Sleep study or sleep steady?

Here is an excerpt from the diary of a paediatric patient.
Last Updated : 04 July 2024, 13:12 IST

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As a doctor, I have several interesting anecdotes to share. This is an excerpt from the diary of my paediatric patient.

I am Puttu, a ninth grade student from a nondescript hamlet. I had the fortune of accompanying my Akka to a doctor in Bengaluru for treatment of her ‘spells’. 

The doctor examined my Akka and pronounced she had “Oh Essay." I was taken aback. I had travelled to Bengaluru with my father in the guise of helping with the luggage, but mainly to escape essays, grammar, vocabulary, and so forth at school. So the "Oh Essay" was here to haunt me again. This medical world is queer, I smirked.

It was decided that Akka would be subjected to a “sleep study,” because she had "OSA” (obstructive sleep apnea).

I pondered over various permutations and combinations of sleep along with study. During her NEET preparation, Akka would sleep and study, then again study and sleep, and the cycle went on until the whole colony was roused by Ajji’s melodious Venkateshwara Suprabhatam right at dawn. 

What sleep abnormality could this beloved sister of mine have? I wondered. After entering the hallowed portals of the medical college, her “sleep study” had gone out of bounds so much that it overflowed into my dreams, and I got familiar with all the first year acronyms.

During PG NEET, her preoccupation with subjects was at its peak. Her cot was brimming with piles of books, which resembled miniature forms of the leaning towers of Pisa. Like visa stamping, any person who entered her room would be accidentally adorned with myriad, tiny, sticky notes carrying the essence of Harrison.

During her PG course, shuttling between various shift duties, on rare days when she was housebound, the very touch of the billet spiralled her into a trance. The thrashes and gashes that were conferred on me were a testament to her goal-directed behaviour, even in this torpor. She would snort and snore, and the street dog outside would mistake it for a roar. The bark, the snark, and the whole place were transformed into an amusement park.

I could write a thesis or at least an observational, longitudinal, single-centre, cross-over sleep study of my sister, I contemplated. Now it was high time someone studied this poor brother’s sleep, I rued.

Meanwhile, my sister found Appa, a recent stroke patient, also an ideal candidate for sleep study. Not unlike a family vacation, I dreamt of a “family sleep study," encompassing everyone, Amma, Thamma, et al. This quaint little clinic with its mellifluous music, the aesthetic, the paintings, and the iridescent lighting made for a perfect family sleep study with idyllic photoshoots, I weighed up.

It was Appa’s turn to have a spell now, while poring over the various genres of sleep studies and their daunting price tags. He shrieked and decreed, “Pack up! No sleep study; let’s sleep steady.“ 

Published 04 July 2024, 13:12 IST

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