My day took me as far southeast as Greensburg and as far northwest as Lebanon. I started the day with a home visit and ended the day with a sleep study in the patient’s home.
I figure I’ve hooked up more than 200 sleep studies over the course of the past four years. That’s a lot of sleep studies, a lot of home visits, a lot of second hand cigarette smoke, and a lot of travel.
I don’t mind it too much, really. It gives me a chance to meet people where they live and I nearly always get to watch TV while we hook the patient to the equipment. And it’s rarely the same viewing from house to house.
I’ve seen everything from Ice Road Truckers to slasher films. I’ve been challenged by Jeopardy and nauseated by MTV. I’ve watched late-breaking news and Entertainment Tonight.
Once in a while, the TV watching is interrupted by a family pet or child. Several times I’ve had to concentrate on my work while the patient’s dog (s) bark at full volume at my ankles during the entire procedure. Other times, I have to shoo cats away from my equipment. Children pull wires, ask questions and hover. I’ve had to feed one child because he wanted more Gold Fish and hot dogs but mom was mid-hook-up. I’ve been sniffed by dozens of dogs and only bitten by one cat.
Sometimes we don’t get to watch TV because they don’t have TV’s…Or furniture for that matter. In fact, there was one patient who had nothing more than a single light bulb and an over-stuffed chair in their home and we completed the study by the equivalent of candlelight.
What makes it worse is if the study didn’t work the first time (wires come loose, equipment is removed by the patient, or some other disruption occurs). Then I have to go back and do it all over again another night. For instance, tonight’s study is a repeat because the patient removed the blood oxygen monitor from their finger, making it impossible to know if their apnea resulted in desaturations.
My work is a challenge and difficult to put into words on a resume. It’s something I never thought I would be doing 15 years ago. And it is certainly something I hope I won’t be doing 15 years from now!