|Posted by Eggroll Creative on June 27, 2015 at 11:55 PM|
Last January, I noticed it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to speak. The words would be a jumble. I would stutter, not be able to remember the words for simple everyday objects, and sometimes I would just drop off and stare into space. Staring into space became a pleasant way to spend way too much time. I became disoriented and not recognizing familiar places. When I didn't recognize my neighbor of five years, I called my doctor.
He put me on estrogen, B12, extra thyroid medication, additional DHEA in the morning and pregnenalone at night. All my other supplements, the Vitamin D, fish oil, I started really being good about taking them. The estrogen allowed me to sleep better and I am sure everything else helped a little. But several months later, something wasn't right.
"This is the age we see MS," said my second, more traditional doctor with concern. "But let's look at the most obvious things first."
"And can you do something about her snoring?" said my husband with irritation.
His eyes lit up. He had his obvious answer, saying that I probably had sleep apnea. Sure enough, the sleep study showed I was holding my breath an average of 17 times an hour, sometimes as long as 81 seconds. My oxygen was dropping dangerously low.
I was put on the Sleep Mapper Apap machine, considered "the gold standard."
Well, first off, I'm a mouth breather. Allergies make it difficult to breathe through my nose even when I try. So I was fitted with a full mask. The first nights, I was awoken quite regularly by tornado force air blowing in my face. I could not breathe until I got that mask off my face. Then I would take those desperate gasps, my heart pounding.
Even when I would remember to refill the distilled water compartment, I would wake up with my mouth so completely dry that my tongue would be stuck to my cheek. Many nights, I took my mask off and then fell asleep before I could put it back on.
Let's not forget the air in the stomach! My husband was howling with laughter as I burped like a drunken sailor until I could walk without pain.
I began to dread going to sleep.
So I brought my whole contraption into the respiratory desk at the pharmacy, and the woman there rolled her eyes and said I would get used to it.
Then I got sick. Really sick. I had a terrible fever, runny nose and then the cough. No way could I keep the mask on! That went on for 10 days. Where I was barely compliant before, now I was 10 days short.
When I finally put the mask back on again, I started having a new problem. I would wake up to the tornado winds, but now they were noisily blowing out of every edge of the mask. So I would reset the machine. Again and again. At some point, I must have finally started sleeping through these events, because now I would wake up to find the machine had turned itself off due to the leaking. Eventually, I was so exhausted, I would even sleep through the night with the face mask on and the machine off. So I would only get about an hour of credit for having the machine being on. Those mornings, I woke up with headaches, probably from breathing carbon dioxide all night.
When I went back to the respiratory desk, the woman was still a little peevish that I was complaining, but to her credit, she tightened up some straps on my face mask that I didn't know were there. The ones one top. She forgot and left the machine at the higher pressure she was using to test the mask. So I went home, and it was a shock to have the tornado greet me right off the bat. But I eventually fell asleep that way, and that night I had no leak. It seemed like my problem may have been solved. The machine was still on in the morning.
No one said anything about the bright red spot on my nose all the next day from the pressure of the mask being so tight. Eventually I loosened it up just enough not to cause bruising, but still preventing the leak.
I brought in my SD card after this hellish first 6 weeks, and found that the woman at the respiratory desk had been "let go." People were whispering and rolling their eyes about it. Well, as soon as the new woman came over to help me, I understood why. This person took my problems seriously. She immediately noticed the wrong setting, and she showed me how to override the humidifying feature so that my mouth wouldn't be so dry. And when she read my SD card, she noticed that I was still having apneas even with the machine, and suggested I may need a Bi-Pap instead. She said she would call my doctor and let him know what was going on and also clarified my insurance. She gave me hope.
Two nights later, the hose sprung a leak, or maybe I could have crunched it in the recliner. I vaguely remember it getting caught in the footrest when I stood up to get some water that night. I haven't had time to get in to buy a new one, so right now it's wrapped tightly with packing tape and twist ties. I think that's doing the job. Although I still seem to be waking up with headaches.
"I thought this would be simple, just put the mask on and be cured," I told my doctor at my next visit. "I wish you had warned me how hard it was going to be."
"For most people, it is that simple," he said, shaking his head in frustration while looking at my report. "You put on the mask and sleep."
Are you like most people? Or are you product testing the ba-jeebers out of your Apap, Cpap or Bi-pap like I am?
Categories: Health and Fitness