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El Camino Hospital and Me

Joann's Story: Sleep Apnea

For years, Joann had been told by friends when they traveled together that she snored and moved around a lot at night, suggesting she might not be getting a good night' s sleep. But Joann never sought help for her condition until the Sleep Disorders Program at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos opened.

As a longtime employee at the hospital, Joann was excited to be the program' s very first patient. Joann, an RN, says she suspected she had a sleep disorder since she often felt really tired during the day, even though she thought she had gotten enough sleep.

"I went through many years of denying I had any sleep issues, but when I heard the hospital was opening a sleep center, I felt it was time to find out for sure," says Joann.

Once Joann was admitted to the hospital, a sleep technician met her and walked her through the forms and questionnaires that are part of the evaluation process. Then the team attached "leads" (wires) to Joann, so that they could monitor her brain and other body functions, explaining in detail each step.

"The room itself was very comfortable and conducive to sleep," Joann says. "It felt like a safe environment to come to terms with my sleep problems."

After the study, Joann met with Harish Murthy, MD, who told her she had a mild form of sleep apnea. He gave her several options that could help correct the problem, including changing her sleeping position, consulting with an ENT (ear, nose, throat specialist) to see if nasal surgery is needed, or wearing a dental appliance at night. Because her sleep apnea is mild, Joann was told she did not need a sleep mask.

"I feel good that I' m finally doing something about it," says Joann. "It' s a very positive feeling, especially since I realize that my sleep apnea could have negative effects on other aspects of my health."

Joann hopes that sharing her experience may encourage others to have a sleep study performed, especially since these studies are covered by most major insurance plans. 

Thank you, Joann, for sharing your story!