In life there are certain people you meet or events that happen that change your perspective on the world. For me, Dr. Helmut Schmidt was one of those individuals and his diagnosis of my narcolepsy was one of those events.
I was only 10 years old when I first met him. Before that I had been to more doctors than I could count. Each one would indifferently determine that there was nothing wrong with me. I remember the anger and confusion I felt as they repeatedly told my mother that my abnormal sleeping patterns were due to laziness. When I was younger I would constantly fall asleep in class no matter how hard I tried to stay awake. Teachers were always embarrassing me by waking me up and sending me outside the room. In the fourth grade I was not allowed to go out for recess all year as punishment for falling asleep in class. Some teachers just assumed I was lazy, like the numerous physicians I had seen, and others assumed I was on drugs or blamed my parents for not being involved enough in my life.
Finally being diagnosed with narcolepsy was like a domino effect for my family. My mother, grandfather and little sister all ended up being diagnosed with it as well. My mother always knew it was hard for her to stay awake but until then she had no idea why.
Looking back, I'm lucky that I got diagnosed at such a young age. It provided me with ample time to figure out how to live with my disorder. This was not an easy task by any means. I had to learn how to juggle narcolepsy, puberty, and the side effects of the medicine I was taking along with the other stress a kid has going on in his life.
Dr. Schmidt and the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute were instrumental in the development of my life. Being correctly diagnosed and treated helped me to learn how to live with a sleeping disorder. Everyone at the clinic has always been kind and courteous. Their knowledge and understanding of sleep disorders is exceptional. The Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute was one of the first sleep clinics in Columbus. Over the years they have helped my family and I adapt to our unfortunate ailment. I received my undergraduate degree in finance in 2004 and I'm working on my Masters of Accounting. I don't believe that these accomplishments would have been possible without the help and guidance of Dr. Schmidt and the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute. I would truly like to thank them all. If they helped me, I'm sure they can help you too.