List of CPAP Essentials
1) A hose snuggle - AKA Tube Cover. It helps cut down "rain" in your tube if you use humidification. You can get them in different colors and patterns. If you can afford the Australian-made heated tubing, go for it, but, a cover is a little cheaper and much more fashion-savvy. Buy them anywhere CPAP supplies are sold. TIP: Follow the directions and use the bag the cover comes in over the end of the tube to help it slip through the cover. It will save you HOURS of frustration.
2) A hose buddy. I cannot stress this enough. The hose banging on the back of the headboard, against the wall, into the blinds, against your sleeping partner's head, etc. will drive you both more crazy then your snoring EVER did. Get one - it is worth the $$$! cpap.com sells a nice one, but, there are probably others wherever CPAP supplies are sold.
3) Ayr with aloe AND Lansinoh. jules' tip. These creams will save your skin and nostrils (nares) if you use nasal pillows/posts/snaps. Ayr is in the cold/flu section of Wal-mart right next to #5 below. Use it to moisturize your nares. It also helps with nasal pillow seal if you don't use too much. A little goes a LONG way. Lansinoh is found in the infant breast-feeding section of Wal-mart. Guys - swallow your pride or have a lady buy it for you. It is worth the money and possible embarrassment! It is pure lanolin and will save your face! It will moisturize and help heal your skin in case you have any issues with a nasal/full mask or the headgear straps. If the price seems a little too much for your taste, PLEASE remember that you only need a VERY small amount. Less than the size of a dime will cover a big area. You will be surprised. And, in this case, a little is better than nothing.
4) Toe Bandages and Elastic. MORE jules' tips! Toe Bandages are in the bandage and/or foot care aisle in Wal-mart. These are great if you can't afford Strap Guards ($2.23 for 3 5" bandages at Wal-mart). Or, if you can, they are great in a pinch for traveling or temporarily until your strap guards are washed/dryed. You can cut them to any size. If you need a more "exact" approach - try Molefoam or Mole Skin in the same aisle. SHAMELESS PLUG: PAD A CHEEKS are wonderful and can be used/washed again and again. Elastic is in the crafts/fabric section of Wal-mart. I got 1/4" width, but, you can get what works for your situation. You can even get different colors! You can cut any length you need to help with the fitting of your mask. Maybe your mask is okay but could use a little more tightening or stability. Tie some elastic on the mask and experiment. You may find it masks a good mask that perfect mask! There are pictures of examples right here in cpaptalk.com for a lot of different masks.
5) Some kind of saline nasal wash. YOU choose the right one for you and your budget. I got the NeilMed squeeze bottle type. If you fill out their little survey they will send you a free caddy to dry it after washing it to keep it sanitary. Keeping those sinuses clean will cut down dryness in your sinuses and throat. It can also help kill nasty cold and flu germs!
6) A Medical Alert Tag. This states that your CPAP is medical equipment. It is great if you are traveling via plane, train or bus. It will allow you to keep the CPAP with you at all times so it won't get stolen or damaged.
7) Cleaning supplies. This one is your choice and what best works for you. I use Ivory dish washing liquid (the CLASSIC 99.9% pure product) for every-day quick cleaning. My therapist said NO DAWN! It is important that the soap be pure and mild. Then, I use CONTROL III disinfectant once a week. This will keep everything sparkling and won't "eat" the plastic. Make sure to follow the CONTROL III directions exactly and don't over-concentrate the solution. They also have instructions for a spray-bottle every day disinfecting for germaphobes like me! Some folks use baby shampoo, Joy, vingegar/water, etc. Again, whatever works for YOU and you can afford if your budget is tight. There are examples everywhere for different cleaning solutions.
8) cpaptalk.com - you may have questions and they have answers. They are helpful, sweet and attentive. And, I just happen to use cpap.com and cpapauction.com which are all the same family. This is a SHAMELESS plug for these websites and is NOT paid for nor requested by them in any way. I am just so pleased with the customer service (MONICA!) at cpap.com, the WONDERFUL folks here on cpaptalk.com and the GREAT prices at cpapauction.com. C'mon - it's not often you can find so many great things in ONE place anymore.
9) and 10) Patience and persistence. Please don't give up. It may take some time for this to integrate into your life, schedule, routine, etc. It is worth the time and effort you put into it. This is your life and health. Isn't it worth the time and effort?