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Friday, March 2, 2012

The truth about using a CPAP machine

You might remember that shortly before the New Year, I had a sleep study done. The results came back and declared that I have severe sleep apnea. Well, let me clarify, "severe" sleep apnea is defined as more than 30 awakenings, or "arousals" as they are called, in one hour. On the night of my test, I averaged 79 arousals..in one hour. That's "how-am-I-not-dead-yet-severe sleep apnea."

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
So, I've been using a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure -- or in other words, "let's force air down your throat all night long so you keep breathing." This is not my first experience with CPAP. I used a machine several years ago and then got out of the habit. But it is my first time blogging about it. And there are a few things I'd like to share.

This is me, wearing my favorite polka dot jammies, with my CPAP mask on (I think all these years of oxygen deprivation have caused me to lose any sense of dignity.):



And here are some truths about using a CPAP machine:
  1. The use of a CPAP machine may stop nocturnal arousals of the oxygen-depriving kind, but it very likely will stop any other kind of arousals that take place in the bedroom. Seriously, I don't think this is going to be a look you'll see at Frederick's of Hollywood anytime soon. 
  2. While the crazy-looking mask might be a turn-off to your spouse, it also helps keep the kids from climbing in your bed at night because the look of you with the mask on in a dark room is way worse than any bad dreams they might have had.
  3. If those same children decide they want to dress up as an elephant, fighter pilot or vacuum cleaner for Halloween, you're all set. 
  4. The first time you try to get up to pee and are so sleepy that you forget you've got the mask attached to your face and also attached to the unit on your nightstand is not something you'll be interested in repeating.
  5. If your spouse complained about your snoring before you got the CPAP machine and then complains about the minor noise the machine itself makes, I'm pretty sure the judge will go easy on you at the sentencing hearing. 
  6. If you wore a headgear to bed when you were younger and hated it, you might feel the same way about the CPAP mask.
  7. The days of jumping up, throwing on some clothes and heading out the door without a shower are pretty much gone because the straps for the mask create some wicked bedhead. Unless of course you long ago lost your sense of dignity (see above) and you don't really care about leaving home with your hair all jacked up.
  8. You will still feel like crap in the morning if you don't go to bed until 2am, even if those 4 hours of sleep you're getting is oxygen rich. This thing is a machine, not a miracle worker. 

22 comments:

Momza said...

LOL
"If those same children decide they want to dress up as an elephant, fighter pilot or vacuum cleaner for Halloween, you're all set."

Hi-Lar-EE-ous!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Gee thanks, Amy! I had to read this with my thighs clenched firmly together (laughing so hard)! Have mercy, woman! :)

From Tracie said...

You are making me want one of these! hehe ;-)

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Why DO you stay up so late?

Great post!

Mrs4444 said...

This is awesome, Amy. I love your frankness in this post. Sorry you have to use it, but at least you got a blog post out of it.

Have you written about how it's working?

quilly said...

I wear a CPAP and can testify to the truth of this post. I have just about lost my head a couple of times when adrenaline wakes my body before my mind and I leap from bed at a dead run.

Mich said...

I just started using one about 6 weeks ago. My apnea is not NEAR as severe as yours, but I am also severe. And while it took me a few weeks to get used to it, I definitely think it's worth it. My husband calls me Darth Vader! I love you too honey! But I am DEFINITELY not NEAR as tired as I used to be. And for that, I'll look like Darth Vader! :)

Emily said...

oh my goodness, you gave me such a good laugh this morning! M keeps urging me to get tested because I wake up multiple times throughout the night (aside from pregnancy).

Thanks for a good dose of morning humor!

Emily

Leontien said...

I always wondered about those things! My neighbor has one of these machines and i was wondering about if he would actually sleep better or not...?

Thank you for the laugh but i sure hope there is some kind of miracle out there so you can sleep better!
Leontien

hotmess10 said...

I seriously need to get a sleep test done on me. I swear I can't breathe at night sometimes. There are times when I force myself to wake up b/c my body's numb and "buzzing" (if that makes sense). I don't think I'd enjoy sleeping with one of those machines at all.

Amy said...

Emily & HotMess -- If you think you might have an issue, have a sleep study done. It really is so worth it.

tomcruse said...

Nice post related to cpap machines . Thanks for sharing.......

Bill said...

Good for you for being able to bring humor to this subject. And I'm a fan of the PJs.

Alissa Banks said...

Wow! That is severe sleep apnea! I have always used cpap machines from minnesota and it has helped me sleep better!

Lazbo said...

I have had one about a year.At first I couldn't get use to it ,but now no problem.Sometimes I just don't feel like using it but it sure is good when I do as I am more rested and don't wake up gasping for air!

Lazbo said...

I have had one for about one year now.At first it was hard to get use to but no problem now.I am more rested as my heart doesn't have to pump faster trying to get oxygen around my body when I stop breathing and I don't wake up gasping for air which is scary!

Michael said...

I agree to all of you. We all know that nobody feels like wearing something in their bed time especially a mask connected to your CPAP Machine, it feels awkward to have it with you. But one must also consider your need to help what you feel in terms of your health. Great post that could help everyone.

Ban Ban said...

Stumble upond this site while searching for first time cpap experience.

I had sever apnea too, my arounsal was 61 times an hour during my test and the longest time I stop breathing is 85 seconds.

Any my lowest SpO2 is 61%

Well I am in day one trail of the CPAP machine, I would like does anyone experience chocking and gaging while using the CPAP machine and I need to keep on usiing it unitil I get use to it?

Amy said...

Ban Ban -- Keep at it. Try to calmly and consciously breathe through your nose. It will get better. And if it doesn't get better, don't abandon ship. Contact your sleep center and ask to try a different mask.

ban2 said...

thanks Amy. My fifth day into cpap, and I feel crap. kept on waking up after my 1st hour of sleep and not able to go back to sleep unless I take off the mask.
You know what, the most irritating part is that air kept on blowing up you nose and it irritate the nose, and you can't reach to the itch. I can't scratch the itch on my nose unlisee I remove the mask, arhhhh. This is so frustrating....

Zoe Taylor said...

My was recently given a CPAP full face mask. It has really helped him and my mother sleep. He said that it was hard to adjust to though. I didn't think it would be that hard of an adjustment because it was helping him sleep better. Thank you for this post. It has really helped me to understand what he is going through.

Thomas Perkins said...

I 've been using my cpap over a year now no problem in keeping it clean beside using a mild soap once in a while as recommended for cleaning the tube or mask !! I dunk the mask in a deep pot of luke warm water ,but with a little listerine to kill any bacteria ,maybe molds too ? and then rinse mask good ,air dry or clean towel . Now for the tube I dunk tube in pot solution too , for minute ,then pick both end up evenly lift one arm up with the tube end while other end at lower and go back and forh so this solution reach all portion of the tube !!! Then rinse thoughly using one end in faucet ,then the other end , and use raising one above another ,then hang for air dry half the tube hanging on each side of a door !! I hope this will others so they won't need expensive replacement so often ,thanks for listening