Today I went to Dr. Saad for my CPAP check up. It has been a year since my first appointment with him to the set up of my machine. I finally got the information I needed regarding my 2 tests and why I would need CPAP.
CPAP is the acronym for “continuous positive air pressure”. If you are snoring or aren’t getting enough air to your body parts while you sleep, CPAP is a way to get that air. If you are having trouble with your memory, staying asleep, feel tired all day after you think you have slept you might want to be tested. Your care specialist has to refer you to a sleep specialist and then you will get either a home sleep test or an in-house sleep test. Your insurance company will determine what you will get. I wish I had gone straight to the in-house study because I ended up having to pay for 2 studies. After the tests, the specialist gets the results and then if you need CPAP you are asked to choose a medical supply store. They will contact your insurance company and determine what you end up paying for the machine.
Around the 3rd of May I was fitted for my mask, I chose the pillow mask. It is less gross looking and fit better than the full mask I had on during the in-house test. The respiratory therapist showed me how to use the mask and the machine. Mine is a RES-MED brand. About the size of a jewelry box. Since you are supposed to take this thing wherever you go over night it comes with a travel case. Please refer to the instructions that comes with your machine or go to youtube.com if you need visuals.
The first few days I had no trouble using the machine. It felt like a friend sleeping with me. My setting is 5 and that is mild. Some people have settings so much higher. The nasal pillow is gentle to wear. The pillow fits in your nares, the 2 hole in your nose. There is also humidity you can adjust so you don’t get a dry feeling in your nose. The machine is designed to gently open your throat around your epiglottis (the thingy in the back of your throat) and move air to your head and body.
I have had trouble liking the mask after a couple of weeks. I started getting agitated with it and was taking it off for a few minutes then putting it back on. That is okay. Just tell yourself that this is a necessary treatment and then work with it until you make peace with it. After a month I am okay and I use it every night. I only sleep 3-4 hours so when my doctor looked at the compliance data he was worried. I had 75% compliance rating since May 7th. I told him I hadn’t been on it for 30 days yet. He was good with it. There is a SD card in the back of the machine. And, yes, the insurance requires it to prove you are using the machine as prescribed or they will take it away from you and not pay their share. It also allows the doctor to see if it is benefiting me.
Dr. Saad told me that the initial test showed that I quit breathing more than 10 times during the short time I actually slept. Okay, that was significant enough information for me to believe that this is a legitimate treatment. So, tonight I will thank the little machine and be more accepting of it.