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Working with Sleep Apnea? Has anyone gone back to their normal routines?
#1
Question 
This question is not about myself. My husband was just diagnosed with sleep apnea. They are getting him setup for the sleep study in the new week or so.

He has a very important high level job that he has worked extremely hard to get. He has always snored. I have to wear ear plugs to sleep next to him. Never bothered me a bit. But, he has been really tired and forgetful lately. We figured it was just him getting older. He's 54.

He has also never had any problems driving up until this past weekend. He was weaving in the lanes on our vacation. It freaked me out, I kept saying "hey, what is wrong?!" I ended up driving the entire trip due to this. He couldn't figure out what was wrong. He said he felt fine, but got sleepy as soon as he got behind the wheel. I called my daughter on the phone and explained what was happening and she said I bet it's sleep apnea! So, when we got back from the vacation he went straight to an emergency appointment with a sleep specialist. She was correct.


My question is this. If he is treated with a CPAP or Bi-Level machine (not familiar with what they are called). Will this fix the problem and allow him to get a good night's rest and return to work? He typically works 60-65 hours a week. He is terrified that it would be career ending. He would be devastated if that is the case. If it would fix the problem, how long does it take or is it an immediate thing?

Again, we are both brand new to this condition and are learning as we go. I do know there are a lot of factors that are at play here, but hypothetically speaking could he return to work or is this it for him?

Has anyone else been able to return to their normal routines/working/driving after being diagnosed and treated?

I appreciate any information anyone can provide. At this point we are both scared to death. We have been together 23 years and now I am not sleeping at night due to worrying of what our future holds.
Don't take that the wrong way, we are married for life. Wink
Thank you!
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#2
Positive Air pressure (PAP) therapy allows most people to breath normally at night and avoid the arousals that cause the fatigue and daytime sleepyness. His job performance and ability to drive should be restored very quickly as he adapts to the therapy and gets quality sleep. His snoring will go away, and you might find he feels rejuvenated in other ways in bed. Rolleyes

This forum is full of people that experienced many of the same things, and have fully returned to normal living. Glad you and the family caught the symptoms and got him the help he needs. The main challenge will be to become comfortable with the PAP and whatever mask interface he uses. He may be able to use something as minimal as nasal pillows, or he may need a full face mask. Have him join the forum for support and to ask any questions that come up.
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#3
HorseLady,
Take a couple deep breaths and try to relax. Most people don't die from using XPAP machines and the therapy. In fact using the machine usually allows people to live a longer and better life. I've been on CPAP since 2006. But, I've snored badly all my life. Mentioned it to my PCP and he scheduled me for a Sleep Study. Results found I had Sleep Apnea. I can still remember how much better I felt awaking my first morning having used my REMstar CPAP w/humidifier. I had never had a better nights sleep.

Machines back then had few adjustments: On, Off, Humidity, or Not. That was about it. The Resp Techs set the pressure, users didn't have access. But, I used that "Brick" for nearly ten years. I awoke one night having a nightmare that I was suffocating, ripped the mask from my face totally destroying it. My younger sister had an ResMed S9 "Brick" that she no longer used after having surgery. She gave it to me, and I couldn't believe how quiet that machine was compared to my older CPAP that sounded alot like a vacuum cleaner.

Well, I found this forum, a few poopoo'ed my S9 "Brick", so I did alot of reading and decided to get an ResMed AirSence 10 Autoset w/Oxi. This new machine is almost as great a difference to how I feel in the morning as my first night was when I first started using CPAP.

It's only frightening because it's new & unknown. Probably everybody goes through those feelings when first starting out. After he completes his "Sleep Study" they will probably send his results to his PCP. It's not so important which brand XPAP machine he gets as it is to get a machine that is fully data capable. When he meets with his PCP he should ask him/her to write the prescription stating that the machine has full data capability, and the mask of his choice. Some people have alot of difficulty finding a mask that is comfortable and doesn't leak.

Good luck with his therapy, once he's used to it I'm confident he'll feel better than he has in years.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Cheers,
otrpu

Love your family, treat your friend(s) well, and don't waste your time. Everything else is just so much BS. Sleep-well
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#4
Horselady, welcome. We are here to help you and your husband adjust to both the diagnosis and the treatment. We of course don't know anything else about your husband's health history, but there is every reason to be optimistic about the future -- yours and his.

Some people get "the miracle" where they use the CPAP machine the first night and wake up feeling like a million bucks. Most people take a little longer than that, and depending on age and other health factors it can take even longer. But chances are good that he will start to feel some improvement soon after starting.

First things first: Check in with us before you accept a CPAP machine from the DME. We want your husband to have a machine that records apnea events, mask leaks, snores and more, and not one that simply records the number of hours of machine use. You and the doctor need to be able to evaluate how well the CPAP therapy is working. Don't let them give you a 'brick' (machine with no treatment data on board).

And as questions come up, ask away.Smile
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#5
I think the sleep study will be the start of something good for you both as well. As others have said, a data machine is great for seeing what is going on. I have just got a Resmed S9 autoset and it is great.

Sleep is so important - hope you get it resolved soon.
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#6
Welcome. Sorry you had to join us.

Be careful you don't fall victim to what I call "apnea blindness." That's where you blame all your medical problems on sleep apnea/CPAP and miss some unrelated medical condition.

Doctors get it too. They put patients into a mental category and get lazy and blame everything on that condition instead of figuring out the real cause. This can be apnea, smoking, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, etc. It's one of the consequences of modern assembly line/big box store medicine.

There's a good chance that apnea is the main cause of his sleepiness. You are apparently working with your doctor, so keep at it.

As for CPAP curing his problems, it varies. The odds are good if he sticks at it.

It can be an overnight miracle cure.

For some, even if the CPAP is right, your body has gotten adjusted to apnea, and takes a while to get "back into balance" after CPAP cures your apnea. Think of it as being like withdrawing from smoking, drinking, or drugs. For some people, it can take weeks or even months before feeling full effects.

Once you start CPAP, sometimes it takes some tinkering to get things right. The medical mafia is often only interested in ringing the cash register and doesn't provide much help to the patient. You may have to take a hand in managing your own therapy. Luckily, if you get the right machine, it collects a lot of data that can help. It may be hard to get your doctor to do his job and look at the data.

There are pitfalls in getting a good, data capable machine that can be used to manage your therapy. Check the Useful Links in my signature at the bottom of this post.

It's VERY important to get the right machine. The medical mafia will screw you with what we call a "brick" machine that doesn't record much therapy data.

Some people don't ever seem to really get the benefits of CPAP to cure their apnea, despite getting it right in terms of the data.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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#7
Most people don't "return" from work because most people never left it, from what I've read on here. Therapy doesn't interfere with normal life at all.

For me, it was an improvement, from the first night. Less depression and less fatigue. Less than a month later, I still have issues, but I do feel better.
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#8
HorseLady,
Welcome to Apnea Board!
I retired a few years earlier than I wanted to, because I just couldn't function and stay awake during the day. I also fought to stay awake when driving. I had no idea I had sleep apnea, just thought I was getting older. Once tested and on APAP, things have changed. Have loads of energy, and feel pretty good. I actually could go back to work, but don' want to now. Smile. Having too much fun, and get to enjoy my 14month old Grandaughter.

I am telling you this not to bore you, but to let you know that all will be well. The good thing is that your husband is going to be tested. Yes, there is a period of adjustment, but he will be amazed at the difference in how he feels.

As others have said, check back with us before accepting a machine.
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#9
Lots of success stories. CPAP has been good for me and my wife. It took a long time for my wife to get used to me not snoring. She had some sleepless nights listening to silence. Smile She's used to my therapy now.


Using FlashAir W-03 SD card in machine. Access through wifi with FlashPAP or Sleep Master utilities.

I wanted to learn Binary so I enrolled in Binary 101. I seemed to have missed the first four courses. Big Grinnie

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#10
Hi Horselady,
When reading your post I got the feeling that your husband was not working at the moment because of the symptoms he is experiencing. Whether I am correct or not I presume that he has had, or will have soon, a Sleep Study and that will decide which path of treatment he will receive. Don't let your doctor or your supply company procrastinate and make sure they get whatever machine is the right one to you as soon as they can. You may have to make a lot of calls but make sure you talk to everybody if you feel you are being given the run around.
As you have heard from others, reaction time to treatment can vary. I, unfortunately, am one of the ones who is going through some issues after 8 weeks but I have to say that I did feel better early on in the treatment. Don't get me wrong I know that some people have taken a lot longer than that to feel better but I can't wait to get back to my old self. I stopped falling asleep at my desk on day one (I have only sneaked a quick nap every now and then) and I have been able to concentrate much more easily than before the treatment.
Because of my experience with this "disease" I am sure that it will not be long before your husband is feeling better and he will be performing more like his old self at work before you know it. Don't be impatient, once you receive the machine, and just trust the treatment. Keep updating your status on ApneaBoard and follow the advice of the people here who have years of experience. If you do good things will happen.
Good Luck,
Don
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Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Thomas A. Edison



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