Hi everybody, I'm a CPAP newbie and have been lurking on this board for a few weeks. I figured it was time to tell me story.
I've been a snorer for as long as I can remember. My father was a big snorer, growing up I just assumed that's what people did. Fast forward a few (ok, maybe 20) years and I learn that I not only snore, but I snort, gasp and seem to stop breathing during the night. I never did anything about it because I was never aware of sleep apnea or how it related to snoring and not breathing.
Earlier this year I had abdominal surgery, afterwards the nurses told me they had a hard time getting me off of the anesthesia and had one of the worst sleep apnea cases they'd seen in a while. Having a medical professional tell me that gave me the push to talk to my doctor about it. He recommended a local ENT, who asked me a few questions, poked his instruments into all of the holes in my head and said that yep, based on my thick neck, out of place jaw I probably did have sleep apena. So off I went for a sleep test, the next morning I asked how I did and the tech told me "awful" and said I would be back soon to do another test with a CPAP. A few days later I heard from my doctor and I found out that I had an AHI of 63.9. During the sleep test I had 292 obstructive sleep apneas, 3 mixed apneas, 0 central apneas and 110 hypopneas. My oxygen desaturation was down to 75%.
So then I had another sleep test, this time with a CPAP. They kept increasing the pressure until the AHI came down, at 11 it was less than 3. So they recommended a CPAP with an empiric pressure of 12 cm H20 and that's what I've been using for the last week. I jumped in with both feet, determined to make it work and to keep using it for the rest of my life if necessary because well, I don't want to be dead or have a stroke or an aneurysm from my blood pressure going through the roof.
I've been reading the data every morning with SleepyHead, it shows that the AHI was been under 5 every night aside from the first night I switched from a nasal mask to nasal pillows.
For the last few years I haven't been able to concentrate on anything for very long, I was short-tempered, have gained weight, was wiped out by 5 PM almost every day and was grumpy and grouchy and my wife says it's gotten worse. I've had issues where I've woken up in the middle of the night and find that I can't move at all (sleep paralysis), I've always had OCD tendencies but find that it was getting worse over the last year. I haven't been able to read a book or newspaper in a while because I wasn't able to process what I was reading. Well, I could but it would take reading an article two or three times before it stuck. I've never been one to remember people that I've only met once or twice but it's gotten worse, I would run into somebody who obviously knew me but I had no idea who they were, my wife would tell me about when I met them and spent some time with them but I had no recollection of that at all.
I've been using the CPAP for just about a week and already feel the fog is lifting from my brain. I'm able to concentrate again, I feel that I'm less grumpy and am not as tired as I had been in the past. I'm still tired at the end of the work day but not falling asleep driving home tired or passing out in front of the TV at 6 PM. My wife says that I haven't snored at all since I started using it, she actually reached over to make sure I was actually in bed the first few nights because she didn't hear me making the noises she'd become accustomed to.
The only downside so far is I'm waking up earlier than I'd like to. On a normal work day I have my alarm set to 6:30 but I've been up at 5:45 or 6 PM a few days. That's never happened in the past, I was always hitting the snooze button 4 or 5 times before dragging myself out of bed.
So, that's my story!
I'm happy to be here, there looks like a lot of great information on this site and many people going through the same thing as me.