The Alien Who Snored
Having COPD, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, set my new doctor into alert mode. He wanted to be sure that I was getting the best level of care.
He asked if I snore. No, I insisted, as my husband nodded his head and said, "Yeees." He even offered to record my snoring! No way!
Preparing for my sleep study
An appointment was scheduled in a nearby town, 70 miles away. Time to voice my concerns: I don’t sleep well in my bed, and seldom away from home.
The response: your doctor will likely write you a prescription for a light sleeping aid or sleeping pill. At that time, I believe that they would even let me bring a pillow from home.
I didn’t mention it to anyone, but I was almost relieved that I was going to have testing done for sleep apnea. Not too long before I was told about an acquaintance who had died. She died from sleep apnea, which affected her heart.
The big night finally arrives
The day of testing came. I grabbed my overnight bag and was off.
The technician showed me the room and the station that she would be monitoring me from. I was amazed at the equipment and monitors. Next, time to get ready for bed? It’s so early! Yes, I was a bit nervous. What if I snored?
Next step: wires, leads, and lots of tape. Once I was wired, I sent my husband a picture of my new look. It’s funny, but I ran across a copy of that picture just a few days ago.
Morning came quickly
I was relaxing and remembered that I had taken the sleeping pill soon after I arrived. Lying down, I could watch TV until I fell asleep. Before I knew it, morning was here.
After removing my alien parts of wires, tape, and things, I changed and went back to tape goo removal. That was the highlight of my nervousness. You see, back then, everything was new and I wasn’t sure what it all involved.
Getting my new CPAP supplies
Within the next few days, an oxygen concentrator was delivered as well as oxygen supplies. When I slept, my oxygen levels would decrease. An oxygen level below 89 percent, actually at 88 percent for 5 minutes or more qualifies a person for oxygen, per Medicare standards.1
Yep, I also snore! Our home health agency brought out CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) supplies. I must have looked in horror because the staff looked at each other. I had never looked at CPAP supplies before, yet, had heard others describe them and the marks that were left from the straps as well as the mask itself.
I tried some masks on and wasn’t sure about anything. They set me up with a mask they thought fit best. I could also have a humidifier tray put in since I tend to have dry nostrils and mouth.
Setting up my CPAP machine
With the CPAP machine, they put in 2 sets of numbers which determine the pressure settings. These are measured in centimeters of water pressure. It’s also determined by a person’s age, weight, and gender. Even a person's sleep position is factored in.
You see, the CPAP's job is to open the obstruction in your airway. Does it make sense then that all of these things factor in?
Thankfully, low oxygen at night and sleep apnea were the only 2 sleep disorders that I have.
Do you use a CPAP machine? What was your experience like getting started? Share with us in the comments below.
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