Tag Archives: CPAP

You Talkin’ To Me?

10 Feb

I posted some time back that I had returned my CPAP machine to the supplier. I have found an appliance on-line, which fits inside the mouth and is covered by Medicare.   It resembles a set of hinged dentures (shades of Geo. Washington!) and pushes the jaw forward, presumably to keep the tissue in the throat from closing the airway. I’m willing to give it a shot and see how it works. Since it doesn’t interfere with my nose and face, there’s hope.

In order to get this, I have to show proof that I have relinquished the CPAP and my GP needs to fax over copies of my sleep study. The first study was done in mid-October and the second in late November, and I had asked the pulmonologist to have copies of the report sent to me, as well as my GP.  When I called my GP, they did not have the records in my file. I called the CPAP people and they had the report and would make copies for me to pick up this morning, which I did. I hand carried them to the GP and they, in turn made me a copy for my own files.

I’d love to know who the person in these records might be, because it certainly isn’t me. They have my name and my height correct, and the fact that I’ve never smoked, but that’s about it.  According to this report I weigh 110 and have a BMI of 18.3. I weighed 120 when I graduated from high school, and a wee bit more than that now. Yeesh! They should be treating me for anorexia, not apnea! My blood pressure is listed as a full 10 points higher than it was that day, and I no longer have a heart murmur. Maybe it went away since July. I always carry a list of my current meds with me when I go to a new doctor, but not everything is on this report, and it states that I didn’t know the dosage of two of the drugs I take. (It was on the paper, folks.) The doctor’s report omitted a MAJOR drug allergy, and wrote that I don’t have Restless Leg Syndrome, which I have had for over thirty years. The medication I take for that is one of the ones that isn’t on the pulmonologist’s record. (Well, if I don’t have RLS, I guess I don’t need the medicine either, huh?)

That’s just the office visit.

The second sleep study, when I was wearing the CPAP, says it was “well tolerated”. I woke up with a screaming panic attack and wanted to Go. Home. Right. Now. If that is “well tolerated”, my friends, I feel sorry for the other poor souls who have to use this thing.

Could be worse, I guess. When I was in the hospital in July I told them I might drink two glaases of wine a week, and they put me down as having two drinks a day, and refused to correct it.

The CPAP Goes Back Tomorrow

15 Jan

I spoke to a very nice lady at the sleep clinic on Monday about getting the pressure cut back on my machine, and she told me she would talk to my doctor. I also spoke to a very nice gentleman at the supplier, and he said that while he could cut back to starting pressure, I had to have a prescription from the doctor to do anything about what I’ll call the final pressure.

Another call to the sleep center yesterday, and the very nice lady was surprised that my doctor had not gotten in touch with me. She did mention that there is a self-titrating machine, which would automatically adjust to my needs. That would be wonderful, as my problem is with my diaphragm, not my lungs.  It’s after 6 PM here, so I doubt I’m going to hear from the doctor today.

So, last night I decided to give it one more try. I doped myself up and actually fell asleep. The Squire said the noises I was making kept him awake. Although the mask fits me fine when I am sitting up, when I lay down gravity takes over and the soft plastic sort of collapses and the air leaks out around it. It sounds as if we’re in the middle of a blizzard. When I fell asleep, without my conscious effort to keep my mouth shut, the air whistles out one corner of my mouth or  flutters out of my mouth.  Or out my left ear.

And then the screaming started. When you are sound asleep and have something over your face, it probably doesn’t sound much like screaming to anybody but The Squire, but apparently he was bolt upright in a flash. Got me untangled from the hoses, turned off the machine, and talked me back down off the ceiling.

Those of you who know me personally know my saga, but my on-line friends don’t, because it’s not something I talk about a lot. Many years ago, I was jumped and beaten up, and then my attacker tried to smother me with a pillow. So far, the only accommodation I’ve needed to make to this is swimming sidestroke, not wearing Halloween masks and being sure not to get water in my face.

Until we come up against oxygen masks and CPAP machines.  It goes back tomorrow morning.

I have a Hole in My Head

11 Jan

It’s official.

I have had trouble catching my breath since I was a small child. I was about eight when I announced to my parents that “I can breath in twice without having to breathe out”. My father thought this was interesting, but my mother snapped “That’s ridiculous. Russell, don’t encourage her.”

I never mentioned it again, but when I was in the tenth or eleventh grade my dad took me to the doctor, who said it was a problem with my diaphragm, nothing serious, and gave me some sort of tiny yellow pills – probably a tranquilizer.

Anyway, after many years of fighting this problem, which is often so severe I have to hang from a door frame to force air into my lungs, the doctors have decided that I have sleep apnea (Hello, I’m wide awake.) and prescribed a CPAP. We will not discuss the actual sleep study, which frankly ought to be covered by the Geneva Convention, but I have been given a machine which pumps air into my lungs.

Way too much air. I can’t breath it all in, and The Squire says sometimes my cheeks bulge out, and the air escaping from my lips makes a noise like a sail flapping in the wind. It’s a shame I sound as if I’m three sheets to the wind, when I haven’t had the pleasure of getting royally drunk. Every time I use the blasted thing, my ears pop, the way they do when you go up in an airplane.

And this afternoon, when I went to take my nap, I heard a popping noise, and air began whistling out of my left ear!

I called the doctor’s office immediately, but of course this is a weekend, so I won’t be able to contact him until Monday. The machine has simply been set WAY too high, but it’s not something the patient can adjust, but I think the CPAP and I are going to part ways.