Monday, March 21, 2005

CPAP Update - weekend 1

I'm not enjoying myself.

These machines are supposed to give you a wonderfully blissful night's sleep, but that's the last thing I've been getting these past three nights.

Now, preface to say I haven't been getting to bed as early as I ought to, which may have something to do with it. A combination of a resurgent interesting in Civilization III, and our newly installed broadband connection at home has kept me on the PC till all hours of the evening. Which doesn't lend itself to long hours of sleep.

That said, the unit itself is not difficult to operate, but it requires some preparation to get ready. There's a small water tank that has to be filled each night with distilled water, that's used to create a humid airflow. It has to be preheated 15 minutes before I go to bed, which, to me, is way too much order in my life :)

Then there's the mask, which as I said before consists of a breathing tube connecting the unit to an object similar to a SCUBA diver's breather - it fits under the nose and in the nostrils, and straps around the back and top of the head to hold it in place. When it's turned on, air flows from the unit, through the humidifier and into the nosepiece, which send a continuous stream of warm, moist room air into my nose and to the lungs. In theory, this stream of air keeps the nasal and throat air passages clear when deep sleep tends to relax the tissue. With sleep apnea, those tissues are very relaxed - I believe they suffer from Caribbean delusions that they are soaking up the sun on a tropical beach. Way, way too relaxed. Anyway, the constant airflow keeps 0-2 moving into my lungs, creating a deeper and more restful sleep.

In theory.

In reality, the mask doesn't fit my nose all that well. If I turn my head or, God forbid, try to lay on my side it breaks the "seal" and allows the incoming air to start escaping and hissing out the side. Which does little good for either my or my wife's sleep habits. In fact, it's really beginning to irritate me.

The first night was a bit rough, the second night was better and the third was the worst. I couldn't get it adjusted comfortably, and Laura woke me a couple times that it had slipped again. I finally ended up taking it off and tossing it aside about 4am. That's no way to help my problem, but at least it let me get some sleep.

Another problem I seem to have is I don't really feel the continuous air stream is making it through my nasal passages and down to my windpipe unencumbered. I've always been perpetually "stuffed up" to some degree or another. I rarely am able to take a good, deep breath without feeling there's a piece of a rag stuffed up one side of my nose. It has nothing to do with allergies that I know of - just the way my head is made. Thus, when I go to bed and my nose is not very clear, the full effect of the airstream doesn't make it to the windpipe. At least I don't feel that it does - maybe I'm wrong and just don't feel it.

I'm not going to stop, obviously, and will be trying my best to fine tune things. I'm hoping it doesn't require the building on an additional room to the house for myself to keep from waking up my wife during the night, but who knows ;)

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