Sleepless in Hackensack

Just in case you didn’t know, my son was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea 18 months ago, and has been sleeping with a Avatar full face mask ever since.  Doesn’t look too comfortable, but he sleeps very well with it.

Another FYI, and without ripping up the past, my son had surgery a few months ago.  As the doctor said, lets take out all the bits that might be causing his sleep apnea – might as well since his under the knife.

Now it’s time to see how much impact the surgery had on the sleep apnea.  Hopefully the results comes out in our favor and we can return the CPAP machine

Having been to Hackensack Medical center a few times already, I’m getting less and less amazed by the fantastic hotel … I mean hospital … this place is.

The lobby has art deco, leather furniture, reception desk in mahogany and of course the mandatory Starbucks cafe.  I feel a bit out of place, when walking into this joint with jeans, boots and my Wrangler shirt.  Even security guards wears designer gear, and stares cautiously at me as I approach the brass / mahogany counter.

If you have ever stayed in a top class hotel, on the business VIP floor, then the sleep study area might seem familiar.  There’s no more than 8 rooms and it’s fully serviced by a small team – all dressed in ninja style black nurse outfits.

Upon arrival, we were shown to our quarters, a small 1 bedroom apartment with en-suite bathroom, musac, mini-bar, room service, breakfast included, TV/DVD and of course free WIFI, which is much needed for updating my blogs and surfing the wondrous web + Facebook.

It’s not easy having to spend the night in hospital luxury.

  • Step one of the sleep study is to be interviewed to understand the patient’s behavior, various allergies, medical needs and take breakfast orders 🙂
  • Step two is to get wired up.  It’s a bit like matrix, with 20+ wires clued to the head, monitoring brain activity during the night, and also monitors to check his heart and breathing.
  • Step three is to attempt to put my son to sleep, with all this stuff attached to his head.  And, also without him pulling any wire off before falling asleep.  This might sound easy, but if it was me then I’d rip every bloody wire off within 14 seconds.
  • Step four is to accept that big brother is watching every move in the room with the infrared camera clearly visible in the ceiling.  Thankfully it doesn’t record audio, otherwise the watchers would be laughing their butts off with all the farting that goes on when boys sleep … and dads too.

As a parent, you are given a semi cool 80s style leather pull-out armchair, which acts as a wannabe bed.  Uncomfortable as hell, but I can sleep when I get old.  It’s a little frustrating to see your son lying in a very nice warm and soft bed, snoring away, fighting all kind of weird imaginary creatures in his dreams … all while we both were farting.

Now, this is were it becomes a little weird.

Because this is a sleep study, we are being watched through a “concealed” camera in the ceiling – as mentioned in step four above.  It’s not easy to see where the lens is pointing, through the dark class bobble, but I can only assume it’s focused on the patient.  Either way, I kept my clothes on all night.  I swear I could hear the little engine revving as the operator manipulated the direction of the lens – were they looking at my gorgeous body?

Another thing to consider is that at ANY time throughout the night, the nurses might appear to check or adjust one of the 20+ cables.  Again, another reason I keep my clothes on all night, to avoid embarrassing moments.

They sneak into the room in their ninja outfits, but I can sense them and wake up.  The amount of sleep the parent gets is fairly limited, but thankfully we get free breakfast and coffee in the morning.

Wake-up call in Hotel Hackensack is around 6.15.  It’s not a gentle wake-up notch, but more like US Marine Corp wake-up.  Ceiling lights are flicked on making the room brighter than the sun, while a male voice says “good morning” calmly, but yet with a loud firm voice.

Breakfast is server on hospital plastic trays with metal covers over the plates.  Not Jamie Oliver style breakfast, but more like local 7/11 sandwiches.  Spongy breakfast sandwich and eggs that are a little too yellow.  But, it’s free and served in bed.

We quickly swallow the breakfast and get dressed, only to be discharged shortly after the last pieces of self-glowing eggs is digested. 6.45am.

Sunday morning in the New York suburbs are extremely quiet, and the city that never sleeps does look a bit sleepy in the bright winter sun.  Traffic is non-existing so the trip home takes no time.

As we arrive to our little residence, we quietly walk into the house trying not to wake up the girls.  However, that plan back fires big time, as the two dogs starts to bark and howl as they are happy to see us again.  Well, the girls might as well get up.

The next few weeks we anxiously wait for the results of the sleep study, to see if we can kick the CPAP machine down the stairs and finally have a quiet house in the nights.

Good morning Hackensack, where ever you are!

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