Me and my new room mate – a follow up to my follow up of my sleep study

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 8.06.33 PM.pngMy new sleeping partner is a Cpap machine. I  will call him Pappy. I think Pappy is a long lost relative of Sesame Street’s Snuffelufffagus. He has a long long nose. Cpap machines are usually the choice for the treatment  of  obstructive sleep apnea {the cessation of breathing} Cpap is the abbreviated form for continuous positive airway pressure.

My initial sleep study indicated that I had mild sleep apnea-not a life threatening condition. Howeveer I agreed to try it to  humour my doctor. She  researched and found that studies  indicate those with even mild sleep apnea  can benefit sleeping with a Cpap machine by reducing their risk of developing atrial fibrillation and helping to  maintain  good brain health and memory. She is  recommending it to many of her senior patients.

Sooo–  I was given an apointment with a respirologist and a technologist at a health care facility  for a demo and to get fitted with a Cpap machine for a trial period. Interestingly the offices were in the same scary building where I had my initial sleep study done. But it wasn’t a scary building after all. It was a modern building that housed a small medical/commercial   plaza. It makes a difference when one enters through the main door in daylight and not through the dark and dingy night entrance.

My daughter accompanied me to my appointment because two sets of eyes and ears are better than one. Besides her sets are younger than mine. A whole contraption was brought out with all kinds of connections and parts. The technologist must have seen the look of horror on my face because he said “don’t worry , you won’t have any problem assembling this at home.” I said “Yes I wiLL” He said “no  you won’t”. My daughter said “No You won’t”. I repeated “Yes I will”.

Of course mothers are always right.The first problem i encountered was –I couldn’t get the cap off of the large jug of distilled water.The water chamber of the machine has to be washed and filled with distilled water every day. I think carrying and pouring from the heavy jugs contributed to the recent problems I developed with my hands.Then there is the face mask with its multiple straps and rubber part that fits over the nose. I am not sure that I ever acquired the knack of putting it on properly. I have worn the mask upside down and inside out, the main strap on top of my head, on the back of my head  and I nearly asphyxiated myself when I tried it under my chin. The mask must be secured tightly so that no air leaks occur. Once the mask is  on it has to be connected to the six foot plastic tubing  {Pappy’s nose}. When it is attached the machine automatically starts up. It surprised me and almost knocked me off my feet the first time. The air pressure and  temperature can be adjusted, but I can’t differentiate among the different settings.

I really don’t mind the moist air travelling through my nasal passages and I have to admit I find the mainly soft white noise to be soothing. However I have to learn not to yawn, sing or talk to myself at night. It is not a pleasant experience when one opens ones mouth and a gush of air forces its way down ones throat. Pappy’s nose constantly gets in the way and it is more difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep.I found the nose piece to be irritating and sometimes red marks could be seen on my face the next day.

Last week I went back for the second overnighr sleep study. This time my  sleeping was monitored while I was attached to the  Cpap machine.I didn’t sleep very well. The objective of this follow up sleep study was to see if I stopped breathing less frequently using the machine. The results are not available as yet. However two days later I went back to the technologist to discuss any issues i was having with the machine. The machine was connected to a computor that showed when bunking in with Pappy I had less incidents of apneas. I changed my mask for a less obstructive one using nose pillows. I find this better as I can see to read or watch television while wearing the mask. One disadvantage is it is more difficult to sleep on my side. I have been sleeping on my back with a pillow underneath my knees to ease the strain on my back.

Am I  going to buy a Cpap machine or part ways with Pappy?  I don’t know. I don’t have to make a decision until July 15. I have an apointment with the respirologist and then with the distributor of the machine. The machine isn’t cheap. Some nights I think I have a better quality sleep and some nights not. I can tolerate using the machine for about five hours a night. When I wake during the night , I remove the mask and continue sleeping without it on my side. What to do?  What to do? Any suggestions?

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About epsnider

EP Snider’s dream came to fruition when she published a book at age 69. She continues to share her thoughts and stories with a humorous twist on Wordpress and Facebook.
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11 Responses to Me and my new room mate – a follow up to my follow up of my sleep study

  1. Sorry, but it just sounds horrible to me. For one thing I have never been able to sleep on my back and still walk the next day. And I can’t even wear a respirator mask for painting. I can never get a breath in them and feel like I’m suffocating, I certainly can’t tell you what to do, Elaine. If you need it, you need it so I hope it gets better for you. Does the less restrictive one still cover your mouth?

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    • epsnider says:

      I had my apointment with the sleep specialist doctor. He checked my records without using C pap. and sleeping with it on. The findings were I had a few sleep apneas when i wasn’t attached to “Pappy” and none with the machine. However the only time the apneas occurred was when i slept on my back, The doctor felt that I had mild sleep apnea and wasn’t a threat to my health.So, I parted ways with Pappy .I don’t miss him . I try to fall asleep on my side .I have an apointment with my regular doctor. I know she is encouraging a lot of hr patients to use a Cpap as a preventative measure against developing atrial fibrillation and to help maintain a healthy brain. There is a slight possibility Pappy and I may reconcile but I doubt it. Too many incompatibilities.

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  2. Susan Applebaum says:

    My son stopped using his because he kept ripping it off while he was sleeping.

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  3. I do appreciate your writing about your journey with sleep apnea – which is one step ahead of mine. I still have to go the overnight study and fingers crossed that I will not need one of those contraptions! Good that you get to try before you buy – I wondered about that. Do you have to sleep on your back? I never fall asleep like that! Keep me posted and good luck.

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    • epsnider says:

      “Pappy “ and I parted ways. According to the sleep specialist I have mild sleep apnea and only when i sleep on my back. It isn’t a threat to my health, but my family doctor may still recommend i use one as a preventative measures against developing atrial fib and to help maintain a healthy brain.

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  4. epsnider says:

    Good luck Cinda with your journey with sleep apnea. It int any fun. With the full mask I was able to sleep on my side, but with the nose pillows it is difficult and I sleep on my back. Keep me informed.

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  5. mamaredeemed says:

    I have had my CPAP for 8 weeks now and even though it has been challenging it has also been life changing! If your apnea is moderate to severe try to think of it in a more sciency way. If you are not giving your body the O2 rich blood it needs to repair and rejuvenate during the sleeping hours, your body will try to compensate. Low Metabolism, brain fog, depression all these things can be caused by poor sleep quality and low O2 saturation

    Liked by 1 person

  6. epsnider says:

    Thank you for commenting. I had a follow up appointment with the sleep specialist. Apparently I have mild sleep apnea and the apneas only occur when i sleep on my back. At this time I have opted not to purchase the machine. I heard that pillows are available that make it difficult to roll over on ones back when sleeping.
    That is great that you have had such positive results with your CPAP.

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