My First Thirty Days
I’ve just competed my first thirty days of sleep therapy, and I wanted to check in.
I went about this a little bit backwards (I see I am not alone). I’ve known for some time, via my wife, that I had OSA. But I’ve hated the idea of going to a sleep lab, for a variety of reasons, none of them logical no doubt. I read in the NY Times about home sleep tests, so I prevailed upon my ENT doc to prescribe one. My AHI was 77.
I’m 60, a bit overweight, I do walk 5-10 miles a day in the course of my work (I live in Manhattan) and outside of allergies that I am getting shots for, my only health issue is hypertension. Over the years I’ve had to go from 80mg of Diovan to 160mg, and two years ago, to 320mg. Even then my bp was around 135/90.
I never really felt deathly tired, had issues driving, or had trouble doing my job. I was napping almost every afternoon for 20-30 mins though, on top of the 7.5 hours of sleep I get every night.
So now that we have the home test, the doc wants me to go to the sleep lab for sure to get all the titration info, and I still don’t want to go, and I know she’s not going to get me a scrip for a machine without it. Then there’s the issue with the DME and the insurance company 13 month rental thing, and the compliance issue. So after reading up here and elsewhere, I turn to that old standby of the free marketplace, Craigslist. I find a company who is selling a bunch of new APAP machines and masks from the inventory of a DME that closed down.
The machine is a BMC RESmart auto, a less expensive Chinese-made machine. Not popular here it seems. But it hits all the points, ramp, auto titration, heated humidifier, access to data via a website, etc etc. And best of all, it’s only $200 plus $25 for an Aspen full frame mask (which I need since I breathe thru my mouth when sleeping).
I’ve read somewhere that 30% of users can’t tolerate the mask and stuff, and I’m claustrophobic to some degree, so I’m not sure if I will be one of the 30%. I figure my co-pay to the doc is $30, so if I can’t tolerate therapy at all, I can probably re-sell the machine and come out ahead. If I can tolerate therapy, I can always sell it and get a better machine.
When I got my machine and mask, had no problem setting it up. I was only able to tolerate it for three hours the first couple of nights, but I improved as I went along. Of course I have nothing to compare it against, but the machine seems to do what it is supposed to do. It seems to have a couple of minor glitches; sometimes it throws the same code for a single day, which it shouldn’t. I found that rebooting the machine every day took care of that. I wish it had an actual power switch so I don’t have to pull the plug every day. My AHI has been running between 2 and 5, less lately.
I’ve attached the report the machine gives, if anyone has any comments.
A couple of weeks ago I decided the best upgrade I could do would be a better mask, so I bought the ResMed Quattro full face. Big difference. The double seal and more custom fit has solved the air leakage problems I was having with the other mask. I also went from a six foot hose to an eight, which was a world of difference. I spoon, and I sleep on both my left side and right side. The longer hose gives me the room to move around.
I’m not all the way there yet as I’m having trouble wearing the mask for a full night. I can’t get thru the night without having to urinate at least twice (always had this problem since I was a child). Some nights I will wear the mask the whole night thru, but my typical night is go to bed at 10, wake up 12-1AM and feel a compulsive need to get rid of the mask, which I do. Sometimes I won’t even remember doing it. Then I’ll get up again around 3-4 and put it back on, until the alarm goes off at 5:30. From the stats I posted I am on the mask about 5-1/2 hours a night. However my wife says I am not having that many breathing incidents even without the mask. Hopefully as time goes on I will feel less compelled to dump the mask in the middle of the night.
My sleep patterns tho have been somewhat disrupted. I guess this is a good thing. I no longer feel tired enough to nap in the afternoon, so that gives me back a half hour a day to do something useful. However 1-2 times a week, I’ve been unable to sleep past 3AM. I get up and read, and if I’m lucky, I can go back at 4:30 or so for a last bit of sleep. I guess over time I will be able to either go to bed later or wake up earlier.
My wife reports she is sleeping better, since she is not listening to me hold my breath while kicking me. Lol.
My dreaming has improved. Increasingly, I was having more and more nightmares. I’m having almost none of them now, while the dreams I have been experiencing are better.
Last but not least, my blood pressure has been sinking rapidly. While on 320mg of Diovan, it started to go below even 120/80, so a week ago I started cutting the pills in half (160mg). This morning, it was 125/67, so in a few more days I might try to reduce to the dose again to 80mg. That would be way cool. Be even cooler to get off it altogether.
Thanks everyone, it is a pleasure to be here with so many helpful people!
PS: I told my ENT doc about by bootlegging the machine, and thought she would be annoyed at me. But I brought my stats with me and she was quite happy. In fact she wrote me a scrip so that I could file a claim for machine and mask with my insurance company. Don’t know if they will pay, but we’ll see.
PPS: I'm having some trouble with the attachment so if that doesn't work here is a link to the image of the machine data.