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Newbie from Greece
#1
Hi everyone,

I'm Costas (or Constantinos, whichever you prefer), I'm 50 years old and I live in Athens, Greece.

As it is obvious, I'm "involved" with apnea problems too!...

Well, to begin with, snoring is a long story for me. Actually it began in my mid 30s and it kept going - and "growing" until now. You see, it was a kind of "acceptable" situation for me - since my father was snoring too for as long as I remember him, so... it was "no big deal" to me. My ex-wife had comments on this: I was snoring like a train or things like that...

My late wife - Theano - is also disturbed about my "noisy habbit" of snoring, but... she got warried too!... You see, she's a very experienced nurse, and she started mentioning - apart from her nuisance about my growing snoring "rhythms" - the fact that I was suffering from apneas too!... So, you see she's a nurse - so I couldn't get away with it, firstly because I love her so much, so I wouldn't like neither to annoy her with my everynight snoring, nor to let her live in agony - every night - about my always "growing" time of apneas, and of course because I love my life too. Eventually, I decided to take a sleep study.

I was accepted for this study by the Pneumonological Clinic of the University of Athens, based in a General Hospital of Athens - Sotiria, so I went there... to take a nap!...

I got all wired up with lots of cables and sensors around my chest and head, said goodnight to the specialized stuff and got to bed... I was awaken a couple of hours later, with the suggestion of fitting me a fullface mask, "for a better nap". THIS was my first "touch" with CPAP, apnea etc. Believe me it was a horrible - traumatic I could say - first impression, since a couple of hours later I woke up, in an extremelly "widny" environment, since CPAP was blowing me with 14cm H2O and it kept doing it with no mercy at all!... I pushed the button, a kind nurse appeared on the door and I aksed her to help me with this... mess!!!... Immediatelly she informed - the already informed - operator about my "situation" and finally... the "winds of change" stopped whipping my face at full speed.

I couldn't get back to sleep, so... for the next couple of hours - as I was waitting for the time to pass - I was "studying" the rhythm of my breath, what was that "thing" (now I know it's named CPAP) was doing, how should I synchronize my exhalation with my inhalation so as to avoid the "blowing" effects taking place inside my mouth, under this mask... It was HORRIBLE!...

This was what I told my wife, as I got back home early this morning.

A few days later, I had my 1st appointment with my Doctor, Professor of the Clinic...

Elaborating on the answers that I gave on the questionnaire I had filled-in, during my sleep test he announced to me that I had AHI 27, with the longest period of apnea driving my oxygen on the blood down to 78% and that this lasted for about 1 minute - 58 secs he said.

That was it!... It was THEN the first time in my life that I took my snoring seriously... Although Theano (my wife) was "alerting" me for the last one year - at least - about "my situation", THIS was the first time that I realized how serious things are... I was informed by the Doctor about the possible problems with my health that might arise in the future, due to apneas, and finally he suggested me the use of CPAP as the only way out. As I asked him about the possibility of surgical solution, he denied it, saying that the results will be only temporary - if any - and he concluded by telling me that actully the cause of my problem is my throat - which is very narrow, so... there's no surgical solution available for me.

Since the "sample" of my sleep recording was almost enough for him to come to a conclusion about my therapy, he gave me the chance to test for 6-8 days a CPAP at home. To be honest, I was not so fond of the idea of this big mask over my face - for the rest of my life. I felt like I was wearing the mask of a fighter jet pilot, only... I was neither a pilot, nor I had a fighter jet to fly...

My wife and I went to the Main Distributor of Philips Respitoncs, I was introduced to System One - 60 series APAP, which was... accompanied by a tiny little mask, named Pico!... I took it home for 8 days. I slept with it from the first night - all night through.
My wife was smilling at me, as I woke up next morning: "Darling" she said, "it's the first night after so many years, that you slept so well, and you know what?... I splet too!!!". She was right!... System One and Pico became the 3rd "person" in our bedroom. For a couple of nights I had Pico losing air, I was a bit annoyed, but... again I was back to sleep!... If I have to complain about something for this "relationship" was that Pico was losing some air from time to time - which annoyed me a bit. System One was "forcing" me to follow its tempo, and this was hursh for me - in the beginning. It also reved up and down and - well... believe it or not - I could hear it!... It's not so quiet after all... I also begun to have a "rainny" nose, for a couple of hours after I finish my treatment, starting with a dry nose.

What I didn't like mostly on the PR CPAP was the absense of information about my progress. I believe this therapy must be based on an "interraction" between the "user" and the "machine" in order to "motivate" the user by monitoring his/her progress. Also, Pico is small, nice and comfortable mask to wear, but... it's very - very noisy!... The air is getting out of its one hole - positioned in front/top of it, spraying continuously with air anyone against you. Of course, I could not sleep on my side, facing my wife. She could easily catch a cold!...

Still... the results on PR System One - 60 Series where pretty encourraging: AHI 5, 90% press @ 12cm H2O, air leakage from mask @ 25 liters, while the settings - prescribed by my Doctor - were: Pmin 7, Pmax 14cm H2O, no ramp, AFLEX 3 and... no ramp at all...

I took the several pages printout to my Doctor, Professor of the Clinic, who was very pleased with the results. He asked me again about my impression about the CPAP therapy and of course I could do nothing else but to declare the change I was already feeling while waking up in the morning, having enjoyed a much better sleep, and how much more "energetic" I was feeling during the rest of the day.

Unfortunatelly, the company was a bit... stiff with the money issues, they were not very "flexible" in terms of the amount I had to pay them. Here I must mention that CPAP equipment in Greece can be bought either individually or through a digital medical prescription issued by a National Hospital or a doctor working for the National Health Care System. In this case I have to pay the 25% of the cost of the CPAP (which must include the full system, with the mask, but without humidifier - not necessary...). The National Health System in Greece has set a top value of 1050 Euros for such a CPAP, which is the final price for most of the CPAP equiment sold in Greece. I think the price is too high considering the 600$ which is the cost for a PR System One in the US, as I can read in the various online vendors. Still, the PR System One - 60 Series Auto was a bit more expensive: only 1150 Euros, without humidifier... of course.

During this period of my PR CPAP trial, I started "digging" the Internet, trying to find out as much information as possible regarding apnea syndrome, equipement, masks etc. Actually, this is how I... met you guys!...

I asked my doctor to give me the chance - if possible - to test another CPAP I had seen in the Internet and is available in Greece: Weinemann Prisma 20A Auto. And yes!... I was given the chance to take one at home - by the aid of my good Doctor. He just made a call to another company and... a couple of hours later... a new "partner" was in my hands: Weinemann /  Prisma 20A, accompanied with a nasal mask too: Resmed Mirage FX.

Prisma 20A is an impressive black CPAP, with a huge (almost...) colour touch screen. It can be connected to a humidifier and it supports heated tubing too - built-in the CPAP main body. It's output for the tubing is in front. The whole construction looks (and in fact it is so) very sturged, yet "prety" one could claim. Simple, well defined lines outline the CPAP. It's got a clock, alarm clock, mask testing and various alarms and an algorith similar to AFLEX - CFLEX functions of PR machines. The main difference is that the turbine of Prisma 20A works at constant (high) revs while PR CPAPs work with variable revs. This makes 20A able to offer less "agressive" curves on it algorithms, giving the patient an "easier" and more "friendly" way to inhale / exhale, while keeping full Auto CPAP functionallity. This is what the Germans say... So, as you can understand this CPAP is: "Made in Germany".

In my experience I had to do with a more "mild" air blowing in my mask, making my breathtaking easier. To be honest I can tolerate high pressures easier and I never caught myself having difficulties in exhilation - which sometimes happened to my with the PR CPAP.
I also like very much the every day report 20A is providing me, each day, after I finish my treatment, letting me know about the AHI, mask leakage and total evaluation of my sleep. Easy to read checkmarks (1-3) and some values like number of AHI/hour, leakage in liters etc. I should not forget to mention the auto start / stop function, each time it "senses" the mask is connected / disconnected from my face.

But... life is not always nice... So, I had problems with my mask. Mirage FX - standard edition - was "one size". It was difficult for me to get used to from the very firsrt moment I put it on my face. Lots of people say what a great mask it is. It wasn't for me...
The first night I used it I woke up after a couple of hours of sleep, with a very sour nose, my eyes were full of tears and red, my throat was aching me as my nose. I though "I'll give it a try again"... I tried for the next one hour to start over, but it was impossible for me to breath. I felt like the mask was pushing my nose, I couldn't breath even without the tubing and the CPAP... Finally, I left it unused for the rest of my first night...

I should not forget to mention that the mask was leaking air from all around it - especially from the upper (eyes) and lower (mouth) sides. In order to compensate these leaks the specialist from the company I took it of had strapped the mask too tight on my face. In the morning my face still had "stripes" on it and I had a pain between my mouth and my nose. I didn't like it at all...


Next night was better, as I re-arranged the straps holding the mask on my face, but still, each time I put the mask on my face - although now it's more comfoetable in terms of wearring it, still I feel that it's closing my airgates... Please note that Prisma 20A was set to start @ 4cm H2O ramp for the first 15 minutes, which gives me the time to get used to the mask, air etc. Still, the feeling is: unconfortable.

A friend of mine - CPAP user since 2001 - took me to another company. They listended to my "problem" and recommended another mask: F&P Eson. From the very first moment I put it on - I loved it!... So light, so gently tightened on my face and yet no air leaks. Last but not least: EXTREMELLY QUIET!!! Like as if I'm not breathing at all!!!... Plus, it's got 2 pieces of air shields (medium & large) in the box, so I can exchange the one that's right for me with a second one of my size. With Eson I'm buying one mask with double lifetime of operation!... They gave me one mask, so tonight I'm gonna use it - instead of the Mirage FX I was using till now. I'm sure looking foreward to put it on an see how it works during my night sleep.

I asked Eson mask from my current CPAP provider and said it's not possible to provide me with one, "but we can surelly find something else as good and ever better"...

I must say here that although I start sleeping with my back on bed, during the night I turn and continue sleeping on my side. Mirage was able to let me follow this habit, although it starts losing position and sprays me with some air. One morning I woke up and my eyes were acking me - as if I had hurt them, like banging on them all night long... I'm sure it was due to air leakage towards my eyes...

So... to sum up my first post, this is my current experience on the "CPAP Story", that arouse suddenly in my life. I hope that by the end of this week, when I will meet my Doctor again, I wiil be given his digital prescriprion that will enable me to buy a CPAP set. IMO the right combination will be: Weinmann Prisma 20A with humidifier (and a heated tubing) accompanied by F&P Eson nasal mask. Until I buy them, I'm leaving emtpy these "details" in my profile.


I know it's not easy to get used to live with a mask for the rest of your life... I know I have to do it for my health and for the people I love and care about. So, I will keep on using it. I hope someday I will be able to have very low AHI numbers and live a much better life.
Till then, I hope, I'll be having you as "partners" in this story and through this very usefull in every aspect forum, I'll be sharing my experiences, problems, worries and pleasures of this... trip, of course along with yours.

Thanks

I hope I didn't get you bored or tired - I'm saying this for those who might have read this post till the end. Also, thank you very much for your patience. I promise my next post wont be that long!...

Thank's again for reading this!... and thank you very much for this wonderful forum - consisting of all of you people!

Costas
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#2
Welcome

Welcome Costas. I read your entire post. Stick with it -- it gets better.

Regards,

Mongo
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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#3
Hello Costas and welcome to our forum! You have found, in my opinion, the best forum for Sleep Apnea on the net. Thanks for giving us your interesting background and it does not sound all that dissimilar from what many others have gone through in "getting used to an alien being strapped to your face that is blowing air into you all night long" to quote on of our members! There will be an acclimatization period, but finding the right mask FOR YOU is one of the keys of your CPAP treatment being successful.

I am not familiar with that machine you listed but perhaps others are. As long as it is data capable...read the forum article at the top entitled "CPAP machine choices" to understand what I mean. To make sure you get a machine that is capable of recording meaningful data of your nightly use that can be seen by you and analyzed by us here on the board (if you wish) to give you advice on how to better tweak your settings to make them optimal and more comfortable for you.

I would invite you to download Sleepyhead Software and organize the data meaningfully (all the links are in my signature below) and a copy of your sleep study would also help the fine folks give you advice on the type of machine you need as well as the best settings you might want to start out at.

My experience here at the forums which will be echoed by many others, is that the advice you get here by our resident experts will more than likely eclipse any and all advice you will get from your equipment provider. Though it sounds like your doctor is very knowledgeable and willing to work with you to help you get the best therapy possible. That is great!

In any case. It sounds like you are on the right track so keep up the good work and the good attitude. Many people give up with CPAP at the initial stage due to the difficulties encountered in making it all work. Good for you for sticking it out and doing your research and finding this forum! There is lots to learn and read here so read all the articles you can to educate yourself. That is the best thing you can do for yourself. Invest time in your own well being.
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#4
Welcome to the forum, costas,

I wasn't bored by your story at at all. It appears you got a bit of a rough start but are making good progress and adapting to the therapy. I'm not at all familiar with the machine you are using. There may be others who can advise you on how to optimize your therapy.

Finding the right mask, as you have discovered, can be a real challenge. I don't know what is available to you with respect to mask selection but here is a link to a mask primer that may help you with adjustments and coping with leaks. http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...ask_Primer
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#5
I read your entire post too.  Quite a story.  
You have a great attitude, I'm sure you will do well.
Welcome to Apnea Board!
Sleep-well
OpalRose
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com

How to Organize and Post ScreenShots

http://sleep.tnet.com/resources/sleepyhead/shorganize
https://sleep.tnet.com/reference/tips/imgur

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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#6
I read it too. Stick with this Costas. My numbers untreated were pretty close to yours, My AHI was 27 and my O2 saturation nadir was82% for 1 minute. Getting a CPAP was the most amazing thing, and after 3 weeks of nightly use I never want to be without Weezy, my Resmed Airsense 10 Auto. I initially settled on a Eson 2 nasal mask, works quite well on me, and have switch to a Airsense P10 nasal pillow, which is just a bit more convenient.

Best wishes and keep posting.
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#7
Thanks a lot guys!... Smile

I wouldn't even dream of such a warm wellcome!... Wink

What I forgot to mention about Weinmann Prisma 20A is that of course it is equipped withn an SD card, in which "the story of my night therapy" is recorded. The file format is: therapy.pdat

I wish I knew if the available in this forum software is able to read this file. If anyone knows, please let me know.

It's also equipped with a mini-USB connector, which I don't know (at the moment) how it can be utilized. As soon as I find out, I will let you know.

I promise to upload photos and specifications of this CPAP, along with a formal review, as soon as I have mine, in my hands.

We'll be in touch, that's for sure!...


Costas
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#8
(04-18-2017, 01:38 PM)TASmart Wrote: I read it too. Stick with this Costas. My numbers untreated were pretty close to yours, My AHI was 27 and my O2 saturation nadir was82% for 1 minute. Getting a CPAP was the most amazing thing, and after 3 weeks of nightly use I never want to be without Weezy, my Resmed Airsense 10 Auto. I initially settled on a Eson 2 nasal mask, works quite well on me, and have switch to a Airsense P10 nasal pillow, which is just a bit more convenient.

Best wishes and keep posting.

Hello TASmart and thank you very much for your encouraging words!

I would like to ask you about the Eson 2 nasal mask that you initially used. Did it come with ONE or TWO replacement nasal silicone fixtures? The Eson comes with TWO. How about the Eson 2?...

Thank you very much.

Costas
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#9
(04-18-2017, 02:23 PM)Costas P Wrote: What I forgot to mention about Weinmann Prisma 20A is that of course it is equipped withn an SD card, in which "the story of my night therapy" is recorded. The file format is: therapy.pdat

I wish I knew if the available in this forum software is able to read this file. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Check this thread for an answer:
http://www.apneaboard.com/forums/Thread-...#pid168275

Moderator DeepBreathing says Sleepyhead will not work with the Weinmann Prisma 20.
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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#10
(04-18-2017, 03:58 PM)justMongo Wrote:
(04-18-2017, 02:23 PM)Costas P Wrote: What I forgot to mention about Weinmann Prisma 20A is that of course it is equipped withn an SD card, in which "the story of my night therapy" is recorded. The file format is: therapy.pdat

I wish I knew if the available in this forum software is able to read this file. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Check this thread for an answer:

Moderator DeepBreathing says Sleepyhead will not work with the Weinmann Prisma 20.

Thank you very much for your reply.

I have already downloaded the Sleepyhead s/w but it cannot read the therapy.pdat file. I alsol tried to rename the file to therapyp.dat, but still it was impossible for Sleephead s/w to read it again.

I know that the appropriate s/w for Weinmann Prisma 20A is the Prisma TS s/w which is supposed to be given only to therapists and to Weinmann resellers. I'll do my best and try to locate it. If I have any news on this, I'll be back.

By the way: have you got any relationship with Greece? I saw the: Μολών Λαβέ in your "Other comments" so I thought I might ask you.

Costas
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