The Most Interesting Patients
I am finding that certain physicians send certain types of patients. I have a great pulmonologist who tends to see geriatric patients, a family practitioner who sees a great deal of fibromyalgia patients, and a general practitioner who sends patients who have some of the most interesting parasomnias. With such a diverse group of referring physicians you never know what type of patient you will have on any given night.
I think that some of the most interesting and exciting patients are the geriatric pulmonary patients. This particular group is some of the most active, inquisitive and ultimately successful patients we have seen in our lab. It seems age no longer matters when it comes to being active and wanting to feel great in the morning. They come in with interesting questions and have looked around the internet but have a discerning eye for what they think is fluff.
One memorable patient was an 88-year-old gentleman who came in because his new girlfriend said it concerned her that he stopped breathing at night. When he started to research about sleep and he heard that CPAP might help him feel more energetic he was excited to have a test.
He did have moderate apnea and had to come back for a titration study. His excitement the next morning was infectious. He could not wait to get a machine. He thought he had the best sleep he had in years. He called a week after he got his machine to thank us for the great care and told us he would be inviting us to his 100th birthday.
We had a 17-year-old girl with fibromyalgia. When I first heard the diagnosis I was surprised since this is usually a diagnosis we see in an older group of people. But her sleep study did show alpha intrusion and alpha delta sleep throughout the study. She did not complain and she thanked us for the kind care but ultimately there was not much we could do to help her.
By and far though the most interesting patient we had was a cardiac patient who truly showed more arrhythmias during the study than I have ever seen before. Although the cardiologist warned us before the study he had multiple arrhythmias, it was the runs of V-tach that did not set off his defibrillator that landed him in the hospital for over a week while they worked on his heart. Then he was sent back to us for a titration study. His study is an interesting one on so many levels, including how important it is for a sleep tech to know his or her arrhythmias.
There were more interesting patients but these three stood out as three that taught me a great lesson over the year. It really makes me grateful to be in such a dynamic field.