I am what you would call a sleep nerd. You know the type. I love those nights when the patient has something unusual or the perfect tracing. I just love to watch them, then talk about them with my fellow technicians.
Take the other night. I am working nights and have two patients. One is a very high stress patient who needs a great deal of attention. He kept insisting he had to have the television on or he would leave. The other patient was a very quiet man who was in the lab because he was tired all the time and asked for an early lights out. When I finally got the chance to sit down and look at his study, I found he had perfect Cheyne Stokes respirations. To me this is so cool. Not so much for the patient but as a technician we very rarely get the opportunity to see this and his was almost exactly the same: every episode nine breathes in an increasing then decreasing volume followed by twenty to twenty-five seconds central apnea and then it would start again. His EEG was not easy to read due to alpha intrusion but I am sure that was due to the medications and health issues this particular patient had.
So what do I do while working the next night with one of the new technicians? I show him the study. Of course, he finds it as fascinating as I do. Then he tells me the story about the patient he had that he picked up on central apnea and how he was able to get a good titration using BiPAP. This, of course, leads to the discussion of AutoSV and how we like that for treating central apnea. He also requests that he be there when my patient comes back for his titration study.
What this really comes down to is that I love working in the field of sleep, whether it is day shift or night shift, because I get to learn something new from each of my patients and more than every once in a while I get to make a difference in their life. Of course, this also means my kids and husband know more about sleep than they really want to and that at an average dinner party, I am probably one of the most boring conversationalists there. Oh well, at least they know that they really should get a good night's sleep and if they have a problem they should go talk to their doctor.