CPAP Therapy and My Experiences the First Few Days
So, you have a new CPAP machine and mask, lucky you. Welcome to the club. You're probably feeling uneasy right about now, like I was when I got my diagnosis. I suffer from moderate sleep apnea, and I've lived with apnea for around 5 years now. Here's my story about the first few days and how I got through it.
Coming home with all my equipment
So, there I was going home with this new machine, mask, and all the other equipment. I unpacked my new machine and had a look at all the parts. It was overwhelming at first. I had tried on several masks at my sleep clinic and picked out the nose mask as I found that the most comfortable. There was no way I wanted a full face mask.
Was this my life now? It didn't seem real to me that I now had to rely on this machine to help me get a quality night's sleep. Life with this mask night after night. Oh, the endless joy. I knew it was supposed to help me, but I had a bad feeling that this was going to be a dead-end solution.
The first night with my CPAP machine
My therapist suggested I put the mask on for about a half-hour before bed to get used to it. You try wearing a mask on your face before bed; it's not much fun, trust me. I fiddled with the straps, read the instructions, and gave it a try. It was not going well.
My sleep wasn't great. I did wear it for a couple of hours but it ended up on the floor. The rush of air into my nose was annoying, and that air was cold. I was sure that this thing was going back, and I was going back to the couch I had made my new nightly home.
Educating myself and finding the courage to keep going
I wasn't feeling that great on day 2. I had a bad sleep and a fight with my new mask, but I was determined to give it another try. I spent some time reading about sleep apnea more and visiting forums where other people suffer from the same thing I did.
Reading their stories helped me understand my own apnea. Some of those stories were emotional, and some were quite inspiring. This is where the community is beneficial to you. There are many people who have exactly what I do, and these forums are where I found the courage to keep going.
How long did it take to get used to sleeping with a CPAP?
The second night with my CPAP was better
The second night went well. I was tired from my off-and-on sleep the first night, and I slept right through, my mask and all. I was surprised when I woke up as I didn't have that groggy feeling I normally do.
My wife slept through the night without having to constantly bombard me with pillows, as I snored like a freight train before. For me, this was a good thing! I had done something I felt I couldn't do. I slept a whole night with this new mask. It was a miracle.
Determined to make this work
The next weeks and months were a struggle, but I kept trying. I wore my mask as often as I could. When I had a bad night, I gave it a break. I kept going back to the forums and reading more stories. I spent a lot of time learning about sleep apnea and how my CPAP was beneficial to me. This helped keep me going. I was determined to give this thing a chance to work.
When I wore my mask, I had a good sleep. In the daytime, I had a lot of energy and made it through the entire day without having to nap. I had weeks and months with no morning headaches. My wife had better sleep, even though she was now next to Darth Vader. The mask was working.
Where am I now?
I still struggle with my mask. I will never 100 percent love it. The thing gets hot and uncomfortable at times. Some nights I take it off, and it goes on the floor. The key point is that I wear it more often than not. The mask is a part of my daily life now, and I get the sleep I need. My wife is thankful, so are the pillows. I'm thankful, too.
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