Dear Attila

by CynthiaYockey on November 2, 2009

Dear Attila,

I am delighted to learn that you have discussed a sleep study with a doctor — I hope, one who is a sleep specialist, since the study of sleep medicine is brand-new and even young general practitioners mostly only know enough about sleep medicine to be dangerous, that is, dismissive of real problems, especially for women. FYI, about your belief that you wake up enough to become conscious when you’re really in trouble: during a sleep study they take an EEG to monitor the stages of sleep — the EEG shows spikes when the brain sends a signal to wake up enough to open the airway, if you have obstructive sleep apnea. You almost never wake up enough to become conscious after an apnea, and there can be hundreds of these episodes a night, so don’t be lulled into a sense of false security if you do wake up gasping from time-to-time.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, recent research shows that the episodes of hypoxia do cause brain damage, especially to the center for organizational abilities. Also, as a writer, you might find the dysphasia particularly annoying. I don’t think insurance covers any therapy for it, the way they do for people who have had strokes. I assure you that recovery is very challenging.

If you are sleeping through loud alarm clocks, you are sleep-deprived. Something is wrong.

Regarding bread machines, I use the Breadman TR-875 and like it very much. I ordered it from It comes with recipes.

About your heirloom tomato question: you can grow any heirloom tomato in a container as long as it is big enough — at least 15 gallons. Do be sure it has good drainage and use potting soil — Miracle-Gro’s is good and affordable. Commercial self-watering containers are pricey, but excellent. Also, at least six hours of direct sun most days is a must. Cage or stake the vines. My favorite heirloom cherry tomatoes are Wild Cherry, aka Matt’s Wild Cherry, and Galina’s Yellow Cherry, although you certainly will want to consider Camp Joy, too. My absolute favorite tomato is Brandywine, Sudduth’s strain. I also like Berkeley Tie Dye and Orange Russian 117 — if you are going to go to the trouble, grow something that is delicious AND will WOW people visually. If you want lots of fried green tomatoes, get an indeterminate hybrid for their prolific production since their tomatoes will be delicious cooked and it won’t matter that if you let them ripen they would taste like baseballs. Among hybrids, Jet Star and Lemon Boy are considered respectable by heirloom tomato growers.



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Ad rem November 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm


Again, I write to encourage people who have these sleep issues to avoid taking Tylenol or Advil PM. My husband used to take these all the time, and like you note above, could sleep through the sound of an alarm clock three feet from his face. Since he stopped the above meds, he’s sleeping more soundly and the snoring is way down.

Peter November 3, 2009 at 6:53 am

Ms McCann should certainly grow some of the Camp Joy tomatoes. Just because.

Dr. sipmac November 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Dear Cynthia and Ms. Attila,

I do suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Up to this day people think that snoring all night is a somewhat funny but annoying thing. It is a dangerous condition and the long term consequences go beyond sleeping through an alarm clock without awakening, as it happens to me. Memory loss, heart attacks and sudden death; I’ve been told these are some of the long term consequences.

I am following the prescribed treatments as close as possible. Besides that, I gave up coffee, soda, sugar and cigarettes for good and try to excersise regularly. Just beacause I’ve been spending my days been sleepy, not feeling rested and not being able to stand on my feet for too long.

I could’t tell about taking Tylenol or Advil PM or not, but I’m on medication just to make my sleep easier.

I’m just trying to share my experiences about this painful condition, first on a personal basis, and now in a more political one, hope it brings some insight:

I’ve been prescribed by my doctor a CPAP device, it is supposed to help me receiving oxygen when I’m not breathing because of the apnea. Where I live, medical care is rationed. The more expensive the treatment, the more difficult is to get what you need to improve your condition. An appointment with a doctor could take easily two months, and so on. Since March I’m expecting to receive the CPAP, and I’m not closer now that I was then. Next stage is to sue my medical insurance company, and the creuelest joke in this is that my national goverment refunds everything that the company is spending in me!

That is why I’m following the Obamacare debate very closely. My personal opinion is that is going to work for Americans the same way is working for me. I was trying to blog about this, but never found the way.
.-= Dr. sipmac´s last blog ..Gaffe racista contra Montoya/Racist tirade against Montoya =-.

Cynthia Yockey November 4, 2009 at 1:35 am

Dr. sipmac,

FYI, CPAP respirators and masks are sold online. You just need to fax a written copy of your prescription to the equipment provider. Try or or

I don’t know if there are restrictions about sending the equipment internationally.


Dr. sipmac November 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Ms Yockey, thank you very much for your suggestion. God bless you. BTW, your blog rocks!
.-= Dr. sipmac´s last blog ..Gaffe racista contra Montoya/Racist tirade against Montoya =-.

Cynthia Yockey November 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Dr. sipmac,

Thank you!


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