Sleep Well My Friend - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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Sleep Well My Friend

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Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 9:45 am | Updated: 9:52 am, Fri Mar 8, 2019.

   On Valentine’s Day, I was scheduled for a sleep study at one of Baptist’s centers in Kendall.  My Pulmonologist wanted the study for two reasons; first, I have been on a CPAP machine since 2013 and it is slowly dying a slow death and second because I have lost a lot of weight and may not need it.  A good thing if it happens.  A CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep, increasing air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in.

   Anyway…the day before, the center called me to pre-register me and that is when they told me that the insurance company informed them that my copay was going to be $2,500!  “Well cancel that test!” as I explained that there was no way I could do that.  I also cancelled the follow-up appointment with the Pulmonologist as well and decided it would all have to wait until I turned 65. 

   In talking in the office, my boss’ wife listened and checked out the insurance plan.  Now I totally admit that I do not read or understand thee hieroglyphics that they call the insurance plan, but she reads it, digests it and totally understands it all.  I’m happy she does because she told me that there is no way that the sleep study should cost that much so now I’m mad and get on the phone with the insurance company. 

   On the call, I spoke to a very nice lady who researched and said that she was sorry but whomever spoke to the center at AvMed gave the wrong information.  The test is a diagnostic outpatient and should be a hundred dollars or so.  I explained because of their mistake, I cancelled the study as well as the follow up appointment with my doctor.  The representative called the center and rescheduled me for the study this past week. 

   On arrival at the center guess what?  “Oh, your copay is very high.  $1,705.”  I explained to the young technician that there is no way and call someone as I had already gone through this ad cancelled one appointment for the study.  Well late at night who are you going to get so the supervisor told her to charge me the $125 I had been told and they would figure it out later.  Let’s see how this turns out. Don’t you love insurance companies? 

   After that excitement, the technician took me to my room where I got changed into my jammies.  The room had a private bath, a large bed, tv, night stand and was similar to a hotel room rather than a sleep study lab.  Frankly, it was nice...very nice.   She then said that she had to get another patient wired up, so she was gone a good hour and I was able to work on my iPad as well as some puzzles, so I would tire. 

   The technician came in and I sat in a chair as she put the electrodes in my head, my face, neck, chest and legs.  Two rubber belts went around my chest and two nasal sensors of some sort went in my nose.  All wired up and ready to go, so as my brother would say, I put on my footie pajamas, climbed in my cribby, pulled up the sides and I went to bed.   

   Later in the night, the technician came in and put the CPAP on me and I knew I failed the test again.  Of course, she also had to unhook some wires and hang them around my neck so I could potty.  Another time she had to come in because the electrode on my leg came off.  One more time as I was “mouth breathing” so we tried a chin strap.  Oh, I wish I had a picture of what I must have looked like!  All the time, she is watching me on a night camera from her office and listening. 

   I felt like I never went to sleep.  I had hoped that with my weight loss, this would go away but no problem, I am a very faithful CPAP user.  I know I sleep much better with it on.  Now I must go back to the pulmonologist, get the results and have him order a new CPAP.  Mr. Wonderful says the old one sounds like he’s at the ocean and the waves come and go. 

   I left the center around 6:30 a.m., headed home, showered to get the gunk out of my hair, ate breakfast and made it to work.  I know people who refuse to have this test done but I figure if I sleep better, it is all worth it and the machine and nose pillow mask is not intrusive at all. 

   Sleeping well at night?  Having a sleep study is annoying but I guess it is for a good reason.  Sweet dreams here I come! 

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