5 Couples Reveal: "The Extreme Ways We Saved Our Marriages"
"He went to a sleep laboratory."
Jamesha Edwards, 30, and Lionel Edwards, 39; married 1 year;
Jamesha: I always knew Lionel had a snoring problem, but I didn't know
how severe it was because we didn't live together before our wedding. His body
actually shook in his sleep, and I would toss and turn all night. I finally had
to sleep in a different room, which I hated. We were newlyweds and already
The cause of his snoring was sleep apnea, and it was so bad that he was
exhausted all the time; he would fall asleep during dinner, at church, at the
movies, even when he was driving! I was terrified he was going to kill himself,
me, or someone else.
One day, we saw a billboard for the sleep center at University Services of
North Philadelphia. I told him he needed to go or I didn't think I could stay
in the marriage. He had to stay overnight, and the doctors told us the next day
that he could actually die from his sleep apnea; he literally would stop
breathing, and being deprived of oxygen for a long enough time could kill him.
The team fitted him with a CPAP machine, a mask he wears at night that forces
air into his lungs. It took some getting used to, but now he's finally getting
enough rest — and I am too. I went from cranky wife to sweet wife, and we are
normal newlyweds, happy and in love.
Lionel: We had only been married a few months when I started wondering
if Jamesha was going to leave me. I remember one night she woke me up a few
times to get me to roll over because I was snoring so loud. The third time she
said, "If you don't stop snoring, I'm going to punch you in your stomach!"
Outbursts like that were so out of character for her that I knew it was really
serious. I got out of bed and slept in a chair so she could sleep.
Another night, I was coming home from work, and I was exhausted. I started
dozing and ran a woman off the road. I woke up to her beeping her horn. If she
hadn't honked, I could have killed her or myself. That experience made me
realize that life is short and I didn't want to be taken that way. When Jamesha
put her foot down and said I had to get tested, I agreed.
At the sleep lab, I was diagnosed with the most severe case of sleep apnea the
doctors there had ever seen. With the CPAP machine they gave me, my wife can
now sleep beside me, and I can get through a full day — and a movie — without
nodding off. This treatment literally saved my marriage and my life.