After my surgery with Dr. Knapp at Swedish Hospital, I decided to do my follow-up sleep studies with Swedish as well. (See my less-than-happy review of Harborview Sleep Clinic.)
Appointments are much easier to get, but like Harborview, they're more likely to be with a PA or NP. The PA I saw was incredibly on top of things and well informed, so I didn't miss that I wasn't seeing an MD. You're also required to fill out quite a comprehensive survey of your sleep habits and problems -- conveniently online.
Sleep study appointments are also easier to schedule. You can also go home with equipment that does a screening for sleep apnea. It's a quick yes/no test, but won't give you any details.
The techs are friendly and efficient, no real difference there from Harborview.
Best part: If you're a late-shifted sleeper that's fine. You can go to sleep when you usually do, and wake up when you usually do. That makes a lot more sense to me than trying to cram in your usual sleep time in the 11pm to 6am window Harborview requires. If you're a 2am to 9 am sleeper, that's 3 hours they never see, and 3 hours you're just wasting in bed.
So if your insurance will cover it -- go with Sleep Medicine Associates!
First problem -- their first available appointment is usually two months out, and with a nurse practitioner. She will simply then schedule a sleep study.
Second problem -- You'll get your sleep study results weeks later.
Third problem -- They'll automatically refer you to a homehealth agency to get set up with a CPAP machine. They homehealth agency will quite literally charge you three to four times more than buying one yourself. This is machinery easier to operate than a microwave, and I need a home visit? No. My insurance wouldn't approve it anyway.
Forth problem -- They'll schedule your follow-up to make sure the CPAP is working again, about two months later.
So from your first call to getting your CPAP titrated, we're talking six months. Ridiculous.
On top of that they have no sleep psychologist on staff, and their sleep surgeon is fresh-out-of-residency and doesn't know what she's doing. I went to see Dr. Knapp who resolved the problem for me with the correct surgery (ethmoid sinuses, not tonsils, not septum). That was after six months of insanity and tons of medical bills with this place.
The only reason I'm giving two stars instead of 1 is because the sleep tech was a really smart guy. Unfortunately he's not authorized to diagnose or recommend anything.
I saw two surgeons before making my decision, and Dr. Knapp was the clear winner. I was told I should consider the other surgeon because she was a "conservative cutter." No, she was inexperienced and trying to do as little as possible.
I had a complicated case. While I didn't have clear-cut repeat sinus infections, I had chronic, low-grade sinusitis, congestion, and puffiness around my eyes and nose. No nose spray ever worked. Then I found out I had sleep apnea on top of it all.
Many times doctors simply remove part of the lower turbinates (structures in your nose that swell up to fight infection, but are sometimes just too big anyway) and straighten the septum so that the CPAP machine used for sleep apnea can work as well as possible. But I needed a lot more help than that. If you can't breathe through your nose while you sleep, you open your mouth, and then you snore and your tongue falls back and then you get apneas. For some people it's not their nose, it's their tongue or jaw or even their body weight (you have to do a lot of lifting when you're inhaling on your back).
For me, it was my ethmoid sinuses (the ones between the eyes) where all the trouble was. The first major improvement was no more swelling/puffiness around my eyes and nose -- and that was noticeable just days leter. Five weeks later I am OFF the CPAP machine. I didn't just have to lower the pressure, I don't need it anymore, period, and I'm more alert in the mornings than I've ever been.
Dr. Knapp is also extremely friendly, personable, and will answer any questions. And Swedish hospital is a great place for surgery.
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