Thanks for the comments. I decided against using oxygen at night and I'm sticking with the bipap. I did call my doc back - just in case I had misunderstood him - but I'm beginning to think it's the doc who doesn't understand.
I have known that I have obstructive sleep apnea for many, many years, but none of my doctors ever took it seriously. I was diagnosed with hypertension and edema about six years ago, and have been on medication ever since. Then last summer I went into heart failure. My wife asked if my sleep apnea could be a factor, but my doc refused to insert sleep apnea into the equation, probably because I have no insurance and a sleep study costs more than $2,000.
So my wife consulted a friend of hers - a retired endocrinologist - who told her that my health problems were directly a result of sleep apnea. Her friend also said he was apalled that my doc wanted to treat the symptoms but not the actual CAUSE of my health problems.
My wife then ordered my doc to pursue the sleep-apnea angle more aggressively. He told her that it was his understanding that money was a problem and that we couldn't afford a sleep study. She told him that a $2,000 sleep study is cheaper than a funeral, and he scheduled the sleep study immediately.
So I did the sleep study and bought my bipap. I go to sleep with the mask on every night, but I take it off soon after I fall asleep. I've tried different masks and pressures to no avail. My sleep pattern has deteriorated dramatically. I can't work now because I can't stay awake during the day. After I spent the entire month of October asleep on the couch, my doc suggested replacing the bipap machine with a bottle of oxygen.
Then I found this forum and I posted my question about treating sleep apnea with oxygen. I called my doc back and read him the responses I had received. He explained that he wants me on oxygen at night to prevent further damage to my heart. That makes sense. So I asked him if I could hook up the oxygen tube to my bipap machine. His answer was no - that the bipap is for air only and cannot be used to deliver O2. That doesn't make sense - my brother uses oxygen with his cpap, as prescribed by his doctor.
So at night, instead of using the bipap, I'm supposed to be inhaling O2 via a little nasal tube. I argued that as bad as my breathing obstruction is, I might as well stick the oxygen tube in my ear as in my nose. My doc said he understood my concerns, "but that's not the way it works". He insists oxygen is the way to go. I think it would be a waste of money - which I don't have because I can't work anymore.
I thought maybe a mild sleeping pill would help me relax enough to tolerate the bipap longer. The doc said no to the sleeping pill, but that I could try melatonin and valerian root to help me sleep at night.
I just want some sleep.