I am probably the least likely person to have sleep apnea, but I do. Weight is not the issue. I’m a thin guy. If you look at my posterior pharynx with a video laryngoscope, however, you will find that my uvula rests flat against the pharyngeal wall. And that’s when I’m upright. If I’m supine and sleeping, bad things happen.
My sleep apnea is mild, and for the most part I could compensate by sleeping more. My symptoms worsened this year, so I decided to do something about it.
After having a repeat sleep study, I made a trip to the ENT. His solution was to hack out (he didn’t really say HACK) my soft palate and tonsils (UPPP). Initially I thought I might proceed, but after doing some research and thinking about 2 weeks of the worst sore throat of my life, I reconsidered. I also like having a uvula. It’s sort of like a belly button. No purpose, but nice to have.
I did some asking around about other alternatives to CPAP. (If I can avoid it, I really don’t want CPAP.) I keep thinking of Darth Vader. “Luke, I am your father.”
I learned about a program at the University of Michigan where one can be evaluated for alternative treatments. U of M is only 50 minutes from where I live, so I figured there was no harm in talking to them.
Now, this is the part of the story that pains me. I went to Ohio State for college and for residency, so I can call myself a bona fide Buckeye. The rivalry between OSU and U of M is so strong that former OSU football coach Woody Hayes would not allow the bus driver to stop to get fuel until they crossed the state line back into Ohio. Directions to Ann Arbor are commonly given as: “north until you smell it, west until you step in it.” And scheduling a wedding on the weekend of the OSU vs. Michigan game is considered to be in very poor taste. You’d be lucky to get the groom to show up. In spite of my allegiance to OSU, I must say that my experience at U of M was first-class.