I have used my old ResMed VPAP Auto25 10,378 hours until one day I rolled over and pulled it off of the nightstand. I was used to my old worn out hose that would just pop off if I rolled over. I have R.A. and have had a hard time affording insurance so as most of you self pay folks know, you get your supplies when you can afford them. I know it wasn't funny at the time but at one point my Mirage Quattro full face mask frame broke and was held together with DUCT TAPE AND BREAD TIES!!! We do what we must do to survive I guess. Since the fall my Bi-Pap has been making a wheezing sound and my wife said a few times it would just turn off at night and I would stop breathing.
Recently I have almost DIED in my sleep and I have taken measures to get my health back on track. I hope that maybe someone reading this will head my warning and take appropriate measures to prevent the same scenario from happening.
How it all started:
Since being diagnosed with R.A. at various times I have had my enzymes checked to make sure the drugs were not killing my organs and I noticed that my liver enzymes were always high but none of the doctors seemed alarmed. In May 2008 I was injured at work and the company I was loyal to, (Benjamin-Franklin-Plumbing), let me go and as a result I lost my insurance and quit getting R.A. treatment.
I did the only thing I could which was start my own business since most companies won't hire an injured person that can't crank out the sales volume they expect. Over the years I have ate a lot of fast food on the run and caused Fatty Liver Disease. I used to drink energy drinks and coffee daily just to keep up. I also would drink several sodas just to stay awake as well. Recently I changed my lifestyle and decided to cut out; coffee, energy drinks, fast food, sugar, and anything else I felt was hurting my body. I got SICK. REAL FAST.
I had no idea what was happening to me. I started eating veggies that I NEVER ATE in 34 years! I started exercising daily and it made me feel worse. Last month I was going downhill, FAST. I driving in the rain one day and noticed that I felt DRUNK behind the wheel but was 100% sober! Scary. The next few days on the jobsite, I noticed that I was feeling very lethargic and my heart was beating hard & fast. I felt like I was dying.
One day I was working and I almost passed out. I had chest pains, arm & shoulder pains, trouble breathing, dizzy, lightheaded, pulse was racing, and my heart was beating out of my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack and contemplated calling the ambulance but I knew it would be faster if I drove myself. I drove my plumbing van 90MPH to the ER. They did a lot of tests and said it was anxiety and I needed to quit getting stressed out or take Xanex.
The next few days I felt drunk 24/7, in a dream world. The same thing happened again and I rushed to the ER thinking I was dying. Once again, they said stress and anxiety. My BP was 174/110. They told me to follow up with my PCP. Went to the PCP. I had so much anxiety in the waiting room I almost wigged out. I could not control it!!! She did blood tests and even a stool test. She checked for everything, even HIV. Nothing came back. She wrote meds for high BP and wanted to send me to a Neurologist. She only noted I was slightly HYPERglycemic.
Weeks went by and I was getting worse. My emotions were out of control. I could not escape the fact that I was dying. I had a dream one night where I was fully alert but trapped in my body. I could not wake up, open my eyes, or even breathe. I felt like I was in a coma. I prayed and tried with all my might to wake up. I woke up and my heart was racing. I felt like I almost died. I started sleeping during the day only a few hours with my wife watching TV next to me making sure I didn't stop breathing. I was lethargic. She had to wait on me for everything. I was so mentally drained. Here I am, only 34, and I could not work or even go get my kids from school two blocks away. I was a shell of my former self.
It got to the point I was having anxiety about her leaving. Like I said, I felt it was the end for me. I had not left the house in weeks. Two weeks ago her family had early Thanksgiving out in the country. I was afraid to go because I didn't want to have a heart attack so far away from a hospital. I felt it was better to stay home with 911 on stand by since a fire station was only 5 min. away. I was watching the clock count down till they got home and I was so out of it I could not even pay attention to the TV. I was taking a shower and the chest pains hit me like freight train. I was on the verge of passing out. I decided to go to the ER. Her car was there since she took mine but I couldn't find her keys. I went to get into my van but it was blocked in. I went into a panic and called 911.
The paramedics showed up and carted me off to the ER. On the way they did blood work and an EKG. I heard them talking and they said EKG was normal but noticed HYPOglycemia. I got to the ER and my wife showed up. I was cold and shaking. They put two blankets on me but it wasn't enough. They went ahead and admitted me. They put me on a heart monitor and took blood and an EKG every three hours. I said goodbye to my kids and my wife. I called Metlife, got life insurance, and I prayed to Jesus. That's pretty much all you can do. The doctor said he was going to release me. They could not do an ultrasound on my heart or stress test because it was Saturday and they only did them on weekdays. I begged every nurse and doctor I saw to keep me until Monday and do those tests. They were reluctant because I was self pay but the MD finally agreed. He kept saying anxiety over and over. I told him give me a damn Xanex and see what happened. He came in an hour later, my mind was calm (messed up) on the Xanex but heart was STILL racing!
Monday morning came and I said goodbye to everyone and I was approved for my life insurance through Metlife (<---suckers! I thought).
They did the ultrasound, heart looked normal. I went and did the stress test and it looked normal too. I kid you not, 10min later when I was in the room again a lady came in with my $15,000+ bill. 10 min later they released me. I was happy to know my heart was fine but still felt sick. I still felt like I was dying. I went to my PCP again and she had no answers. I felt hopeless.
The next night I had that slipping into a coma feeling again. I awoke terribly frightened, heart racing, emotions crazy. I was afraid to sleep from that point on. I decided that my machine could be part of the problem and decided to do a sleep study again and get a new machine. I called a place called Sleep Healers, told the lady I was afraid I wasn't going to wake up the next time I went to sleep and begged for an appointment. I told her I would drive hundreds of miles if necessary. She was concerned, called an off duty sleep tech. and got me in that night. My wife made sure the tech. was CPR certified and we made sure he was well informed of my situation. I was feeling worse than I had been.
As a last ditch effort I sent her to the store for some fruit before bed and I decided to ask for a blood sugar test kit. While the tech. was hooking me up I took my blood sugar. IT READ 48! WAY LOW! I then took some Glucose pills she had brought me and ate the food. 15min later I started feeling a tad bit better.
The next day when I got home I started doing research to see what was going on. I read medical journals and studies all day. I reviewed all of my records and blood tests. In the hospital my blood pressure was mostly normal except when I stood up. That is called Orthostatic Hypertension. I started looking up Hypoglycemia & Orthostatic Hypertension. I read that abnormal LIVER FUNCTION could cause this!!! Hypoglycemia mimics HEART FAILURE!
The next few days I took my blood sugar religiously and ate well balanced and regularly scheduled meals. I started to feel better! My liver had quit storing Glucose and also had quit giving my body Glucose between meals. After meals I was having reactive Hypoglycemia! The blood sugar would spike and then after the food was digested I would crash like a diabetic on insulin. Blood tests showed my pancreas was functioning normally and I wasn't diabetic. I had done damage to my brain during the low blood sugar episodes which caused the drunk feeling and heart attack feeling. I had almost slipped into a Hypoglycemic COMA at night! Sleep Apnea + Hypoglycemia is DEADLY. It's called Dead-in-Bed Syndrome!
Two days ago, after careful blood sugar control I was up late and checking it. I was dropping 20 points an hour!!! I was scared to go to bed. I got on my knees and prayed to Jesus. I prayed to heal me but if I died let me into heaven. I decided to go to sleep and trust in Him. I woke up 8 hours later and immediately checked my blood sugar. It was within normal range!!! I jumped for joy! My liver had kicked in and was releasing my Glucose reserves during my 8 hour fast! The past few days I am eating lean meats and fresh veggies, no sodium, no sugar, & no caffeine
I was able to do 10min cardio on a treadmill three days in a row and even walked a mile! My brain function is coming back and I read studies that neurons will re-route around the damaged tissue and long term cognitive function will improve
Lesson Learned: Be proactive with your health! Get several opinions by several doctors, Review & study your medical records & tests, Listen to your body, DO NOT let doctors dismiss you or your concerns, a doctor that truly cares will LISTEN to your hypotheses!!!
I hoped by sharing this I may help someone!