Do I Take My CPAP or Do I Leave It?
This used to be 1 of the hardest things for me to decide. A few years back I had business trips that I had to take. Two of us from the office would share a room. It was an all-female staff, so not really a problem. When I first got diagnosed with sleep apnea and got my CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, I wasn't sure that I wanted to take it on these trips. There were several excuses running through my head concerning traveling with my CPAP.
I don't really need it!
It just feels awkward using it.
What are they going to say about me at work?
What if the noise from the machine keeps others awake!!
This or That
What do you do with your CPAP machine when traveling for work?
Traveling with or without my CPAP?
So, after thinking about those questions, I decided not to take my CPAP with me on the first trip after I got it. I was kind of excited, then nobody would find out my secret that I had sleep apnea. After all, I wasn't taking my CPAP machine!
After a long drive to even get to where this 2-day meeting was going to be, we got settled into our rooms. Then, we had a nice meal and went back to the hotel to call it a night.
Surprisingly, I slept really well. I actually woke up well-rested and ready to go! My coworker was a little groggy but after a few cups of coffee, she did fine.
I got through the first day with all of the guest speakers and trainings. I was pretty good. As a group, we later found a different place to eat supper that night. We even got a little shopping in before returning to our rooms to get some sleep.
The great next day!!!
I slept amazingly well, even better than the first night! But, my co-worker that I was sharing the room with was not in the room. Not thinking much about it because she was such an early riser, (and she wasn't in the room the morning before when I woke up), I got up, took my morning shower, and then got dressed.
I figured would find her down eating breakfast, but I didn't! She was curled up on 1 of the couches down in the lobby. She was not asleep but, her eyes were pretty bloodshot red! I asked her how long she had been there and if she wasn't feeling well.
An unthinkable response
I got an unthinkable response but in a very kind way. She said, "I just couldn't take it anymore!" And I said, "You couldn't take what anymore?" Again, the response I got was in that same kind voice like she always has for just everything:
"Sally, I didn't say anything last night. But I knew I had to say something today!" Continuing in her polite voice, "You need to be seen for sleep apnea! Your snoring is really bad. But last night,... was horrible!" Then, she told me that her father had sleep apnea.
I was totally horrified! And, I was worried about the sound of my CPAP machine keeping somebody awake. I apologized, actually a few times. She gave me a hug while saying, "That's OK. You were sleeping so well I didn't want to wake you up. So, I just decided to come down here!"
What did I learn from that experience?
I will never go with a group of people again, to spend the night somewhere. Especially with the possibility of having to share a room without my CPAP machine!
Do you take your CPAP machine or leave it at home when traveling with others? Please share a comment.
Do you feel stigmatized by sleep apnea?