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I wish
I wish there was a way to lessen the learning curve for cpap, but we all know there is not. As a recent newbie, I watch and read the frustrations of all who begin the perilous trek. Those who find their way to this forum are fortunate. I can't imagine doing this without being able to communicate with an experienced user. I remember how lost and desperate I felt.

I watch the inflow of newbies and outflow of encouragement and knowledge doesn't stop. NO, it's not just me feeling mushy on Christmas Eve. I just feel sympathy for the newbies and deep appreciation to all of you who help. So there.
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Couldn't agree more!
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When do you know you are not a newbie anymore?
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IMO when reaching Master membership. I noticed when I was moved from new member to preferred member after about a week. I didn't know what was even needed to be promoted to Master Member. I think that is a good transition mark. Although we certainly are still learning a lot even as a Master.
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Newbie is someone who is new to something, a novice or inexperienced

Question ... does one gain experience as times goes by
Answer ... depend one the user, because a driver can be a bad driver with bad diving habits even if been driving for years

Short answer ... when CPAP becomes a routine almost like putting on your pajamas or brush your teeth
This for the mathematicians ... CPAP = Sleep + Nap ✓

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I was in those shoes back in the mid 90s. I had no one to talk to about my OSA, CPAP, masks or anything. No forums (like today), no data capable machines either. This does add much value and help to both the newbies and the old-timers like me that never learned anything - other than practical knowledge.
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional.  My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
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I still feel like a newbie after only a month. I haven't slept through a complete night yet without fussing and fighting with some piece of equipment.
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I still feel like a newbie even though I've been on APAP since August. I'm still trying to find the perfect mask, the best way to keep the hose out of my way at night, and to just finally get one good night's sleep.

I came close last night. I decided to try my Swift FX pillows again, this time with a Tap Pap chin strap
(to keep my cheeks from puffing out) and some Nexcare tape over my mouth (that's not as bad as it sounds).

For the first time ever I only woke up once, and that was because the exhaust vent on the Swift FX was blowing against the sheet making a racket. As a bonus I had one of the lowest AHIs ever.

So, you just never know what's going to work at any given time. I'm going to try the same setup again tonight and see if I can make it two in a row.

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Agreed on all counts. I've only been on CPAP for 4-5 months and it's amazing how far I've come. I feel bad for all the people having trouble getting it to work or those who are suffering without being aware of sleep apnea. I hope we all find relief.
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I think the first time you feel like you can help someone else, then you are no longer a newbie. I'm not sure I feel like a "Master" just yet, but it's a nice lofty title.
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Apnea Board is an educational web site designed to empower Sleep Apnea patients.