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Sleep is a welcome luxury for Stephanie

02 September 2013

Health Care

Most mothers of two young children would say that sleep deprivation goes with the territory. But for Stephanie Sapsford it was pure ‘torture’. Even when she did get a night’s sleep, she found it hard to function. The single mother of sons aged six and five, was ‘tearful, tired, ill, run-down and in a complete muddle’.

Stephanie says: "I felt I was going insane. I had muscle tremors and was ratty with my two children it had taken seven years to adopt.

"I hated myself for not being able to cope. I would wake repeatedly in the night in a blinding panic, feeling like I was going to die."

Fortunately, she had heard about sleep apnoea and, because her own snoring would wake her up over and over again, she took herself to her GP.

She was referred to Southend University Hospital's sleep clinic where she collected a sleep test to use overnight.

Stephanie, from Leigh, says: "When I went back to see the consultant he told me I stopped breathing 33 times a minute when I slept so I got no rest at all."

But, since being issued with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, she has slept 'like a restful angel'.

"I wake up like a spring chicken, ready to face the day and what it brings.

"I cannot describe how wonderful that first night with my CPAP machine was. I have never looked back."

Stephanie's specialist sleep nurse, Subi Devasia, is always at the end of a phone if there are any questions or difficulties.

Stephanie said: "It has made such an improvement to the lives of me and my two sons. We are happy again. Before even a smile or a laugh was such hard work. I was hardly able to stand upright and hated myself for not being able to cope.

"I have been treated wonderfully by both my GP and the staff at the hospital's heart and chest clinic. They are amazing - so helpful and ready to listen."

Stephanie was so thrilled with the service and ongoing care she has received at Southend University Hospital, she went along to last week's board of directors' meeting to tell her story.

The hospital has one of the largest specialist sleep clinics in the country with more than 2,500 patients on the books and treats around 30 new patients a month.

Lead respiratory nurse, Lisa Ward, said: "We are the centre of choice. Many patients who used to travel to London for treatment are now seen here.

"Patients are given full training so they use the CPAP equipment correctly from the start and so don't need to keep coming back.

"Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common condition which can significantly reduce quality of life."



With pic: Stephanie Sapsford (centre) with chief nurse and deputy chief executive, Sue Hardy (left) and Lisa Ward, lead respiratory nurse