Facility manager Mr Wee See Boon sleeps soundly now, but that is only because he persevered with treatment for his decade-long sleep problems.
When the now 50-year-old was 40, he found that even though he slept through the night, he did not feel refreshed the next day.
“I would always feel sleepy,” he recalls.
His constant sleepiness resulted in him nodding off during meetings and he felt below par on most days.
Mr Wee did nothing about his tiredness because he was not sure what he could do. His sleep was becoming more and more disturbed throughout the night. He was also snoring loudly, affecting his family.
Two years ago, he chanced upon a newspaper article about sleep apnoea and a procedure that involved inserting three sticks inside his mouth (the pillar system). He went through the operation elsewhere without going through any tests.
“The first week after the sticks were inserted, I felt very good. After that, though, I started to feel sleepy again,” he says.
Mr Wee then decided to seek treatment from the sleep specialists at Changi General Hospital.
He remembers that Dr Hsu Pon Poh, Director of CGH Integrated Sleep Service and Senior Consultant Otolaryngologist, told him that there were no quick fixes when it came to solving his problem.
Mr Wee was put through a sleep test and this showed that his obstructive sleep apnoea was very severe. He was having up to 80 episodes each night, so it was no surprise that this was taking a toll on his day-to-day life.
On top of this, his pillar implants had migrated. Dr Hsu removed the implants and set about addressing the obstruction in his airway that was causing his obstructive sleep apnoea.
Over the next few months, Mr Wee had three operations: one to remove the pillar system and the other two to reconstruct his upper airway.
“I had another sleep test after the last operation and the results were very good,” says Mr Wee.
Now, he is a changed man. He has no problems staying alert at work and feels far more active in his fifties than he did when he was in his forties.
As a result of getting a good night’s sleep and making the most of each day, he has lost three kilos with exercise since his operations last year.
“I don’t snore anymore, I get to sleep easily, and I don’t wake up through the night. I feel great,” he says.