Almost 25 Years and Counting

I always snored and so did other family members. I thought nothing of it until my husband told me I would stop breathing during the night - I would wake up gagging with my heart racing and the urge to urinate.

Snoring, going quiet, and then gagging

It was 1998 and I was working the evening shift as a nurse (not going to bed until 1:00 AM). I was 43 years old with a 3-year-old child, so I had to be up early. I was always sleep-deprived, laying on the couch while my son played around me. One day my son said, “Mommy, this how you sound" and did a rendition of me snoring, going quiet, and then gagging.

My first CPAP

I had to go to my primary physician for a referral to a sleep specialist, so it took a while to get a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Back then, the machine came without a humidifier, and you only got a new mask once a year. When I finally got a humidifier, it came as a separate machine.

I used cooled boiled water at the time, as no one told me to use distilled water. There was no ramp or autosensing. The rate was set by the technologist based on the doctor's order from the sleep study. More than once I inadvertently changed the rate by hitting the wrong button while turning the machine off and on in the dark, but I couldn't get it adjusted until I saw the sleep technologist again.

Travel and family links

I live in dread of power outages due to more intense storms from climate change and have bought a portable battery with a solar panel in case. Now my favorite mode of travel is cruising because, with the newer ships, the headboards have plugs, but I still need an adapter to plug the 2-prong plug into the 3-prong outlet.

Now almost 25 years later, my son who is now 27-years-old has been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea and has begun his journey with his own CPAP machine.

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