Tuesday, July 14, 2009

sleepy sial

i'm gonna take a break from writing stuff about current issues - doing the two posts below has done nothing but remind me that i am neither knowledgeable nor eloquent enough to comment about weightier things - and instead whine about my problem with excessive daytime sleepiness.

ok fine, excessive daytime sleepiness is actually a diagnosis and i don't fit the criteria. i don't find myself getting sleepy during situations where wakefulness is essential, like driving for instance. however, i become ridiculously sleepy during lectures, seminars, and particularly boring clinic sessions...even when i'm standing.

oh funny story. once, we had a clinical skills session with an obstetrician. she was teaching us about palpation of the pregnant uterus and was going on and on about the anatomical landmarks and how they'd feel on examination. there i was, less than 3 feet away from her, struggling to stay awake as she talked about the pubic rami and whatnot...and i nearly fell over because i was so sleepy. of course, she chided me in front of the 20 other people there and sent me out of the room to walk around a bit and wash my pathetic face. embarrassment galore.

it doesn't matter how many cups of coffee i down in the morning or before lectures. i can't help but get sleepy and doze off whenever i am not actively involved in something.

oh no. i just realised how disastrous this would be if i find myself assisting in a long surgery. like holding up a guy's leg or only suctioning every 10mins or so. oh. mai. goodnessgraciousme.


anyway, after joking about sleep apnoea (no, i don't have sleep apnoea) and the "nasal polyps" i have in my nose, i decided to clear up some things considering i am currently in an otolaryngology rotation and have access to specialist consult.

so my lecturer examined me and declared that my nasal septum is deviated to the right and i have engorged turbinates (not polyps) suggestive of allergic rhinitis, which have resulted in obstruction to airflow especially in my right nostril. he prescribed me daily antihistamines.

and that was that.

somehow i don't find that particularly satisfying. i mean, yes i have some kinda airway obstruction which would explain the inspiratory stretor and allergic rhinitis which would explain the post-nasal drip and constant irritation of the pharynx, but it's not severe enough to cause apnoea. my quality of sleep is mostly good - save for those pre-exam jitters and post-horror movie nightmares - and i wake up feeling rested most of the time.

so why on earth do i get so sleepy during the day?! aargh!!!

a friend has suggested anaemia. i am not a carrier of thalassaemia and although i have received some comments about how pale i look sometimes, my haemoglobin levels are just below the lower limit at worst. surely that couldn't account for that irritating urge to sleep during lectures?


i think i'm just doomed to a life of somnolence. gah.

p/s: apparently my eustachian tubes are kinda blocked due to my allergic rhinitis, causing a negative pressure in my middle ear. therefore, the structures of my tympanic membrane are easily visualised, making me a pretty darn good practice subject for otoscopy. lol. plus i have a distorted cone of light. gasp.

lishun at 8:26 PM