Healthy Obsessions The Adventures of a Mild Obsessive Compulsive

Things to Do with a Zeo & Why FAA OSA Rules Suck

Another interesting thing to do with a Zeo: make your partner wear it.

Particularly if your partner, like mine, complains about being tired all the time and thinks you’re the cause because you always want to go to bed late.

Turns out, his sleep when I’m next to him is actually better than when I’m not. Also turns out that me waking up regularly throughout the night doesn’t actually register with him. Instead, we have learned that his sleep is very disturbed and he gets a very tiny amount of deep sleep.

Hopefully this is something easily dealt with. Hopefully it’s not his sleep apnea coming back. He had a surgery before I met him that supposedly dealt with it. Certainly made him feel better. It was not the UPPP nor the MMA, but I can’t recall the name of the procedure at the moment. It did involve restructuring his soft palate and removing the uvula, but it also involved other steps I’m not recalling.

He’s reluctant to go back to the sleep doc, though. If he does, and he’s diagnosed with sleep apnea, he loses his piloting license. There are tests that he can undergo to get a medical exception, but those are exceptions. And expensive.  And, while he isn’t a professional pilot, flying is one of the few things he does just for the joy of it. Losing that outlet would be bad.

I gotta say, I’m really not thrilled with the rules surrounding piloting. This one is supposed to make sure pilots are well rested and not sleep depped, but it’s more likely  to prevent pilots from getting treatment for sleep apnea. From getting tested at all. Who wants to risk losing their livelihood?

Likewise, a pilot will lose his license for at least a year if he’s diagnosed with depression. To prevent depressed people from flying planes. Because, you know. Suicide risk. But, instead of preventing depressed people from flying planes, what it really does is prevent depressed people who fly planes from getting treatment. Which is actually a lot worse. Who would you rather have piloting your plane? Someone on Zoloft or someone sunk in a major depression? Someone who uses a CPAP at night, or someone who’s massively sleep deprived?

These rules, I do not think they mean what the FAA thinks they mean.

3 Thoughts on “Things to Do with a Zeo & Why FAA OSA Rules Suck

  1. Watch out – you’re starting to sound like a libertarian.

    • Hmm. I’d have said I was just sounding practical. And somewhat cynical.

      • Well, definitely the Cynical. The problem with government rules (and I say this as an FAA employee) is that they tacitly assume truthful and rational behavior on the part of the regulated entity. Also, most of the original versions were written in the 50s and just updated since then, and not having the basic assumptions questioned.

        Also, there’s a HUGE risk-aversion culture prominent in anything having to do with flying. In some ways it’s counterproductive, since, as you say, it keeps people from coming forward with problems since such a huge deal is made of them. You would not believe the number of safety-related hoops we have to jump through to do ANYTHING in the field.

        Do you read Patrick Smith’s column on Salon? If not, you ought. He makes a lot of good points about the regulatory system in the FAA, particularly the parts dealing with crew rest.

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