August 1, 2006

Why medical science fucking sucks.

I have 'Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.' In layman's terms, this means that at night, my airway collapses and I stop breathing for ten seconds or more an average of 85 times per hour. That was as measured by two sleep studies in hospitals, in which they wired me up with all manner of sensors and fixed visible/lowlight cams on me and watched me sleep - so I'm reasonably sure it's not hypochondria. I have had a surgical procedure called a UPPP, or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, along with a tonsillectomy. Neither of them has fixed the problem.

That I have the problem doesn't piss me off. What does is the following. This problem first became really noticeable to me immediately after college. At the time, I was working out religiously, and weighed roughly 240 lbs. - I was in better shape than I'd ever been, and in better shape than I have been since. This period of high athleticism lasted two and a half years, until my return to grad school - but it was already on the wane by then, hampered by my increasing difficulty in getting restful sleep.

As of now, I'm pretty overweight. What really bothers me, though, is that no medical professional I can find seems able to actually accept the fact that my problem began before I became so. Their answers all are, initially, something along the lines of "Oh, you just need to lose around a hundred pounds." Well, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. For two reasons. First of all, they all say this, despite the fact that there's no way I could lose a hundred pounds safely. As I said, when I was working out three or four times a week, and in good enough shape to run a half-mile without really losing my breath, I weighed 240. I weigh 320 now. So really, 80 lbs. is my 'grail' maximum.

The problem is, though, that they have these fucking 'body mass index' charts that some thumbsitter in the guv'mint gives that that says that I, as a 5'11" male, 'should' weight around '185 lbs.' Before they look at me, even after they see me, that number is sitting in their head, and my weight is nothing more than a delta from that 'ideal' - no matter what my physiognomy. Never mind that whoever they studied for that ideal weight had nothing like my body shape.

Anyway. So here's the second fuck you. See, one of the symptoms of sleep apnea is - wait for it - weight gain. Yes indeed. And one of the 'risks of weight gain?' Sleep apnea! Whoohoo. Those AMA charts are doing us a fuckload of good, aren't they? So what's always their advice? "Um, lose weight."

That'd be nice. It'd be nice if I could, say, perform more than five minutes of physical exercise without becoming exhausted - and I don't mean the nausea-related exhaustion of being out of shape and out of blood sugar, but the I need to sleep NOW exhaustion that reminds me that I haven't really had a good night's sleep in, oh, maybe three or so years, which was when I had the surgery. That, mind you, is with using the damn CPAP religiously - because if I don't, I wake up with cold sweats and aching joints that tell me I've gone lethally hypoxic, and the pounding in my temples that tells me my blood pressure probably hit two hundred plus systolic while I fought for air.

A more general and final fuck you is reserved for this otherwise good summary of my condition. Why? Because it uses my favorite fucking phrase ever, which every doc I've ever been to about this has slipped into using at one point or another. Really, I love it. The "noncompliant patient."

Get it?

I'm the problem.

It's my fault. Their fucking literature tells them so.

And people wonder why heavy weapons fascinate me.

Posted by jbz at August 1, 2006 3:32 PM | TrackBack

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