My Kingdom for a Good Night’s Sleep

Still, I am not Inspired to Inspire™. Rivet!

A Good Night's Sleep

My struggles with sleep apnea continue. I got a CPAP machine in the Fall but cannot get acclimated to it. I just came back from an appointment to consider getting the Inspire™ implant (more on that in a moment) and all I can say is: I’m not inspired. So, I’m still exhausted and cranky. My kingdom for a good night’s sleep!

Now let me tell you about the consult on this Inspire™ thingy. The only thing it “inspired” was this blog!

According to the makers of the device, it is “the only FDA-approved obstructive sleep apnea treatment that works inside your body to treat the root cause of sleep apnea with just the click of a button. No mask. No hose. Just sleep.”

It sounds perfect. Sign me up, right?

A Good Night’s Sleep

Well, not so fast. Obviously, anything that goes inside your body must get there. Now, I’m not stupid. (A little slow maybe, but …) Anyway, I knew that meant a surgical procedure. What I didn’t know was it meant two — maybe three — incisions, each “about” three inches long. One of them across your throat right under your chin.

“It’s day surgery,” chirped the ENT doctor. “Patients usually get to go home the same day. The ‘procedure’ takes about three hours and involves separating the nerves in your throat and ‘finding’ the one that activates the tongue. The device itself then sends a ‘mild’ electric shock to the tongue, which darts out, opening the airway.”

Putting aside the horror of getting one’s throat slit, willingly self-administering electric shocks to yourself all night long, and having your tongue jutting out all night like a frog … Well, really, who can put those things aside?


To lighten the mood — my mood — I asked the doctor if there were any known cases of patients catching flies a la frogs with all that froggy-like tongue action. She apparently wasn’t the joking kind of ENT because she replied, “Uh, I don’t believe so. No, none that I know of.”

OK. Good to know.

I asked how successful this fright-show of a surgical “procedure” and device is and she refused to offer any statistics. “They don’t matter.”


I persisted and she too persisted in her refusal, saying the only thing that matters is if it works for me.

So, I queried, “What happens if it doesn’t work?”

She said the device could stay in or it can be removed — i.e. cut out.

Are YOU Feeling Inspired?

And the actual surgery isn’t the only trip to the operating room Inspire™ requires. You first go to the OR for sedation and a scope down the nose into the throat to determine if your palate is “suitable” for the device in the first place! And if lucky you (or me) qualify and get the miracle electric shock-tongue jutting sleep-apnea-salvation device, there’s a three-month adjustment period.

“After all, the tongue is a muscle,” the doctor explained. “It gets tired and needs training before it can be shocked and work all night long.”

I thought of making a joke about how bad I am at exercising all my other muscles but decided to skip another attempt at humor.

One More Question

Still, I really could not contain myself much longer and did, in all seriousness, ask the doctor one last question before I left, and that was about how much experience she’s had doing “the procedure.” It seemed a fair question since it was my throat, we were talking about slicing open. “One or two” that week and “one or two” the week before,” she replied. I was going to point out I wasn’t asking about her weekly workload but her overall experience with the Inspire™ device, but I gave up. I had lost all my inspiration for the device and the doctor. Yes, I am desperate for a good night’s sleep, but not that desperate!

Some Say Procedure. I say Surgery

Also, why do doctors refer to surgery as “the procedure?” If you’re going to put me in a hospital gown, put my hair in an ugly shower cap, ask if I have an advance medical directive, wheel me into an operating room, sedate me for three hours, cut my throat open to install an electric shock device and make another incision on my chest to install a battery-pack remote control, let’s call it what it is: SURGERY.

Even before I left the ENT’s office parking lot, I was on the phone with my sleep apnea respiratory therapist, asking for an appointment to try on some different CPAP sleep masks. She observed we hadn’t spoken in a couple of months. “Let me guess,” she said, “you just had an appointment to discuss the Inspire™ device. I always get a lot of return clients after that. See you next week.”

All I could croak in a sad reply was “Rivet.”

9 replies
  1. Judy
    Judy says:

    OMG. I’m rolling on the floor laughing. Karen, please find a different doctor. This sounds exactly like the time I went to my female urologist who suggested an implant for my frequent peeing throughout the day! I couldn’t contain myself and immediately said no thank you. I hope you get some sleep. Judy

    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      I’m glad you got a good laugh, although when you wrote you “couldn’t contain yourself at the urologist’s office” … you do know where my mind went, don’t you?

      And yes, I promise I’m NOT going back to that doctor.

  2. Ellen Van Winkle
    Ellen Van Winkle says:

    Mmm sounds rather risky to me….especially when you started telling us about involving the cranial nerves….just sayin’ as I’m a retired speech path!

    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      Thank you for the feedback. It was definitely not something I wanted to pursue – even in my most exhausted state!

  3. DZ
    DZ says:

    OMG! I have sleep apnea too & hate CPAPs. I was thinking of looking into this “procedure” but I think I’ll pass for now. Oy vey.

    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      While my impression of the procedure was indeed horrible, I urge you to check with your own doctor. My experience was, I’m sure, largely colored by the horrible doctor I consulted with. You might, after a consultation of your own, form an entirely different opinion. Don’t give up yet. Here’s hoping we both find a solution to our sleep woes!


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