Hello With Sleep Apnea!
Hello! It’s so nice to see you. If you came because we are going to talk about sleep apnea, you came to the right place. If you showed up by accident, then welcome!
Let’s talk about your sleeping habits, then I’ll share some of mine.
Let me ask some important questions about you. This is more to help you know what type of questions you will be asked when you are tested, or that your doctor will want to know. These questions will also let you get to know yourself too!
Let's talk about your sleep
- At night, do you have a routine for bed at about the same time every night?
- How do you sleep? Restful? Restless?
- Is watching TV or shows on your PC or tablets something that you regularly do from your bed?
- About that midnight snack?
- Do you take a sleeping aid or pain medication?
- It's morning. How do you usually feel when waking up? Tired? Headache?
Now, just a few more...
- Are you aware that you snore? You may not notice it.
- Is snoring something that others have told you that they hear?
- Has anyone offered to record it for you? Even kiddingly?
- Have you woken yourself up snoring?
The reason that there are so many questions about snoring is that snoring is often the main symptom of sleep apnea.
You doctor may order a sleep study
Thankfully, I had a thorough doctor. Because he was thorough, he scheduled a sleep study. It can be unnerving to know that someone is going to watch you sleep. It can leave a person feeling vulnerable. Some people might not understand that, yet some do.
Once my pulmonologist put in the order for my sleep study, they called from the hospital to go over things and to set up the appointment. I told them that I don’t sleep well outside of my own bed.
What to expect during the sleep study
When I had my sleep study, the technician had a prescription for one sleep aid. Then I put on my pajamas and called my husband to say goodnight.
The next step was attaching wires and then tape and more tape. Taking a picture of myself “all dolled up” as they used to say, was so silly. I sent my hubby a picture, so he had something to laugh at too.
After taking my regular medications, it was time for bed. I turned on a show that I watched way back when. If I remember right, the yawns began after the second or third group of commercials. That’s all I remember until morning.
Off came the tape, then the wires. The tech tried to help wash off some of the tape goo. After a shower and a lot of scrubbing, eventually, the sticky mess was removed. They definitely found a tape that would stick, so that a person couldn’t remove the tape moving around in bed.
Getting my new supplies
The next day, oxygen was delivered. Apparently, my oxygen levels were dropping when I slept. An oxygen concentrator and supplies were delivered as soon as they got the order from the hospital and the doctor.
After an extra couple of days, the home health agency called to have me come in to try CPAP masks. They had machines and equipment scattered on a table. I tried on a few masks. The masks were all medium and large. Wow, everything was too big. They said I had a small mouth. I let out a whoop. I couldn’t wait to tell my hubby, that I don’t have a big mouth, I have a small mouth. Hear that hubby? A small mouth and no, not a bass!
About 2 days later, they had me go back to home health so I could choose from a variety of face masks and pick the one for me. It was strange. I turned the CPAP machine on. It felt like it was blowing everything inside of my mouth, then through the back of my head. I have never experienced anything as strong as this.
Finding the right mask
We discussed the masks. I tried a few overnight and nothing ever fit right. They were always leaking. I took the best of all options. For a while, it seemed to work. Yet, I was constantly adjusting it because it would leak, and eventually, I had headaches and was so tired. The doctor reordered the settings for the CPAP. That worked!
They were so helpful and patient with me and my struggles with masks and even the machine. Thankfully, the oxygen concentrator, which was set on 2, worked great.
Getting help from my sleep doctor
Time for a return trip to the Mayo Clinic. I picked up my sleep apnea machine. Through the night, this reads and keeps track of my sleep, my apneas, and my oxygen readings. Explaining to the sleep doctor that I could not find a mask that fit was a wonderful thing.
I am a mouth breather. He left the room and came back with a nurse carrying masks. There was one that had something like a tray for my chin to rest on. This was perfect. The proper fitting mask was what I was needing to have a restful night’s sleep.
Appreciating my CPAP
This CPAP was the best and I’ve had it for years. Yes, they do replace the machine every so many years. They have tried to talk me into a newer model mask, but they aren’t anything like my old fashioned one. So far it’s been great. And they are able to replace the masks every month.
My oxygen concentrator helps wonderfully, too. I can use this with the nasal cannula by day if needed or hooked up with the CPAP.
I hope that you use the equipment that’s made to help you have a better quality of life. That doesn’t mean that if you don't use it you will die, it means that you will feel better. However, a person who doesn’t use their CPAP can be at risk of dying by heart attack.
Another incredibly positive thing for me with the CPAP is having my pulmonologist and cardiologist say that my pulmonary hypertension is about gone. They attribute that to using my CPAP.
My advice: use your equipment as prescribed. It can save your life.
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