Difficulties With Sleep Apnea
There are a lot of difficulties while living with sleep apnea. These difficulties don’t just fall on us, but our entire families. Like any disease, it affects the family and not just the individual.
Even though they don’t feel the physical effects of the condition, they have to deal with us prior to the diagnosis. Also, families help us succeed in the treatments we choose; such as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and treatments before diagnosis which doctors think it may be, such as surgery.
I had surgery on my nose because they thought that was my snoring and potential sleep apnea cause. I was not exactly pleasant during the recovery. It was terrible and my family had to deal with it as well. While dealing with your issues, don’t forget those that help you through the tough times and that you put through their own tough times.
Challenges: teaching family
The first challenge I had was teaching my family about sleep apnea, especially the children. My wife knew what it was, but the teaching isn’t always about the process of the condition so much as how it affects you on a daily basis.
Children require a different type of teaching. Sometimes we forget they require simple explanations, which can be tough while trying to remain accurate and not scare them. It’s easy to explain you either stop breathing or don’t breathe normally while sleeping, but that can cause concern for a child, especially if they are young. You have to find a way to teach them while not making them think you may not wake up tomorrow.
Tempations: cutting corners
Next is the potential attempt to cut corners to find a cure. To be diagnosed with sleep apnea, you have to do a sleep study. This requires a specialty doctor, which can cost you more money. In lieu of this, you may rely on your primary care doctor, or worse, a family member pointing you in the wrong direction.
Before I understood sleep apnea, I thought my snoring was because of my nose and not being able to breathe properly through it. This eventually led to surgery that did not help my sleep apnea at all. It did the issue with breathing, but I probably would have not done the surgery if I knew about sleep studies and CPAP machines.
Lastly, I had to educate myself a lot on the subject. There isn’t too much talking at physicals and check ups about sleep and sleep health. You really have to be motivated to learn about the condition and stay up to date on new technology and studies. You have to stay on top of sleep apnea more than many other conditions. There is no blood work or quick tests that can tell your doctor how well you are managing your condition.
Learning what to talk about with your doctor is very important. Using the sleep apnea community is a very important tool in education and learning about new things in sleep apnea. We all have different doctors that can introduce us to new technology and ideas. When we bring these ideas together, we can really give everyone a lot of information to manage the condition.
Did you experience family difficulties with your sleep apnea diagnosis? Please share a comment.
Do you feel stigmatized by sleep apnea?