referral to spend a night at a sleep clinic. But the thing is, in Israel you can't just take your referral and make an appointment at the sleep clinic. You first have to take your referral (hafnaya) to your insurance provider (kupah) and have them give you a hitchayvut - a statement that yes, they will pay for this.

I took my hafnaya to my kupah, telling them that my sleep specialist wants me to go to the clinic at Shaarei Tzedek, which is where he works - and which is known as an excellent clinic. Unfortunately it's also more expensive. So Meuchedet, my kupah, told me that I have to go to their clinic. I got a huge runaround, and I tried being Israeli and insisting and nudging them until they got sick of me and gave in -- especially since the sleep specialist said that ALL his patients go to Shaarei Tzedek, and Meuchedet DOES cover it -- to no avail. I became disheartened and dropped it for a while. Meanwhile the sleep doctor said "fine, just go where they send you, the important thing is to go." But now I don't know if his referral is still valid, since so much time has past.

So, I'm working on that.

2) Meanwhile, I have a terrible cough, which has been keeping me up at night and wearing me out during the day. I've discovered that a combination of cough suppressent w/codeine at night, and Acamol (paracetamol) during the day, helps me rest when appropriate and work when appropriate. So I'll just keep doing that, and drinking hot tea, until this goes away.

3) I've decided to change to a new primary care physician. I've been going to the same person for all the five years I've lived in Israel, and until recently I thought she was OK. But back when I first told her that I suspect that I have sleep apnea, she said "Sleep apnea isn't important. You don't have to be concerned about it." I said "My understanding is that sleep apnea can be very dangerous." And she said "no, it's not important." I said "But . . . I'm tired all the time. That can't be good." And she said "If you are concerned about it, go to a sleep specialist."

Well, that didn't sit well with me. And when I mentioned it to other health professionals, they all said "Are you kidding? Sleep apnea is terrible. It causes depression, it causes metabolic problems . . . maybe you misunderstood her?"

So I went back a few days ago and told her how I'd understood what she said. She apologized for making me feel that my concerns were being dismissed. But she reiterated that sleep apnea "has no negative health effects."

So now I'm wondering what other concerns I've gone to her about in the last five years, that she dismissed as unimportant, that may have been important. It's really a bummer.

4) First day of Sukkot was nice. I went to Beth and Simcha's house, as usual. But this time I couldn't actually sleep in their house, because another family from their yishuv had just had a baby that day, at home, and the whole family was also staying with Beth and Simcha so that they wouldn't have to worry about food or anything and could just hang out and sleep. Which is all great, and mazal tov, and I didn't mind at all sleeping in the guest room of another family across the street . . . except that their neighbors have roosters. You see where this is going . . . .

So, basically, I'm OK but quite tired!

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