At a Crossroads – Time for a New CPAP
I haven’t written about my sleep apnea in a while because I haven’t had much to tell. It has felt like I have everything under control: Equipment working, supplier finally dialed in, and a consistent average of 8+ hours of daily usage, with fewer than 5 AHIs per night. Lots of Resmed Airsense 10 smiley faces for mask seal, too!
Then about 2 weeks ago, my 4-year-old CPAP went haywire.
Feeling nervous about new CPAP timing
Now, every night when I turn it on – manually or with Smart Start – a huge rush of air roars out of the machine like a hurricane. Restarting doesn’t help. Placing my fingertips over the air holes, or “gills,” as I like to call them, simply silences the gale momentarily. When I release, the whoosh of air is loud enough to wake up my cats.
Time for a new CPAP?
The only thing I’ve found that works is covering the holes and fighting back -- blowing hard into the tube as if I’m performing 1 of those lung-capacity tests. Sometimes I need to do it 2 or 3 times, exhaling so hard I have to stand up to do it. Then, the CPAP calms down and I can put on the mask, and things sort of work. By that I mean, the pressure seems more normal, but I can tell it’s different, and I don’t know if it’s doing the job. My AHIs are up and I don’t feel as rested.
So, I brought it in to my ENT’s office to see what he and his staff thought. You know how when something’s wrong with your car, but when you take it to the mechanic everything’s fine and you can’t reproduce the issue? Ha ha,... nah, that didn’t happen here! My little machine happily obliged and proudly huffed and puffed no matter what we tried. Doc, (who’s a CPAP user himself,) said he’d never seen anything like it.
When to replace the old CPAP?
Because it’s fairly close to the 5-year mark, he recommended replacing it, and wrote a prescription. Knowing how these things work, he also included a letter of medical necessity – hopefully pre-empting pushback from my health insurance carrier. I do now have to complete a 3-night, at-home sleep study before they’ll replace the machine. I warned my husband: It’s not going to sound pretty. He’s prepared for a few nights in the guest room.
Nervous about changing my CPAP
This or That
What is your advice when standing at the crossroads to get a new CPAP machine?
And I’m actually more than a little nervous: What if my condition isn’t seen as severe enough for insurance to cover a new CPAP? I mean, I certainly wish I didn’t need the CPAP: If a genie popped up right now, that’s definitely something on my list! But the treatment has made an improvement in my life over the past 4 years, and I don’t want to go back to how I felt before.
I definitely wouldn’t want to use an oral appliance full-time again. To be fair, I have considered having 1 made as an emergency backup – in case the power’s out over a long period, for example, or even to use camping. But when I did it before, it a) didn’t improve my breathing as much as the CPAP does and b) wrecked my teeth, costing lots of time and money to fix.
So, while I wait for my home sleep study kit to arrive, I find myself hoping for something bizarre: Lots of snoring, lots of apneas in my near future.
Have you also felt nervous when it was time for a new CPAP machine? Please share a comment.
What emotion do you feel when it is time to get a new CPAP machine?
Do you feel stigmatized by sleep apnea?