RE: Hose to Mask Interface
I often get up at night to visit the washroom; rather than removing the entire mask from my face I simply break away the swivel from the mask.... I believe this is of no great consequence to the hard plastic mask nor the the hard plastic swivel as I have been doing it for two years on my four masks (Quattros) and they are none the worse for wear. In fact, I also remove the swivel elbow from the mask when I wash and then disinfect the setup (and the cushions come off and the forehead brace, etc.). When returning to bed after a washroom call I simply plug the hard plastic swivel elbow back into the hard plastic mask casing and go back to sleep.
When washing, it is a good thing to wash properly..... you are unlikely to have a problem by simply swishing the whole thing in hot soapy water and drying but I am anal about germs having spent almost a month in hospital on full life support three years ago due to acute bacterial pneumnia that blossomed so fast we had no chance to hit it before I was unconscious and on a stretcher on the way to the hospital with lights and siren. I am here only by the grace of the Great Architect of the Universe. The ambulance was sitting a block away and was here in under a minute or two. The hospital is two blocks away. The emerg was not busy and there were ER technicians and MD's available to see me when I arrived unconscious. There was ONE ventilator available in an isolation unit in CRITICAL care and I was on it within minutes of arriving, tube down my gullet and the whole nine yards. I had venious and arterial taps put in all the way up my arm across my chest and down the other arm. And so on. Nothing was working to bring me back and kill the bacterial infection. NOTHING WAS WORKING TO FIX ME!! Did you get that? NOTHING. They asked my wife if they could unplug me in the third week as it was unlikely that I would return from the dark side as anything more than a veggie. She said no chance. I awoke two or three days later to two doctors standing at the foot of my bed arguing about unplugging me and putting me on straight oxygen and more morphine (getting the picture?). They put me on oxygen first.... on BIPAP respiration and a day or two later on simple oxygen. It was like being tossed into a lake. I could not breathe and I was awake while this was happening. I sucked for air for all I could...... for my LIFE! And I made it through. On that very day they had me out of bed and into a chair. Took three husky orderlies... my feet brushed the floor although they were carrying me 100%. They watched me in the chair for 5 minutes and then dragged me back into the bed. The next day they wheeled me to "storage". No step down. Storage, where they store those that are catatonic, etc. I struggled my way back to the bright side.... I could not stand, roll over in bed, clean myself, go to the washroom, eat, swallow, drink, NOTHING. Get the picture? NOTHING!! A week later, the moment I could sit up with help I was unceremoniously ejected from the hospital to fend for myself at home. They wheeled me out to curbside and said "bye bye". The first year was a constant struggle and to be quite honest, in this, the third year, it still is a struggle but I get out and about as best I can. I have every specialist you can imagine and it is only through self diagnosis, advocacy, education and the Will of the Almighty that I am here today and returning to a normal life for the Golden Years (which, by the way, are not gold.... that's rust friends, not gold... it's R.U.S.T.!)
So I say to you without a moment's hesitation, only YOU are your best advocate. Add to that a loving spouse and loving children and family and you have a good chance at survival. DON'T GO THERE if you can help it. And one of the things I must tell you is that "CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS" AND THAT 'UNCLEAN WILL PUT YOU NEXT TO YOUR MAKER IN SHORT ORDER AT SOME POINT'.
I have four masks which I rotate, using each for one week at a time and wiping each down with an antiseptic wipe made for respiration equipment each morning. At no more that one week I take that mask and toss it into a basket. It is germ laden. (For those of us that have taken the time..... you can't see them with the naked eye gang). I move on to the next clean mask and so on through all four (now five) of my Quattro masks..... then I fill up the sink with odor free detergent/soap and let them soak for an hour or three and wash using a soft bristles paint brush to get into all the nooks and crannies; rinse thoroughly to get rid of the gunk you just rinsed off; put an ounce of Control III germicide into a gallon of water in the sink and toss everything back in for an hour or three and agitate; rinse very thoroughly in warm water to make sure all of the germicide is gone. Air dry. Reassemble and toss into ziplock baggies. And you are ready to go again. When I am using my humidifier, the tanks get the same treatment and I use only medical grade distilled water from the pharmacy in the tank. Tap water, regardless of how clean you think it is, is water that is not 100% clean. it will leave miniral deposits inside the tank that will eventually ruin the tank but more importantly will give germs a place to hide. DONT USE IT! I wash the tubing in the same manner. Be germ free at all costs, trust me... I have the T shirt.
Rinse the swivel parts especially well as the tiniest bit of soap or foreign matter left inside them will cause them to squeek all night. Otherwise they are self lubricating and should not require any form of lubrication.
DO NOT put any foreign matter, scents, Vaporub, or whatever into the humidifer tank or anywhere else. NOTHING. If it is not intended to be in your lungs do not place it there. It may not seem to be distressing your lungs but eventually it may kill you. And I do not say this lightly, believe me.
Sorry to ramble along; I hope that what I have taken the time to write has struck a chord with just one person....
Educate, Advocate, Contemplate.
Herein lies personal opinion, no professional advice, which ALL are well advised to seek.