Last year, our kids started behaving differently. They were very emotional and were having daily break downs. One minute, they would be completely exhausted, and the next, they would be bouncing off the walls. My husband and I were pretty concerned, and to make it worse, they didn’t seem to be growing. We knew something was going on, but we weren’t quite sure what it was.
At first, we thought they were just tired. It seemed like an easy enough explanation. Our kids are early risers and have been ever since they were little. Every morning, they wake between 6:00 am and 6:45 am. It doesn’t matter if they’ve stayed up until midnight waiting for Santa to come – they still get up at the same time. Due to their early bird ways, they’ve always had an earlier bedtime than their peers to make sure that they got enough sleep, but we thought that perhaps they needed more. So we dialed back their bedtime by an hour, but that didn’t seem to help. If anything, things got worse because then they spent that hour calling us in for water, bed checks, kisses…for pretty anything and everything until they grew sleepy and finally fell asleep.
Around the same time, we also decided to eat an earlier dinner. Since the kids were breaking down after school, we thought that maybe they were just hungry and exhausted from a full day of school. Our logic was that if we had dinner on the table between 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm every night, we could help them by filling their bellies with nutrients earlier versus later. This way, they could take their time to eat, then tub, then read books, and still get into bed on time. The earlier dinnertime did improve their overall appetites, but it did nothing to fix the daily break downs.
When those two major schedule changes didn’t seem to fix the problem, we made an appointment with their primary care physician and told her what was going on. After feeling truly horrible for telling her about how bad things had gotten at home, I remember letting go a long sigh and saying, “I just don’t get it. They melt down every day after school. It’s like they’re little again and need a nap or something.”
She looked at up at me and asked, “Do they snore?”
After I told her that they did and sweated like a race horses too, she went on to ask, “Does anyone in the family have sleep apnea?”
My husband and I looked at each other, and laughed nervously. “Yes…their paternal Grandmother, both of their maternal Grandparents, and their Maternal Uncle all have sleep apnea.”
She jotted some notes down in her chart. “I think we need to do a sleep study. This sounds like they’re not getting enough REM sleep and could have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”
Wait? What? Obstructive Sleep Apnea? In my kids? Wait, isn’t that for adults?
Unfortunately, the #EasyPeezy test wasn’t available yet, so our children needed to undergo a sleep study. For some children, it may not be a big deal, but for our kids, they were really freaked out. Plus, they were already tired, emotional and confused – and didn’t understand why they had to go sleep overnight in a hospital.
Although they were upset, we had to go. Luckily for us, we have a great pediatric sleep study center near our home and the center booked their sleep studies on the same night, so we could all go together. They even had us take a tour and show the kids the adjoining rooms that we’d be sleeping in to try to ease their concerns. But even the staff was terrific, the kids weren’t happy about the test – especially when the wires started to get attached.
Now keep in mind, the wires don’t hurt them at all. This is more of a visual thing. Any child who sees themselves covered in wires and electrodes is going to freak out a bit. They look scary. And when they had to place the sensor under my daughter’s nose, she got really, really upset.
This is where the #EasyPeezy #PeeInACup test could have really come in handy.
As it turns out, the sleep study revealed that both of our children had moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea. After discussing the results with our primary care physician, sleep apnea specialist and ENT, and weighed all of our options carefully, we decided to go ahead with scheduling a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for both of our children.
It’s been about 8 months now and we have seen great changes in their overall mental and physical well being. Both children have grown, their appetites have come back, and their sleep habits have improved drastically. That doesn’t mean that everything is 100% fixed, it just means that we’ve seen major improvements since their surgeries.
So we’re working with NuSomnea co-founder, Mike Thomas, to raise awareness about the growing epidemic of pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea and help make the Easy Peezy Test a reality. A preliminary study shows that this test has a 96.5% accuracy rate in diagnosing OSA in children. However, $100,000 is needed to finish development and validation of the Easy Peezy Test. To help support their Indiegogo campaign and keep our kids healthy, please visit http://igg.me/at/easypeezy.
Learn more about the aptly named #EasyPeezy test by visiting the links below: