Mar 12, 2009

Where I've been...

Here it is Thursday already and I haven't posted since Sunday. So where have I been? Right here in front of my computer exploring a strange new world.
As I posted previously, I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. Actually, DH had been noticing that I stopped breathing in my sleep for several years; I just didn't want to deal with it. Dumb, very dumb. Moronic. Irresponsible. Just plain stupid.
I had a wake up call and decided that dealing with it was a good idea when I started having some intermittent heart arrhythmias (irregular beats). I went to my doctor. She sent me for a "sleep" study and some heart function tests. Yep, I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (the most common type), or OSA, and my heart is fine. Sleep apnea can cause heart arrhythmias as well as other things like strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetic complications to name just a few.
So my doctor gave me a prescription for a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Basically, you wear a special mask on your face while you sleep and the machine blows enough air into your airway to keep it open so you keep breathing. With OSA, when you sleep, your airway relaxes and/or collapses and it closes off and you stop breathing. The brain notices this and you wake up enough to start breathing again. All this waking up doesn't let you get a good night's sleep so you're sleep deprived among other things.
My doctor couldn't answer a lot of my questions. She referred my to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to have my deviated nasal septum and wonky sinuses checked out. Since the ENT I was sent to also advertises that he is a sleep medicine doctor, I thought I'd at least get my questions answered. Although he did explain my "sleep" test results to me somewhat, he did not answer any of my questions regarding CPAP therapy to my satisfaction. I had gathered some information from the Internet on sleep apnea and CPAP machines. His answers to my questions gave me less knowledge that what I had already gotten from the Internet.
I also contacted my insurance company to find out about coverage. As usual, their answers were nebulous. I would have to go through a contracted DME (durable medical equipment) place to get one in order for it to be covered after my deductible.
So being the anal research fiend that I am, I got back on the Internet. I found sleep apnea message boards and researched products. I learned to read my "sleep" test results in its entirety. I learned which machine would be best for me (there are a lot of them out there). I learned DMEs aren't necessarily the way to go. I learned that there are machines that record your sleep data (like an in-home sleep center) and that you can use the results to keep track and be proactive about your own therapy. Finding message boards with real, live CPAP users who have been there, done that was wonderful; ALL of my questions were answered.
So after being glued to my computer for three days and winnowing through all the data, I ordered my equipment from an online store in Houston yesterday, and it should be here very soon. Once I get it, I will begin my journey as a "hosehead" - a person who uses CPAP therapy to combat OSA. Expect reports on my journey in the future.
A note from my stitching chair: yes, I have been stitching and am posting a picture. I have just a little of the white floss on the lady's hand left to do before I start stitching all the shading around the bottoms of the two hands and the man's sleeve.

3 comments:

mark said...

Wow Lisa! I don't know what to say about the sleep apnea. I think Mark has it as he snores VERY LOUDLY and doesn't dream. We sleep in separate rooms, with doors closed and fans blowing (Taylor and I) as it's that bad...really. I've talked to Mark about this but (yea stereotyping) being a man...what can I say.

As for the stitching, your piece is looking really good. I enjoy seeing your progress.

Mary

Lynn D said...

The key to being able to use the cpap, for me, was finding something other than a mask. I use Nasal-Aire II and use my cpap 100% of the time. I had a problem with rain-out but fixed that with a Hose Huggie that I purchased off eBay.

Cpap therapy is life changing! Best of luck to you.

Cindy F. said...

Thanks for the info and I hate to hear you have the sleep apnea...glad you've done the research! My husband doesn't do it often, but sometimes he'll stop breathing and I shake him...scares the b-jeez our of me!