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Friday, 10 August 2018

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My therapist recommended me to get a CPAP machine few years ago, and I answered that I would never be able to sleep with a mask and a hose on my face. This year my apnea got so bad it started really affecting my life and forced me to make a decision. I got a new Philips DreamStation APAP machine that "breathes" with me. It took a surprisingly short time, about 10 days, to get used to it. Now I regularly sleep with it 6-8 hours per night.

Mike, I am sure you will adjust to your machine much quicker and easier than you think.

Sleep apnea is a very serious thing. Twelve years ago I decided to sell my business because I felt that I did not have enough energy to continue. Some colleagues and friends thought of a burn-out or a depression, but I did not recognize any of the symptoms that are related to those terrible matters. Mentally I felt quite well, but there was a constant lack of energy.
Let me describe apnea in short. Because your breathing is not functioning well (it fails during your sleep and you snore terribly) you don’t sleep deep enough. You miss the so called REM sleep that is important to rest your brains. And you don’t get enough oxygen in your blood which makes that you sweat a lot, not only when doing physical exercises but even while you are sleeping.
Physically you might feel okay, but your brains function as if you did not sleep at all for a couple of days. Strange thing is that you don’t relate that feeling to sleeping problems at all, because your best moment of the day is in the morning. You wake up like an early bird and when you go to bed you are already asleep three milli-microns of a second before your ears touch the pillow.
If you don’t treat apnea well it can be very dangerous. Seriously: you probably drive better after drinking a bottle of wine than without medical attention in case of apnea.

After a medical test (45 breathing stops an hour!) they immediately prescribed me a CPAP machine. Medical care is very well organized in my country. From the first moment on adapted the thing as my buddy and already after a week I felt reborn.
No humidifiers, heated air tubes or nurses for me. Just plain air with the right pressure.

Admirable, brave, and inspiring how you continue your self-analysis and share it to your audience globally. How you address yourself as "Humbl Ed" is truly appropriate and one of your outstanding values. Wish you well Mike and thank you for continuous enlightening and informative articles.

Good luck with the CPAP machine. It can make a big difference in your ability to sleep, and it potentially can literally be a life-saving device.

At the recommendation of my doctor, I started using a CPAP over 10 years ago, and when it finally gave up the ghost a couple of years ago, the new one that the pulmonary specialist recommended is the same machine that you describe.

For me, the humidifier is definitely a plus, as I do not sleep as well on the rare occasions when I do not put water in its tank. The heated tube was a new feature for me when I got the ResMed AirSense 10 and it does a nice job of preventing the condensation of the water vapor between the CPAP and my nose that happened with my old CPAP on a cold night.

- Tom -

My wife uses a CPAP. Try various headgear. She's super happy with the Devlibiss Aloha Nasal Pillow. Just two very soft cones pressing at the entrance to your nostrils.

Best of luck with the CPAP machine and 12-step fellowship. I had a father and brothers who have not been able to avoid addiction, so I have always considered myself just one false step away from the issue myself. But I seem to enjoy a small amount of wine and it goes no further than that, thankfully. I believe my extreme love of outdoors and hiking & photographic activity have helped. Even now, I am on a summer regimen of a hike that must average at least 1,000 feet of elevation gain every third day and any 3 consecutive hikes must meet that criteria and also be for at least 20 miles. I'm 75 and glad I can still do this!

Oh, on the sleep side of things, I go to bed at about 11 and wake up at 6 with rarely a break in-between and ready for a new day. My Apple watch tells me my resting pulse gets down to between 48-50 for 3-4 hours. Never asked anyone how good or bad that might be!

Mike,

If you have a problem getting used to the machine you might want to try and persuade your doctor to prescribe an adaptive servo ventilation machine, such as the Resmed Air Curve 10, which is what I have.

It's MUCH easier to get used to and continue usage than the pure CPAP machines. However it's much more expensive, and to get insurance to cover it you might need to qualify with not only obstructive apnea but central or complex apnea.

Dan

My experience with the machine was very much different. Don’t even know why they prescribed it as my blood oxygen level was mid 90’s most of the night. Only problem was when I was on my back and the technician said the whole night I only spent 3 minuets on my back.
My sleep problem is I just cannot let the days activities ( or tomorrow’s ‘need to’s ) get out of my brain. Endlessly reviewing past events and worrying about future events.
Yeah, I know, I’m nuts.

2nd the pillows v masks. SO much easier to get accustomed to these days. Give yourself plenty of time, it’s worth it. IF CPaP is proving a problem, ask your Dr about BiPaP. Depending upon type/severity of the apnea, BiPaP works much better and is easier to get used to.

I love what Tim Smith says. I feel the same way Mike, just don’t have the words like Tim. It is a truly modern 21st century situation, knowing someone like I have come to know you. Thank you Mike.

Stick with it, Mike! It's worth it.

CPAP user since 1999. Present machine is Philips Respironics Dream Station. WIFI and Bluetooth- I can upload and see my night's stats, graph, and history. I WON'T go to bed without it. The alternative, including horrific nightmares and feeling like a zombie the next day, is not on my list of favorite things.

Mike, keep at it with the machine. I've been using one since 1992, and I think I'm still alive today, largely because of it. I've run across a number of men who were prescribed the machine, but who never got adjusted to it. It's not the easiest thing in the world to get used to, but it beats waking up dead.

Hang in there, and all my best to you.

With best regards,

Stephen

I just started in June with the exact same device and ended up having to use the “nose-only” mask due to a surprising silicone sensitivity (my face broke out really badly at first). I’m still adjusting to using it, and congestion due to allergies certainly doesn’t help, but I think it has helped. Keep up the good work - your blog is one I visit without fail and certainly one the ‘net would be poorer without. BTW, I’d buy that book with your stories about photography.

I sincerely hope your twelve step programme is not calvinistically aimed at stopping going fishing when the weather is nice!

I did the sleep study* and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I was prescribed the ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP machine. I had a difficult time getting used to the masks. I tried three, four, or maybe five.

I started using the CPAP machine in Florida (near sea-level). Since moving to Colorado (mile above sea-level) and losing 40 pounds I'm sleeping better than ever. The CPAP machine is now in storage.

No more snoring, and wife says I'm not gasping for breath throughout the night (she's a light sleeper). I guess I'm fortunate. I did not get along well with the machine. I think the feeling was mutual.

*I brought my Pen F along with a tripod to snap pictures every minute during the sleep study. (It took awhile to figure out how to set up the intervalometer.) The sleep technician is/was an photographer. At the time, she had an Oly EM5 I.

In addition, I want to note that simple weight loss and moving from a coastal swamp in central Florida to the high plains, just east of the Rockies, are only part of the equation of how I beat sleep apnea.

Over the last year and a half, I've gradually cut wheat, corn, soy, potatoes, most peppers, all sweeteners except cane sugar and maple syrup, and dairy from my diet (now and again, I enjoy a steak, a buffalo burger, or a serving of lamb curie.

I'm now eating a variety of nuts, fruits, legumes, beans, rice, vegetables. I roast a chicken every few weeks (of which I use the carcass to make soup stock).

Fresh seafood is not readily available in landlocked Colorado, but canned sardines and anchovies are plentiful...I avoid eating farmed fish.

There's usually 85% chocolate in the cupboard. I avoid chocolate made with dairy, soy lecithin, and corn syrup.

As I began eliminating foods, my culinary skills improved. I now cook simple and tasty dishes--no muss no fuss.

Acid reflux, bad body mass index (BMI), indigestion, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea are now out of the picture.

I have a cluster of autoimmune disorders, that's what motivated me to start eating better. The autoimmune disorders are incurable. They continue to compromise my existence. However eating better has cleared up a lot of other problems, hence my day-to-day quality of life is better.

I'm fortunate to be passionate about photography. Making images has always helped my health.

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