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I'm unconvinced
#1
I'm unconvinced
I've been trying to use the CPAP for just under 2 weeks now, and I am not at all convinced that it's worth the effort. I believe I have a good (auto) machine. So far, I've been using it for 2-5 hours a night, but have been removing the mask during the night so I can get some rest. The mask is tolerable, but my awareness of the machine, the straps, the seal, and my sleeping position are interfering with my getting a decent night's sleep. I feel so much *less* well-rested than I did before I started this routine! 

Is it typical to feel so much worse with this thing?? I feel like I'm just going to stick with it for a month to satisfy my insurance company and then put it away forever. I used to look forward to sleeping at night, and I hope to enjoy sleeping again some day. This is torture!
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#2
RE: I'm unconvinced
(11-07-2018, 10:32 PM)Lynnbreathing Wrote: I've been trying to use the CPAP for just under 2 weeks now, and I am not at all convinced that it's worth the effort. I believe I have a good (auto) machine. So far, I've been using it for 2-5 hours a night, but have been removing the mask during the night so I can get some rest. The mask is tolerable, but my awareness of the machine, the straps, the seal, and my sleeping position are interfering with my getting a decent night's sleep. I feel so much *less* well-rested than I did before I started this routine! 

Is it typical to feel so much worse with this thing?? I feel like I'm just going to stick with it for a month to satisfy my insurance company and then put it away forever. I used to look forward to sleeping at night, and I hope to enjoy sleeping again some day. This is torture!

I have to say I feel somewhat the same. I had hoped that my light sleeping was my Apnea, and that PAP therapy would be instantly life changing. But, instead, now I find I wake up and have a machine to stare at and deal with. However, from the data gleaned from sleepyhead, I am breathing better than I did in my test months ago and from when I started using the machine. But I know that while some people can feel noticeably better the first night they use PAP it can take months to acclimate to PAP therapy and really get the full benefit. Just two weeks really isn't enough to form a long term conclusion.

I'd suggest following the forum stickies to see if you have a data capable machine, and, if so, download the Sleepyhead software, import some machine data and post some screen shots and details of your sleep test and your therapy. You haven't posted enough detail for people to really give you more than generic responses.
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#3
RE: I'm unconvinced
Just like anything that is a major change to one's life it takes time to get use to it. Changes in lifestyle like Quitting smoking or quitting drinking are hard to do. But a change in sleep routine is probably the hardest of all. But once you get past that adjustment it becomes very natural to go to sleep with the machine. In fact you'll get to the point where you won't want to sleep without it.

It's a mindset your going to have to adopt for success and your own health. so hang in there and give it time. Also you could download sleepyhead software and post a chart here. There's a good chance we could help with machine adjustments to help make it easier to sleep. Links are below for downloading.
Download SleepyHead
Organize your Sleepyhead Charts
Posting Charts
Beginner's Guide to SleepyHead
Mask Primer
5
Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies.

Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.



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#4
RE: I'm unconvinced
Hi Lynn, welcome to Apnea Board.

There are a few lucky people who get instant improvement using the hose, but for most of us it's a journey. One step forwards and two steps back.The simple answer is that it does get better with time. The realistic answer is that you need to analyse specifically what's going wrong, and what are the options for fixing it.

You mentioned awareness of the machine, the straps, the seal, and my sleeping position. Taking these one at a time...

The machine should be almost silent. However, you will be aware of the pressure, and (perhaps more so) changes in pressure during the night. This can often be overcome by reducing the maximum and increasing the minimum pressure, to minimise the range of pressure swings. In addition you can use the EPR (expiratory pressure relief) to reduce the pressure slightly as you exhale, making breathing easier and overcoming the "drowning in air" experience. However before making any changes, it's important to know what your sleep tests results showed, what your prescription is, and how the machine is actually performing at present (which is best monitored using SleepyHead ).

The straps and seal are related - if the straps are not correctly set, the the mask won't seal properly. It's important to know what type of mask you're using in order to give any concrete advice. However as a general rule the straps should be firm but not tight. If they are causing discomfort they are probably too tight. It's also the case that getting the mask right is the single hardest part of this therapy, and most people need to try several different mask types before they find the one that suits them best.

Sleeping position. As a general rule it's better to sleep on the side rather than the back. However this can often cause problems with the mask being dislodged by the pillow. And a lot of people find that side-sleeping is very uncomfortable, especially if they have problems with the hips or lower back. When using a properly set-up machine, the sleep position is not so important - use the one which is most comfortable for yourself. The machine won't do you any good at all if you can't sleep because your back is hurting!
DeepBreathing
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com


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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#5
RE: I'm unconvinced
Hang in there, it will take some time to get used to it and to fine tune the settings. 

The first few months were tough for me, but two years in and I'm fully settled in to it. 

You can get there with it, and don't stress about the odd high numbers that crop up now and then.. it is not uncommon to have the occasional spike, my numbers normally run in the 0.5 to 1.2 AHI range, but a couple of nights ago I spiked almost a 3.0 .. followed by a 0.2 the following night. 

Stick with it, give it time, ask questions here, and be prepared to make small steps forward as you work it all out.
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#6
RE: I'm unconvinced
(11-07-2018, 10:32 PM)Lynnbreathing Wrote: I've been trying to use the CPAP for just under 2 weeks now, and I am not at all convinced that it's worth the effort.

Don't be discouraged!  It's too early in the game for that.  You ain't seen nothin' yet.  If you stick with it for the rest of the month, and if during that time you carefully try to tune both the machine settings and your habits & expectations, so as to get everything in synch, then in a few weeks (I predict) you'll be feeling much better, more rested, and vastly more optimistic.  If you need general moral support, read some of the testimonials in the "Personal success stories" thread.  (I don't mean the entire thread ... that'd be like sitting through an AA meeting.)

The earlier advice in this thread is good.  It's essential to read a few of the operational primers in the sticky-posts section at the top of this main forum and in the AB wiki.  You need to know how to overcome the common initial problems.  It takes time to absorb all of that.  Personally, I wouldn't even set a giving-up deadline at the end of the first month; it's best to have more time than that just for learning.  I don't know of any current book that is a good introduction to CPAP, and I doubt that there is one (the technology evolves so fast), so Apnea Board is it.  It's the reference and the tutorial and the tech-support hotline.  You might want to print copies of whatever articles you find here that you need to absorb over some number of days or weeks.  That's how I got started, and it was a necessary education.  A year ago I couldn't even spell "hosehead", and now I are one.

Some newbies want a quick cure without any high-tech involvement, without any of these special-purpose computers that are our modern CPAP machines and that seem to need so much attention and fine-tuning.  But unfortunately it's not feasible.  However, you can get to the point at which your machine doesn't need any further attention and fine-tuning, so that you can just put the mask on each night and breathe and go to sleep and ignore the machine.  That's what most of us aim for.

You should ask for specific help with machine settings, mask, routines & practices, etc. as soon as you're familiar enough with the whole context to do that, but first please put the exact make & model of machine and mask in your profile/sidebar.  "Resmed" is too vague.  You did say auto, but is it an Airsense 10 Autoset?  (Resmed S9 Autoset is also good.)  The model name should be on the front of the machine if it's an A10, and you should have been given a copy of the user's guide on paper.  What make & model of mask is it?  If your supplier didn't give you the complete mask package with all leftover components (which would be negligent of the supplier; you need the instruction booklet and the other sizes of silicone nosepiece if there's more than one), can you upload a photo of the mask?  Current nasal models include Resmed N20, Philips Respironics Wisp, Fisher & Paykel Eson 2.  Anything there ring a bell?  There are several other models from the earlier mask generations also in common use.

Resmed A10 (left) and S9 (right):
[Image: 87803221_resmed-a10.jpg] [Image: 87803222_resmed-s9.jpg]

You will find it necessary to adjust the machine's supposedly "advanced" settings on your own, without consulting an RT, let alone wasting a doctor's time with this trivial stuff.  You do that by using the machine's menus in the "clinician mode", and on the Resmed A10 series you get there by holding down the Home button and the tuning knob together for a few seconds.  For more about that, use the "CPAP Setup Manuals" link at the top of the AB web pages and, on the AB front page, the "Adjust CPAP Pressure" menu of links.

When you ask for help with machine settings and possible changes to pressure and EPR (for instance, 8 to 20 is a wide range and it might turn out to be better to narrow that somewhat, depending), the experts (of whom I'm not one) will first want to see your charts from the Sleepyhead software, so be sure that your machine has an SD card installed (2 GB or 4 GB is fine; you don't need a higher capacity, and it's a standard consumer-electronics item that can be bought all over the place) and is recording full sleep data.  Not having full data to analyze will limit the amount and usefulness of detailed advice you can get here, but it's still worthwhile to ask anyway.

The corny pep talk:  I'll say "Good luck", but with CPAP therapy it's not down to luck.  It's down to determination and adjusting the machine & mask to help you as well as possible, based on various feedback and various objective tuning principles.  If you persevere and get through the month OK and continue with the therapy indefinitely to get the huge relief of excellent, restful sleep every night, it'll be because you chose to do that.

But it's inevitable that there will be some discomfort to put up with at first.  What you're going through is normal.  The discomfort will slowly disappear as you get used to wearing the mask and breathing through it, keeping your mouth closed while sleeping, and resisting the temptation to remove the mask in the middle of the night and leave it off.  It's a lot like physical acclimation to exercise, even just walking.  With new hiking boots, there's always going to be a little bit of pain at first, but you know it'll subside and pretty soon your feet and the shoes will fit each other just fine, assuming that you have the right size.  Maybe at worst you'd need some moleskin & band-aids for blisters for a week or two.  The CPAP stuff is similar.

My standard CPAP admonition #1:  You can't expect miracles right away; those will happen later.

My standard CPAP admonition #2:  During the acclimation phase, each of us must try not to be a crybaby, because it ain't nothin' like having a spinal tap done.
"I wanted to be a Boy Scout, but I had all the wrong qualities.  They were looking for kids who were trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.  Whereas I tended to be devious, fickle, obstructive, hostile, rude, mean, defiant, glum, extravagant, cowardly, dirty, and sacrilegious."  (George Carlin)
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#7
RE: I'm unconvinced
I sure did and three months into it I can fall asleep fine but can’t stay asleep because of the things you mentioned plus some other structural throat issues that are not solved by this stupid thing. I’m very frustrated.
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#8
RE: I'm unconvinced
FWIW I felt similar when I started on CPAP in 2015. My machine was set to 18 of 20, was given whatever mask the DME chose, and basically my instructions were "here ya go, put the mask on and then turn the machine on". I was a real noob then, not asking questions, not asking to try other masks.

Results? I didn't make the compliance cut because I "could not get used to the constant high pressure". Having failed compliance, I returned the CPAP. All of 2016, not on any version of CPAP as I was prepping for a bariatric sleeve weight loss surgery.

On to 2017, I did a new sleep study in March, and was issued a Respironics DreamStation BPAP Auto. I eventually failed compliance there as well. It was medically proven to be worse because the BPAP brought central apnea/mixed apnea as a very serious issue with me. I returned that machine.

Later in '17, I talked with the nurse in office at the pulmonary doc's office to discuss why BPAP was not for me and why ASV was. Another sleep study and another machine, called the ASV, was then in the works.

Each machine felt like I was starting over. FINALLY I felt that when I put the mask on and started the machine, it was worth doing. It took me about a month to begin LIKING putting on mask and turning the ASV on.

I suggest not quitting. As others suggest: install SleepyHead, create and post reports, consider following up with actions suggested by others here after they review what is going on overnight, wait a few days to see how these adjustments either help or make something worse, post feedback on results. Remember new habits that replace old, many years long at times, will take more than 2 weeks to replace. Best to your success.

Coffee
Dave

I'm not a doctor in real or fictional life. My posts include opinions based upon user experience regarding CPAP therapy and should not be considered medically professional direction or advice. Even a 1,000 mile trip requires a good first step. My recommended first steps include getting good walking shoes, 1 great cup of coffee, and a good GPS.

Wiki Info for Beginners
Sleepyhead Chart Organization
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#9
RE: I'm unconvinced
Please hang in there.
The first time I used my machine (over 25 years ago) I went into deep sleep right away. I was woken up by the phone. I felt rested and happy for the first time in a long time.
I used that good memory when I felt really rough after using my machine.

I'd draw that memory to me and use it to get past those moments when I wanted to quit.

I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea from the start. My friend who is 2 years younger than I just was diagnosed. He quits breathing 103 times an hour. I bet he would feel better and be healthier if He was diagnosed long ago as I was.

Compliance isn't always easy. However, it's always worth it.
DaveL
Compliant for 25+ years
iMac computer/SleepyHead
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#10
RE: I'm unconvinced
Thanks for all the replies. Seems there is a lot to learn and do. My machine is the ResMed AirSense 10 autoset. My mask is the ResMed AirFit N20. I haven't made any adjustments to the machine. This mask (my second) seems to fit well.

I wasn't particularly bothered before getting on this crazy ride; the only "symptom" was snoring (which was a problem for others, not me). So all I'm experiencing now is the considerable hassle. I don't even know what the benefits are supposed to be. Much to learn.
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