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Two and half months - And a Q - Long
#1
This post is really long... No apologies for that.... Just wanted to share where I am at in this thing called sleep disorder recovery with a group of folks that really understand this sort of thing.

I have been reading threads here, and lurking around the treads a lot. I don't know you folks very well yet, and am getting to know the commenters here better by doing the lurking. I appreciate this forum, as finding others that are "recovering sleeplessites" that are willing to share their experiences is really great. [recovering sleeplessites is not a medical term! just made it up...].

All my working life as an RT, I was pretty good at intuitively listening to folks, in order to be a better therapist with the patients that came my way. In looking back over that 35+ years, I am amazed that I spent soooo much time focused on other's health problems, and not very much on my own health problems. Over ten years of a sleep disorder is a good example!

Anyway, I ramble.... Perhaps it is the recovered sleep I have gained that allows me to be in this sort of inquiry. I've been using my CPAP now for two and half months. I can't say that I am fully used to it.... Actually far from it. I notice that I still awaken x2 at night. Some nights many more than that. I don't take the mask off as much in my sleep now, tho. It's not the BPH that wakes me up like so many men in their sixties.... I am wondering if I am just "used to " shorter sleep periods from my working life.

When I became a RT many years ago, I started surviving on 4-6 hours a night of sleep because of the workload. [i worked in a small hospital for the first half of my career, and got called in a lot to the ER at night and weekends]. When I think about it, I think I may have had a sleep disorder for more than 30 years.

I don't know how I could have possibly survived that long with crappy, poor sleep patterns? Perhaps the following is how I did it: Good quality "off-time", lots of vitamins, great access to really great physicians that "doctored" me, strong belief in a higher power, and therapeutic massage on a regular basis..... [not nec. In that order]. These things I think have kept me alive this long.

When I retired a year ago from the University of North Carolina Hospitals, Pulmonary Diagnostics Services Dept., I really thought I was going to die for about a year prior to when I actually retired. Looking back, I see that I had finally met a certain degraded threshold of fatigue. I am only noticing this now as having actually regained some sleep benefit in the past two and a half months of night-time CPAP!

So my question. To everyone is this: did you have such a realization as you began recovering from your chronic sleeplessness? Oh-jeezThinking-about
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#2
No apologies Whitjr...I've seen longer posts........
I'm glad you deceided to share, and many of us have similar stories.

I'm in the same age bracket as you and know now that I've had sleep apnea for 10 or more years.

I retired from my job a couple of years earlier than I would have normally. I wanted to keep working, but just couldn't keep up. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but falling asleep at my desk just didn't work, and driving home wasn't fun either. I had an hour drive each way and couldn't stay awake.

I've always had the yearly physical, but my doctor never noticed the symptoms, even though I repeatedly told him how tired I was and that I was not sleeping more than 2 to 3 hours a night.

When I look back over the years and realize that I could have been treated earlier if doctors were more intune and listening to patients. At first I was just angry about it, but it's been 7 months now on APAP and am so thankful to God that I was finally diagnosed. I no longer get up at night, and very seldom feel like a need a nap during the day, and thanks to this Forum, I have learned how to fine tune my pressure settings and get pretty good results. It is a learning process.
Sometimes, I just take time and read through older threads...there is so much to learn.

I wish you luck in your journey.

This morning, my AHI was the lowest since I started, it was 0.2
Life is good!




OpalRose
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#3
I felt for the past 20 years that something was off with me. Always tired and depressed. Finally I reached the limit of the safe drug level. My new doctor sent me to the sleep clinic at the local mental hospital because of the shrink there who does sleep disorders. And surprise, after two months of therapy on the machine, both my fatigue score and my depression scores dropped. Now I'm feeling good! Still fatigued and not the bundle of energy I want to be, but way better than I was a year ago. It takes a long time for your body to recover itself form chronic O2 desats and sleep arousals.

With all your experience as an RT your future posts and comments will be very enlightening! I would love to hear things from your perspective!
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#4
Hi Whitjr,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
I look forward to reading more of your posts.
trish6hundred
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#5
Nice to read the replies.
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#6
Hi Whit,

I can't add much to what Opal and Sleep have said. It is still an amazing thing to me that I can actually drive anywhere I want to without fighting to stay awake behind the wheel. It is also amazing that I only get up once at night for a break, versus 4 or 5 times.

I do still wake up some during the night, then stretch, roll over, and go back to sleep. I think what happens is our cute little bodies are so used to not getting any quality sleep that now, when we do get good sleep, it wakes up thinking "wow that was fun. Must be time to get up." I don't do that as much as I used to, so maybe I'm getting used to this idea of sleeping.

As an RT, I would also tell you that CPAP has been the best thing since forever for my emphysema. I sleep all night long with my O2 perking along at 92-93. I do not use supplemental O2, and refuse to allow it in the house. I check it with an Oximeter once in awhile, such as last night. The lowest it got was 88, which happened when I took my bathroom break. Sometimes when I have a really crummy day I find that putting the mask on and chilling out is the best possible thing I can do to feel better. Drugs are great, but the restorative effect of nice positive air into my lungs is the best.

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#7
Whit,

I am in the same boat as you in many ways although I have never been an RT nor worked in the medical field at all. In looking back, I think that I may have had sleep apnea starting back in the late 1960s, although not as seriously as around 2010. My primary care physician kind of brushed me off on the occasions that I told him that I was dozing off a lot. I did not tell him that I was having terrible trouble staying awake on my 1 hour each way commute. Was afraid they might yank my driver's license. It was not until I ended up in the hospital with atrial fibrillation and my cardiologist diagnosed the probable cause of my Afib as sleep apnea that I was tested and confirmed. Took me a while to get my treatment optimized because I got no help from the medical community. My technical contact was supposed to be an RT through my DME but I almost never could get hold of one of Apria's RTs. They never answered their phones and seldom returned a call. Finding this forum was a godsend for me.

Best Regards,

PaytonA

Admin Note:
PaytonA passed away in September 2017
Click HERE to read his Memorial Thread

~ Rest in Peace ~
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