Off to law school, and scared as hell...
*I originally posted this on the apnea support forum, but it seems like that site is a bit dead, so I was guided by a very kind member over here*
I'm new to this community, but it looks to be a wealth of resources and knowledge, and I look forward to growing with all of you.
A bit of background on my situation:
For the better part of ten years I've noticed that I've always been on the drowsy side. Never really been able to fully focus, always a bit irritable, and just generally "fuzzy". After my girlfriend reported seeing me making weird noises in my sleep, I finally decided it was time to get my condition diagnosed. I also found out that waking up a dozen times a night, is NOT normal, and craved to be like all my othe friends, who were able to sleep soundly through the night. My aunt suffers from sleep apnea, and she informed me that it is indeed genetic, and that I should go to a sleep study to get down to the bottom of this.
Now we arrive at my first problem... Sleep studies. I went about 4 or 5 years back and was not able to sleep at all, hence an inconclusive study, and no offer for treatment.
For my next study, I went in fearful that I wouldn't be able to sleep, and of course, just like the first time, I barely slept at all... In fact, I think I slept for a total of two hours. It was brutal. Fortunately, my doctor could tell that I was 100% convinced I had sleep apnea, and he provided me with a prescription for a CPAP, with a prescribed pressure of "4". He then booked me for ANOTHER sleep study to determine how much pressure should be employed for future use.
There was about a 1 week window between when I got the machine and my next sleep study, so I took it home and I immediately felt a different afte only one day of use. I felt more awake, and felt a lot more positive on the whole, but I was still waking up a few times at night. After a week, my therapy hour readings were at about 5 hrs average, and my AHI was reading an average of about 8.5. I figured the pressue would likely have to be adjusted, but I was told I'm not able to do this myself, and have to wait on the results of this next sleep study...
So.... I went to my third sleep study, this time a titration, and wouldn't you know, I lay there with my eyes closed for 6 hours straight. After finding out I had slept for barely an our, I asked the nurse if she could unhook me, because I was furious and just wanted to go home.
I swear to God, I am cursed. I CANNOT SLEEP at these studies and it's obviously hindering any progress I could be making with this machine.
So now, onto my questions.... Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
1. My doctor would not raise my cpap pressure based on the inconclusive results on the study, just as I had predicted. I am able to read all the data on my machine, so should I just be making the adjustments myself? I live in Canada right now and will be moving to the US tomorrow for law school, but do doctors in the US accept data recorded on CPAP machines as reasonable in making recommendations for changing air pressure? Is it really dangerous to make changes myself, even if I make the changes very gradually over a long period of time?
2. Ever since I moved back home, where the A/C is constantly blowing, I have not been able to wear my nasal pillow for very long at all, because my mouth would completely dry out. II played with the humidification settings to no avail, and kept pushing on assuming I just couldn't help but mouth breathe because I have a deviated septum as well, which really seems to close my nose up at night. I eventually went back to the CPAP provider, and they switched my Resmed FX with a Philips Amara full face mask, which I've been using for 2 days, and though I dont mind the feel of it, I now have puddles of drool collecting because I sleep half on my stomach and half on my side. The air pressure setting of 4 also seems to be very low with this mask, and I question whether it's even helping. Given my deviated septum and my habit of mouth breathing, should I stick with the full face mask? How do I fix this issue of drooling??
3. Every time I discuss my issues with my CPAP provider or doctor, I feel like they just listen, and then send me off without really taking the time to explore real solutions. The latest proposition from my doctor was suggesting an oral appliance, but unfortunately I no longer have health insurance from my old workplace, and health care in Canada does not cover these appliances, so I simply can't afford one. With that being said, does anyone think that is even a worthwhile option?
That's all for now... sorry for the enourmous first post, but I am kind of bummed out now after all the progress I've made to be experiencing the above mentioned difficulties. I guess I'm just asking someone to make me some recommendations based on their experience, because no one else seems to be doing that...
Thank you in advance for your help.