Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jett's sleep study

Today's blog post is brought to you by guest reporter, "Jett's Mommy."
Take it away Andi!

The Sleep Study: The Nightmare

During REM sleep, our brains take our daily information from short term memory and store it in our long term memory. But, because of chemical imbalances, people with DS have much less REM than a typical person, which contributes to impaired memory. If you can't build upon what you learned that day, you have to start all over again the next day. It's very difficult to get from A to Z when you don't remember A.

Jett gets Gingko, which has been proven to help restore REM in mice with DS. So, I needed a sleep study to see how Jett's REM compares to that of a untreated person with DS and a typical person.

Does he need more ginkgo overall? Does he need an extra dose in the middle of the night? (Gingko has a half life of 7 hours, while the biloba part, most importantly, has a half life of only 3 hours.) Do I need to teach him to swallow a time-release capsule ASAP? Is it having any effect at all?

Additionally, Jett's growth is not up to par and since growth occurs in our deep sleep, I am also curious to see just how much of all the other stages of sleep he is getting. Perhaps his lack of growth is because of too little deep sleep, or perhaps another chemical imbalance is causing the growth hormone improper production, release or utilization. Either way, I have to rule out each thing until I can find the cause. I need an exact problem before I can find a solution.

And now for the sleep study...  We showed up at 8pm with a suitcase full of options and distractions. The very-patient-lab-tech, Brian was very patient. He had a lot of patience. That must be the number one quality in a children's sleep study technician.... Patience and perseverance....

When Brian walked in, I was cleaning out Jett's nose. Jett held up his little nostrils so I could more easily put in the nose drops, etc.

Brain was impressed with his cooperation. "I applaud the fact that you're cleaning his nose, but later on, when he's crying, it'll all come out anyway and you really won't be able to keep him totally clear."

"Oh," I said, "but Jett doesn't cry. Unless he's in dire pain, or something." Brain nodded his head, hopeful, but not he least bit convinced as I assured him of Jett's angelic nature.

Next, I had to distract Jett while Brian taped, wrapped, braided and glued 25 wires--that's twenty five--wires to Jett's wiggly, bobbing head, face, neck, back, waist and foot. This procedure took 45 minutes
Brain was quite impressed with Jett. He said that he's done this to a thousand children and Jett was definitely one of the easiest. (He also remarked on his amazing cognition and motor skills.)

That turned out to be the easy part.

So once the bed was all prepared (allergy-free sheets, etc.), Brain said, "Okay, now I have to put on the last wires. (HUH?) This one in particular is the most annoying, but one of the most important. It touches his nose and hangs over his lip. (HUH?) It monitors the respiration and lip movement, etc. So before breastfeeding, you'll have to lift it up, very carefully, like this... (HUH? In the dark??) I've put extra strong tape on it to make it'll stay put. You can lay in the bed with him until he's asleep but then you need to leave him and only come back when he wakes up--not moves or moans, but wakes up."

After an hour and 15 minutes of rocking, singing and back patting, Jett finally falls asleep. I slip out of his bed, eat a sandwich, check my email and settle into the twin bed nearby. I was excited of the prospect of sleeping without him for one night. I lay on the pillow and sighed deeply. Then Jett wakes up--rolls over-- head up looking around, touching the bed clothes searching for me. It took about 20 minutes to get him back down. Back out of his bed, 20 minutes later he's back up... This time screaming and crying all wrapped up in the wires... I couldn't see anything so I had to turn the light up a little bit to get the wires untangled. He's crying and crying and crying and crying and crying. I don't know how long it took me to get him asleep... An hour? He fell asleep on me and I got him off on his own again. I was ready to call the whole thing off. He woke two more times shortly after. Screaming crying. It was that stupid nose wire driving him crazy! He telepathically insisted that I take it off. So I did--Brian wasn't kidding about the strength of the tape! After three rips, I got it off. Jett screamed bloody murder! But he finally settled down, rolled on his stomach and I got back into my bed.

Jett woke again at 5:30 am. Brian came in and said that he got enough data and we could leave. Yea!!!!! He said that it actually went very well and many kids never do fall asleep and have piercing blood curdling cries. He said Jett did great.

Even though I ripped off the tape and wires surrounding his nose and mouth, Brian said he still got a good reading because when Jett turned over onto his stomach, the mouth and nose sensors were in the correct position!

That traumatic night lowered Jett's immune system enough that Jett now has his first cold in his life. I sure hope the data we get was worth it!

UPDATE: Jett does not in fact have a cold. He's TEETHING! He was up all last night and well, so were we.

1 comment:

Ali said...

Aren't those sleep studies something? Yikes! I think Jack was 18 mos. when he had one.
Hey about the teething... this product seems to help Jack (better than other homeopathics).
Your sweet Jett is so adorable!!! And I'm enjoying the blog. You're a super artist Kenny. Blessings to you all. Ali :)