Thursday, mom had to have a minor medical procedure done that involved anesthesia. I was supposed to drive her home after her appointment – I was considered the responsible party. Instead, I proved myself to be the irresponsible party.
For the last several weeks I have not been sleeping well. My restless leg syndrome (RLS) symptoms have been pretty bad. The Wednesday night before mom’s procedure they were the worst yet. I got very little sleep, and we had to leave the house by six in the morning. I was very tired.
Mom drove to the place where the procedure was going to be done – the plan was for me to drive home. As I usually do when I’m not the one driving, I spent most of the ride dozing off. Even after we arrived at our destination, I kept dozing off in the waiting room. I scared the receptionist at one point – because I had my computer in my lap and she thought I would accidentally drop it.
After mom went back, and while they were starting her IV, I walked outside to try wake myself up. I thought it worked. Mom’s procedure went well. When she had woken up enough the nurse brought her outside in a wheelchair, and we started back to Talking Rock.
I was still very tired. I have to admit that it was a little difficult to keep my eyes open, but I thought I was doing a good job. I was extremely wrong. Without realizing it, I fell asleep while driving. Fortunately, even though I swerved into the other lane there were not any cars there, nor were there any ahead of me when I swerved back into the proper lane. I did however scare mom, and she suggested we stop at a nearby Walmart so I could walk around and wake up.
I thought it worked. I realize now, however, I should not have been driving. I had gotten is almost all the way back to my grandma’s house when I began having trouble keeping my eyes open again. We were so close to the house that I chose not to say anything to mom, thinking I wouldn’t have any problems. We were within yards of the house when I fell asleep again – this time almost running us into a ditch.
I woke up to mom yelling “Missy! Missy!” I kept us from going into the ditch, drove up to grandma’s house, and immediately gave mom the keys. I had planned on driving back to Augusta that night, but I decided that it would be better if I didn’t. Even after I took a nap, I still felt as exhausted as I did before.
I think several things contributed to me falling asleep while driving. I have sleep apnea, and I have not used my CPAP machine in quite some time – I need to get a mask for it to. Sleep apnea will cause daytime sleepiness. Obviously, my RLS symptoms played a part in it. Several of my medications cause drowsiness, especially my depression and anxiety medications. Also, my blood sugar was a little high – that always makes me sleepy.
I am going to call the free clinic – where I go for medical care – Monday to get an appointment. When I see the doctor I’m going to try and get a prescription for a new mask for my CPAP, and see if I can get prescription for medication that many people with sleep apnea take – it keeps you awake during the day. For a while, I’m going to do more frequent checks of my blood sugar to determine if it’s running high more than it should.
Until I can pinpoint why it is happening, and figure out a way to stop the extreme sleepiness I feel during the day, I am going to be more selective about when I drive. I am also going to only drive to Talking Rock when I am as awake as I should be.