I have enjoyed reading these forums for the past 6 weeks and have learned a lot-- thank you to everyone.
I have been on CPAP for more than a year. First 7 months with Respironics Comfort Gel mask. Generally worked fine except I have dry eyes and many times I would awaken with the mask migrated to my eye socket & then leaking air directly to my closed eyes (Nothing critical, but at the time I was going through tests for glaucoma and wasn't willing to take a chance).
A friend told me about these wonderful nose pillows/cushions- and I liked the idea of a smaller footprint on the mask and keeping air out of my eyes- so, since it was time to change masks/headgear I asked my provider about pillows- they brought me a Respironics OptiLife mask with various sizes of pillows and a couple cushions to try out.
I think the representative knew less than I did- he showed me how the pillows/cushions snapped into place, but was no real help in fitting the headgear to me. I played with it and decided to use it that night. Standing up the mask worked great, not bad while lying on my back, but the headgear kept popping off my head while lying on my side. I later tied the cushions and the same or worse- but I was able to get a descent sleep as long as I didn't move too much.
After a couple weeks I began wondering what was wrong with the OptiLife design and noticed a second slot in the cushion holder (thing that looks like a horse's bit). I figured it was designed for different face contours, but I wondered that if I put an elastic strap through there, it might hold the mask in place better (going around neck & connected to existing headgear via a short strap to keep the pressure upward as well as against face). Long story short- it works great and my friend suggested a plastic parachute clip for quick release.
Next thing was the pillows- they now sealed well to my nose, however it often seemed like I was getting less air in one nostril than the other (not always the same one)--- but, when I tried the cushions the airflow seemed much more uniform & at a comfortable flow rate. Great night's sleep as long as I didn't move too much (or leaks would result- even with new strap in place).
That's kind of where I am- at one point I thought of enlarging the hole in the pillows for more airflow, and I am beginning to wonder if the 6 month old cushion is just getting worn out & needs replacing (again, provider not going out of their way to help- never have check up on me- Unfortunately the place where I had sleep study represents a couple of providers, but not one that works with my insurance).
Anyway, as I told someone recently, "I spent two nights getting set up for CPAP-- and joined the league of those who spend an entire lifetime seeking the perfect mask".
Sorry my post is so long (not that I am ever brief) but a lot of history as to where I have come from. I was diagnosed with 67% Oxygen at night and 99% in daytime; 40+ episodes an hour with the longest being 45 seconds. Not only unbearable snoring for my wife, but neurologist suspected that my migraines (almost 20 years) might be directly attributable to Apnea. Since beginning CPAP I have had no migraine episodes and have been able to use only my sustenance medication- and no episode medication during that entire time. I feel like I am not only alive because of CPAP- but able to live my life.
Having said that, I am sure you realize I am committed to continuing- but sometimes frustrated with the search for the "perfect mask". Your insights, suggestions, comments will be much appreciated. (& thank you for your patience with my volume 1. (My machine is Respironics RemStarPro M Series with Resironics Humidifier).
|Mask: Optilife Nasal Pillow and CradleCushion CPAP Mask with Headgear|
|Humidifier: M Series Heated Humidifier|