18038250 tn?1462591719

Extreme insomnia

I have been having problems with sleep for the last six years. It started when I started a new job as a scrub tech on the cardiovascular and thoracic team in the OR. This required nightly call and weekend call, Friday night through Monday morning. I took a lot of extra call because I'm single, didn't have family, it paid great, and I loved doing it. Unfortunately this messed with my sleep schedule because I was up most nights getting called in or stayed late at work. My schedule was 630-1500, call started after 1500. My first PCP prescribed me ambien.
I would only take it when I wasn't on call for obvious reasons. I was getting depressed and decided to see a prescribing therapist and she eventually diagnosed me with depression and manic bipolar. I was put on multiple drugs and I have tried countless medications to help with my sleep and to calm my brain to help me sleep. I have tired literally everything and the only things that work for me are alprazolam 5mg and seroquel 800mg. When that Dr left, I had to find a new one and that dr didn't like prescribing alprazolam so he started all over and went through all the medications that I've already tried and told him they don't work (trazadone, ambien, sonata, klonopin, Valium, tramadol, lunesta, temazepam, and the list goes on and on) he eventually gave up and said I needed to see a sleep dr. Before I made the appt to see the sleep dr, I stopped seeing the dr that gave up, I weaned myself off all medications to see if I could reset my body and see if I can fall asleep on my own. Well six months later and I'm still wide awake tossing and turning never falling asleep.
On average I get about 4 hrs of sleep every night. I finally went to the sleep dr and he recommended a sleep study. I did it and when the results came in he told me I have moderate to severe sleep apnea and told me I needed a cpap machine. At this moment right now I cannot afford one even with insurance. I tried to tell the sleep dr that I can't fall asleep. I need help with that. But once I fall asleep, I stay asleep. He didn't seem like he believed me and walked out the dr. I almost started crying in the office because it seems like no one is listening to me and I don't know what to do. I think these Drs think I am pill seeking which is not the case. I work a high stress job and need to be alert, it's getting harder and harder when I'm tired during surgery. I have tried every OTC drug possible and the only thing that comes close to helping me is Benadryl and I am taking 6-8 A NIGHT which is extremely dangerous but I don't know what else to do because I've stayed up 24+ hours before crashing and that is not safe to be around patients like that. I need advice and help. I'm trying to find one more Dr. in my town to see if he will help before I will have to find a different Dr. out of town.
I am so frustrated at this point, it doesn't seem like they are listening, Do they think I'm pill seeking?
Please! I'm tired and need sleep.
Thank you.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
5265383 tn?1483808356
Don't underestimate the value of a CPAP machine.  Moderate to severe sleep apnea will contribute to some serious health issues -- just because you stay asleep or don't snore, doesn't mean you are getting good quality sleep.  

The first thing to be affected will be your cognition -- your job requires you to be alert. Also cardiac, metabolic , neuro and neuro psych ramifications stem from untreated apnea.

Additionally, you should not be taking any kind of sedative sleep med with untreated apnea.  It's dangerous.

I spoke to someone when I was getting assessed who felt she was fine, slept 8 hours a night, no insomnia -- once her severe apnea had been addressed she felt like superwoman.  It had happened so gradually she had normalized her tired state.

I got to the point where I could not fall asleep -- I have mixed sleep apnea and I think my body's refusal to sleep was some sort of mechanism to save my brain from further oxygen deprivation.

Once the apnea is treated, sleep retraining can safely address the behavioural aspect of a sleep disorder.

Food for thought :).

Respectfully I ask you to revisit the idea of CPAP therapy.  Many of your issues might resolve.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry but have to agree with aspen on this one. I work in sleep medicine. There are very serious cardiac issues that stem directly from untreated sleep apnea along with a bcket list of other equally swipes health issues. People that have apnea often experience insomnia. It's the mind/body's reaction to the trauma it experiences in sleep by not getting the oxygen it needs. It's subconsciously keeping itself awake. Once asleep, you'll drop like s log and have no conscious idea of your body's struggle. You'll wonder why you slept and still feel terrible. Apnea is not something to take lightly. Also, CPAP is not the only option; however, if you are severe, it should be your first course of treatment. If you cannot tolerate it, you could try the oral appliance. I work in sleep medicine and have seen wonderful success for all levels of apnea with both treatments. Please, find a way to get treatment. There is always a way. Your health is important. Additionally, as aspen said. Sedatives and sleep aids should not be taken, as they often make apnea worse. Best of luck!
PS. Sorry about the typos. It's late, and I, too, should be sleeping!
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