I have been using CPAP now for two weeks. I have the Optilife intranasal pillow mask and REMstar Auto A-Flex machine with Humidification. The machine was really easy to use and the mask fitted well. The mask is so easy to fit and adjust, as long as you choose the correct size pillow for your nostrils.
I set it all out and tried it, then left it for later that night. Went to bed, made sure I was fully relaxed, put the mask and machine on and fell off to sleep fairly quickly. The machine is very quiet. Rather than my husband being disturbed by my snoring he said it was too quiet!!
After 4 hours I woke up to go to the bathroom, got back into bed and put on my mask and machine, but had to try 4 or 5 times until I could get comfortable, but unfortunately nothing was helping. I just went into a panic and couldn’t work out how to breathe ‘through’ the machine’s pressure. It was well after 2am by this time so had to give in as my other half (OH) had to be in work before 5 that morning and I was disturbing him too much. My nose seemed really cold too so thought I something must be wrong!
During the following day I went over the instructions/settings etc. and discovered that one of the settings on the machine was set for a different nasal pillow, so altered that and the following night was much better….. apart from the pillow, that made my nose sore!
My first night was a Friday, so when Monday morning came and Philips Respironics (PR) helpline was open I thought I’d call then just to check I was doing things right…but before I phoned them they phoned me and put my mind at rest. They went through a few more settings etc. and I was really impressed with their care towards my condition.
After the scary first night I seemed to adapt to using the CPAP machine. I struggled a bit with the washing of the hose. PR said it only had to be done once a week, but having other health issues I needed some assistance with this. First off I didn’t have enough strength to remove the hose from the machine, so it wouldn’t be something I could do if I were on my own. I’m sure a healthy person would have no trouble. The daily washing of the mask cushion and the humidifier haven’t been a problem…apart from remembering to do them!
My OH has been occasionally watching over me whilst I was sleep and he could see on occasions where I started to snore and the pressure on the machine started to increase, stopping the snore in mid flow so to speak! So I know it’s doing its job there!
My first SD card has been sent off and I am awaiting the results. I’m hoping they will be saying they are as good as I think from reading the settings on the CPAP Machine. It is showing my AHI has come down to around 6 from 62 which was discovered at the initial sleep study. I am just waiting for their confirmation of the readings.
The only negative aspect of the past two weeks has been my own ‘positive mental attitude’…
Although I have been using the machine nightly and for around 7 hrs per night, I actual feel more tired now (I was one of those OSA sufferers who had no idea of the problem as I rarely felt that sleepy). I usually feel fatigued due to Fibromyalgia, but not the feeling of needing to sleep…more like my body is starved of rest, but I had thought after two weeks I may have woken up feeling a little brighter.
I know it’s still very early days and my general health doesn’t really help, but this week I gave in and went to see my GP….. he was actually as surprised at my sleep study results as I was! So he was very understanding as to my coping with it all.
As I had done with my appt. with Mr Oko I decided to type out all what i wanted to say to the GP, mainly about how I felt… unfortunately it went into 4 pages, so I had to just leave the copy there for him. He could see I wasn’t coping so well mentally and has given me some assistance with that.
Its still very early days. I’m not going to give in.
Adapting to using the machine was much easier than I thought it would be, but when you have so many other things going on -I think what you feel inside- it can take a little longer.
Next week I am off to have a Mandibular Advancement Device made up. This was something that had been recommended by Mr Oko for me to use alongside the CPAP Therapy as it would help bring my ‘recessed’ jaw forward a little giving me that extra help at night. Usually only the CPAP or the MAD would be used, but as it seems the bone structure of my jaw doesn’t really suit my breathing pattern!! So that will be another thing to update you on soon.
Although I am struggling coming to terms with all this, I aim to stay positive about using the machine, even if it takes a little extra help from friends and my GP to get grips with it all. It would be great to hear of other people’s experiences, esp. ones who see Mr Oko. I am sure that I am not alone.