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Sleep destroyed by laryngospasm - it owns me

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Well, here I am up at 1:42 in the morning. I was dead tired, and I went to bed at 11. But now I can't sleep because every time I am about to drift off, my larynx closes up and chokes off my air supply. I have resigned myself to being miserable tomorrow.


I had neck surgery a while back, and a few months later I started having this problem. I went to the ER 6 times and each time they told me "you're fine". Jump cut to today. My laryngospasm appears to be associated with among other things chronic heartburn, which I have. It's not particularly painful, but evidently it's just enough to make the nerves in or near my larynx go all funky on me. I used to take stomach meds like Nexium which only controlled it somewhat, but often it was at least enough to get my larynx to behave at night, sometimes with the aid of other meds. But this doctor in a hospital in a major city far from the burg I live in, where all the doctors (even the good ones) seem to be totally clueless as to what to do for me. One ER doctor gave me a scrip for Spiriva. That's a powerful med for COPD, not to be casually messed with. The stinking lamer ER doctor, a man who should be flipping burgers not twaddling a stethoscope, saw me for a few minutes and he gives me a med for COPD. I checked with a real doctor the following day who said no, you don't need that stuff. So I'm in a major city several hours from where I live. And I had to stop all the stomach meds a week and a half ago. So my laryngospasm is out of control like it used to be. So I'm resigning myself to an involuntary all-nighter.


Why does the doctor have to do tests? Why doesn't he believe me when I say I have heartburn and sleep-related laryngospasm? Why do I have to suffer like this just to do some completely redundant tests? And what can he do for me anyway? I'm probably going to be unable to sleep for 72 hours. I have an appointment on Thursday with another doc. How am I going to drive to the hospital? I'm staying with a friend who lives an hour away, and I can't expect him to drive me for the next two days. Cabs are out of the question. I don't think there's bus service either. And in any event, I can't leave my car at his place indefinitely.


I had plans for the weekend but it looks like they might be shot because I'm doing a 48 hour study and I can't use any stomach meds till Friday. That probably means no sleep until then. I'm scared. I'm angry.

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Unfortunately, post-surgical laryngospasm caused by acid reflux is classic. You're already doing the standard thing of antacids, so if that isn't controlling it, then it is going to need some serious investigation to determine how bad the reflux is and what might be causing it. I can understand your frustration, especially if it's preventing you from getting almost any sleep at all, but a study to look at both the spasm and the reflux in more detail is probably the only way forward at this point. I don't think it's because they don't believe you (or at least I hope not), I think it's to simply to gather more information about the specific mechanism involved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's really "classic", i.e. typical? My surgeon never told me this might be a possibility. Last time I saw him he acted clueless. He told me that as far as he could see everything was fine. (Is he really clueless, or is he just faking cluelessness in order to avoid legal action?)

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