xxiii. We interrupt this program…

21 December 2005 at 13:07 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | 12 Comments
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…to bring you a rant.  A moment of rage, if I may.
Are any of these so-called sleep doctors competent??  A couple of reports the last few days make me really wonder. 
1.  A person who’s struggled for years with DSPS as well as other issues, is a patient at a very well-known medical center.  If anyone should, they ought to know what they are doing.  The clinic sets up an appointment at 10:30 a.m. which, because of a couple hours travel time, entails getting up at 7.  The patient has been fairly stable lately and, not wishing to upset things, asks for a later appointment.  Not possible. 
The patient meets at 10:30 and asks the sleep doctor:  “If a sleep clinic can’t accommodate a sleep disorder, who on earth will be able to?”  Response (loosely):  “Gee, I guess we never thought of that.” 
Duh!” would be the understatement of the year. 
2.  A person who’s struggled with sleep timing (and sleeping pills) for years, finally gets a diagnosis:  Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome.  The usual reaction:  “Hurrah!  It has a name!  It’s not just me!” 
And what “help” is offered?  Just the non-helpful advice:  “Try to move your bedtime a half an hour earlier every two or three days until you’re going to sleep at 11 p.m. or so.” 
The doctor apparently doesn’t know the basics about this disorder.  Part of its definition is that this won’t work!  So, on the authority of a doctor, the patient’s lack of will-power is to blame. 

I’d like to wring these doctors’ necks. 

My own sleep doctor is not perfect.  Knowing what I now know, I think a couple of things should have been done differently in my case.  But he believes what I tell him.  He can usually tell me about other patients with similar experiences.  And he sees patients like me one day a week between twelve noon and eight p.m.  

Do patients nos. 1 and 2 above live in an underdeveloped country?  One can wonder.  They are both in New England…. 


Next post:  xxiv. A sleep diary


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