Do you use a CPAP? I hate using a CPAP. Do you use a CPAP? I love using a CPAP. Confused? Well, don’t be, it’s not that difficult an issue. It’s basically that I have a love/hate relationship with not only a CPAP, but sleep itself. That’s not exactly true, either. I hate sleep, or more specifically, I hate the need for it. I’ll get to that. Let’s start back over…
Do you use a CPAP? I use a CPAP. First, if you aren’t a CPAP user and are wondering “what in the Sam Hill is he talking about…” I’ll explain. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It’s used primarily for those with sleep apnea, or when you basically stop breathing due to some form of blockage. Mine is from the roof of my mouth sliding down into my airway, blocking air flow. Your body is designed to not let you not breathe. When you were a kid and threatening to hold your breath until you got your way? Well, your parents were onto you. You can’t hold it but so long, even if you’ve trained yourself to, as your body will be your undoing. That’s also the main reason people drown. Your body forces you to breathe and your lungs fill with water. Bad, morbid stuff. Sorry about that.
This long term loss of breath can cause a build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood stream, can cause brain damage over time and also heart problems because that’s a lot of work on your heart. If you snore, there’s probably an 80% chance that you have sleep apnea of some sort. The heart surgeon that performed my surgery said (and my cardiologist agrees) that he suspects that apnea was the main culprit in my arterial problems, right after genetics. Genetics, I really can’t do anything about. Apnea I can.
So a CPAP pushes light bits of air (because it really doesn’t take very much), constantly – that’s where “Continuous” comes from – and keeps your airway open. It’s cumbersome to wear, sounds like Darth Vader to the wearer (I call it my Darth Vader Mask or DVM) and really isn’t that sexy. I had a CPAP, that I never used, prior to the surgery. I think maybe a few times. It’s hard to go to sleep with. In the sleep study, the first time they put one on me, it covered my mouth and hose and I felt like I was drowning. I almost kicked the nurse/attendant. The one I got to take home was the nasal pillow kind. It only fits around the upper head and under my nose and still took a while to get used to. After my surgery and hearing what probably caused my problems, The BCPF, who is a great caretaker, no matter how I may complain, and forced me to wear it. Again, it took a while to get used to it. However, on a good night, when I get around 4-5 hours of sleep. I really feel good the next day.
You’ve seen me, Dear Reader, and you know that I’m a rather big guy and, absolutely, weight does contribute to apnea as it makes the tissue in your throat and everywhere swell. That fat has to go somewhere. However, I’ve had this since I was a baby. I didn’t sleep, for various reasons, as a baby but as I got older, I was always a snorer and would stop breathing in my sleep. When I was a kid, I was skinny and I mean bean pole/fence rail/tomato guide stick thin. So, it wasn’t my weight. That hasn’t helped any, to be sure, but it’s not the only factor. My sleep study nurse said that I was the third worst case she’d ever seen. After being hooked to the “Octopus” the series of wires they had to hook me up to, and watching me sleep, my numbers came to me “waking up” (my body forcing me to wake long enough to breath) seventy-nine times an hour. Dear Reader, there’s only sixty minutes in an hour. That’s more than once a minute. No one sleeps during that. At one point, I stopped breathing for twenty-eight seconds. That’s a strain on your brain, heart and other organs.
Growing up, since I couldn’t really sleep, I hated it. It was an awful activity. It never did anything for me. To this day, if it wasn’t necessary for me to actually live, I certainly wouldn’t do it voluntarily. There are only twenty-four hours in a day and I could find something, either productive or fun, to do in twenty-five of them. I have no choice in that, though. I have to sleep. It’s amazing how good I feel after wearing it at night. But, getting there, I have to be almost completely out, which more times than none leads to The BCPF slapping at me in the night to “put that damned mask on.” I’ll wake up all gummed up and my throat hurting with the uvula swollen and it’s hard to swallow if I don’t wear it.
About eight months ago, I got a new one and I don’t like it. The mask is different and only has one elastic band/strap to hold this monstrous thing on my face. It’s still a nasal pillow type but it seems too loose on my head, and this morning I woke up not able to breathe (sometimes it overpowers me) and turned it and took it off. I went to the bath room and when I came back, I noticed that the nasal piece had fallen off. It’s designed to change those out because you really need to every “so often.” But, getting to the place is hard for me and my schedule. So, because of that, I’m sluggish today. I recorded a session with a new client earlier this morning and after she left, I fell asleep, granted snoring, snorting and huffy, but I did get a little in. I’m good, now, but man that was a rough night.
As I asked at the beginning, do you use a CPAP? Do you like it? Have you horror stories? Share them with me, as I’d really like to hear others’ approach and what kind of equipment/mask they use. Alright, this was much longer than I needed it to be. I apologize for the length.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” – Thomas Dekker