My name is Brad Gilliam, and I have Obstructive sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with the condition 7 years ago or more.
My wife was concerned with my snoring and gasping at night. She suspected I had more than loud sleeping. She was right. I had a sleep study with a sleep specialist. The medical doctor confirmed I had severe sleep apnea. I was stopping breathing in my sleep. The doctor explained it kept me from truly sleeping at night. I’d go to bed, but never dream, and always woke up tired. I was forgetful. I’d misplace things and forget what I was about to do. I would fall asleep at church and while visiting family and friends. Sleep apnea was disrupting my life and I didn’t even realize it at the time.
The doctor told me how at night, when we get true sleep, our heart gets to rest. With sleep apnea, the heart doesn’t get its rest. Now, instead of just being a snorer, the doctor was telling me I was at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The sleep doctor prescribed a C-Pap machine for me. It delivered pressurized air through a tube and I had to wear a special mask. It was uncomfortable and noisy. My wife switched bedrooms. At night, I was taking the mask off while I slept. I was not getting successful treatment.
My wife sent me to a dentist and he prescribed a mouth piece. It was a kind I had to boil and bite into. I used it for a while, but it wasn’t really working either. About a year later we moved to Muskegon. I went back to my doctor and we scheduled me for surgery. It helped; my sleep apnea was very severe. After surgery I had a moderate case. I had another sleep study. To my dismay, I was still stopping breathing at night.
I tried another dentist and another type of dental appliance. That one hurt my jaw. I went to a Muskegon sleep doctor; he got me set up with a different type of machine a Bi-Pap. I tried different masks, different sets of tubes, different ways to tie the stuff to my face. I still would get to sleep and yank it all off. I had given up. I was ready to turn in my Class A CDL* to the state and just have a regular license. I was always tired and still forgetful and falling asleep at inappropriate times.
Then, my wife heard about Dr. Donley in N. Muskegon. He treats sleep apnea in his practice. I scheduled and saw him and sent all my past sleep apnea records to his office. He has made me the best dental appliance ever. Because my sleep apnea is so severe, I have my appliance connected to my Bi-Pap machine. I don’t have any straps tied around my head any more. I don’t take it off while I’m asleep.
I have logged enough nightly hours of true sleep now that I am compliant with my CDL. I get to keep my class A CDL. I am so happy. I feel rested, and can remember things better. My wife is pleased because I stay awake during the day and have the energy to help out with the kids and house. Dr. Donley has changed my life.
I recommend anyone with snoring problems to see him. He can help them get their life back.
*CDL = Commercial Drivers License