an image of a young woman sleeping in bed with an eye mask

If there is one thing my family loves to do, it’s sleep. We’re a family of resters, so if anything gets in between us and our precious downtime, we want answers.

Members of my family, me included, have suffered from a few nighttime ailments: snoring, insomnia, waking up frequently. When I heard that Texas ENT had the sleep monitoring app WatchPat, I thought it would be interesting and educational if my dad tried it out.

My father is a reformed snorer. I remember hearing him through the walls. I don’t know how my step-mother suffered through it. Thankfully, when Dad lost some weight, the snoring stopped. On the other hand, my dad does wake up frequently throughout the night, so we thought, let’s see what WatchPat has to say about it.

Receiving WatchPat equipment is easy and efficient. My dad recalls, “When I went in and had my first appointment with Dr. Johnson, they gave it to me at that time.” It’s also easy to use, and the simple instructions are right on the box.

Next, you download the WatchPat app. It asks, “Do you want to do a walkthrough, or do you want to start this for real?” Those are my dad’s words. He admits, “I decided to do the walkthrough first, and I’m glad I did. Nothing was confusing about the instructions, but they were not explicit. I could have done it without, but the walkthrough on the app clarified everything.”

When it’s time to retire, there’s a little setup required. My father walked me through the motions: “You put a little thing on your chest, you put a watch-like apparatus on your wrist, and there’s a thing that goes on your finger – on your non-dominant hand, as I recall. When I first put it (the finger apparatus) on, it was very uncomfortable. I thought it was too tight, so I moved it to another finger, and it was too loose, so I went to another finger, and that seemed to fit the best.”

Sleeping with accessories is not easy. My dad admits, “It felt like I had a pin sticking to the end of my finger. It slowed me down from going to sleep, but I got to sleep eventually. I got up in the middle of the night, which I have a habit of doing anyway, and still felt the prick, but I was able to get back to sleep.”

Before you fall asleep, you hit start, and that’s that. In the morning, my dad woke up and hit finish on the app, and it said, “Data is being sent to your doctor.” After that, all of the materials can be recycled according to local recycling laws, of course.

A couple of days later, my dad got a message saying that his doctor had received the results. A week later, he went in for a follow-up. “I really thought Dr. Johnson was going to say, ‘You’re just fine,’ but he didn’t,” my dad giggles. “He said I have severe sleep apnea. You could have pushed me over with a feather!”

Sleep apnea can lead to other issues like high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes – to name a few. “I’m so thankful that you suggested I take the test. I would have never done it on my own.”

Dr. Johnson suggested that my father starts with a CPAP machine. After a month, they will reassess and look for other options because my dad “doesn’t want to sleep next to a machine every night.”

If you or someone you know has any sleeping issues, no matter how small, call your Texas ENT doctor and try the disposable one-night WatchPat sleep test. You never know what it may uncover. My dad thought we were testing out the product, but in the end, WatchPat informed us that he had an underlying issue, and now we can address it to keep him happy and healthy. 

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