Hi, my name is Tom and I am a hosehead....
I saw that word while lurking on this forum, and knew it would be a safe place.
Warning: Tom is wordy. He likes to hear himself type.
Anyway, my background: I've been a loud snorer all my life, bull neck (even though my weight rarely exceeds 180). I had shoulder surgery a couple of years ago, after which the anesthesiologist told my wife that I had (have) sleep apnea at a risk level of 4, whatever that means.
Soon after, I went for a sleep study, required before the pulmonary folks would even see me. At the sleep study they would not let me lay on my side, nor would they let me take diphenhydramine. To add to the adventure, I had my first-ever claustrophobic experience from the myriad wires, straps, nose-doohickeys, tape, and conductive goop that were variously fastened to my body. As a result, I did not sleep more than a few minutes, if at all. More importantly, the sleep center we dealt with had no data to work with, and there was no followup. I decided <bleep> it, I would live dangerously.
Having turned 50 this spring, I told my family physician that I was ready to give it another try -- with a different sleep center that would talk with me first.
A much different experience -- they let me play with some CPAPs in their office, they encouraged me to set up as comfortable an environment as I could, including a pink noise generator and Benadryl, and even offered to supplement it with stronger stuff if needed.
So, I had my new sleep study this past Sunday, a two-parter. Still claustrophobic (I nearly fainted, he said shyly), but this time we were ready for anything, so the tech took a break, put a fan on me, and talked about musical instruments for 10 minutes. According to his colleagues, I got the best tech in the world...
They found me to have fairly constant apnea -- around 60 episodes per hour, oxygen level down into the low-to-mid eighties, which they tell me is organ-damage territory. The tech fitted me in the middle of the night with a Quattro, which worked well enough when I started out asleep, but which turns out to interfere with reading glasses. I like to read and play PDA games to get sleepy.
Monday morning, I debriefed with the doc (a coffee gourmet, he roasts it at his home, grinds it at the office, and makes the best coffee in all of Richmond -- and this at a sleep center!), and then met with Monday's vendor (vendors take turns). Straight CPAP got me going claustrophobic again, so we went with a bipap. My mouth goes dry so we went mouth-and-nose, and added a humidifier. I want to try to read, so we switched from the Quattro to the Full-Life, which almost lets me wear the reading glasses.
The vendor lady said that I would adapt within a couple of days.
I took a vacation from it Monday night (I guess sort of like a smoker's Last Cigarette), and have tried to get to sleep with it the past three nights, and although I am getting more relaxed, I don't think I have slept more than 10 or 20 minutes with it running. I woke at 3 this morning, worrying that I was a hopeless case, and (like another who posted here) worrying about "making the insurance people happy."
Unable to sleep, I googled CPAP Problems, or CPAP adaptation, or something like that, and found this forum. I read posting after posting by people who took months to adapt, and realized that in that respect, at least, I am right on track.
Woo-hoo! I'm normal! Yippee!
As I wrote at the top of this missive, I can tell that this forum is gonna be a safe place. Thanks, already, for what y'all have done. I look forward to getting a lot from you up front, and giving back in the future.