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Resisting the Rest

Posted on November 6, 2019 in Sleep

“I fought it and fought it for years and years.”

After sinus surgery, James Kaufman thought he would finally get a good night’s rest. So did his wife.

They were both wrong.

“It helped for a while,” Misty Kaufman says, “but then the problems came right back.”

Misty would lie awake at night, nudging her husband, telling him to wake up and breathe. Today, they talk about how The Sleep Disorders Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center restored their rest.

James Kaufman works in the Food Services department of Fort Sanders Regional. Surrounded by coffee containers in the hospital coffee shop, he remembers a time when even a good dose of caffeine couldn’t keep him alert.

James was dozing off everywhere – at work and even at traffic lights – because he was sleep deprived.

“I was tired all the time, groggy, sometimes forgetting what I was doing, just blanking out,” James says.

James underwent a sleep study at the hospital, and it changed everything.

“At the Fort Sanders Regional sleep center, we can determine why you’re sleep deprived – whether it’s a medical condition or sleep hygiene,” says Scott Vogt, a registered technologist in sleep study and sleep center manager.

James learned he had sleep apnea, or interruptions in breathing during sleep. At first he didn’t want to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, although CPAP is often recommended for keeping the breathing airway open. But when the sleep center helped him find the right one, he quickly changed his mind.

“It’s 100 percent better now,” James says. “I used to doze off all the time, but now everything’s bright and clear. I’m attentive. It’s surprising. Honestly, I didn’t think it would work that well, but it does.”

“And he’s a lot less grouchy,” Misty says with a laugh. James laughs too, but takes a more serious tone a moment later.

“I probably was grouchy,” James says, “because I was just so tired all the time.”

James thought wearing a CPAP mask would bother him and keep him awake. In truth, the only thing keeping him awake was his sleep apnea.

“I fought it and fought it for years and years,” James says. “Now I just wish I had done it a lot sooner.”