Well, my story starts off in early 2004... I was Regional Project Coordinator for a computer training company and my job required extensive travel, mostly in the Midwest via car. I'd noticed that for the past few months, I had increasingly felt sleepy in the afternoon, around 2-3 p.m. or so, but as most "road warriors" do, I didn't think twice about it and stopped off at the local McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts
and loaded up on super-caffeinated "go juice".
After drinking a large coffee, I was good to go!
While driving in my car, I would occasionally start to doze a bit... and I would struggle to keep my eyes on the road. I remember slapping my face to stay awake, opening the window and letting the cold air come into the car, stopping for a cup of ice and chewing on the ice to stay awake, walking around the car a couple of times to wake myself up....
Then, one day while traveling west on I-70 heading towards Columbus, Ohio I awoke to the sound of my car going over the "rumble strips" on the side of the highway and my car went off the road and into the grass, and almost completely into a ditch on the side of the road. That, needless to say, was my first
wake up call.
A few weeks later, I was coming home from a long trip, late on a Friday night, and I had stopped at a stoplight about 6 blocks from my house. While waiting for the light to change, I fell asleep. The next sound I heard was a police officer knocking on my driver's side window. I opened the window and he asked if anything was wrong. Apparently I had slept through a stoplight change (at least one, maybe more). Fortunately, I was close to home and now fully awake to drive the remaining 6 blocks to my comfortable bed!
I can't remember how I first heard about sleep apnea, but my wife mentioned that she thought I might have it due to my behavior while sleeping (snoring, stopping & starting of breathing abruptly, etc.)
I went to my primary care physician and he told me I should have a sleep study done, so I scheduled it and went through a split-night study at my local hospital's sleep center. It was not a good night at the sleep center, it took forever for me to fall asleep, but apparently, I did sleep some and they woke me up in the middle of the night to put a CPAP on me... then I fell asleep again and was awakened around 6:00 a.m. and they said something like, "Oh yeah, you most likely have sleep apnea, the doctor will be contacting you"
About a week later, my sleep doctor told me I had severe sleep apnea and I was sent to a local DME. They gave me a Respironics REMstar Pro with C-Flex (the older, pre-2007 unit, affectionately known as "the tank"), set at a constant pressure of 14 cm/H20. With about 10 minutes of instruction I was sent on my way.
Started using it and after the first night, I felt SUPER (hence my user name SuperSleeper)
It was like I hadn't really slept for many years... "Oh, so this is what real sleep feels like!
I was (and remained) completely compliant with my CPAP treatment, the only problem I had was the first week or so, I would wake up in the middle of the night and take the mask off, but this went away after the first few days. Then, after the first "WOW" feeling, my daytime sleepiness returned to a small degree... I was initially frustrated, but several people told me that I might be suffering from what is called a "sleep deficit", where your body (for the first time in a long time) feels what it's like to get a good night's sleep, so it is "telling you" that it wants more of that good sleep, just to "catch up" or "make up for" all that terrible sleep you'd been getting before.
So, for a few more weeks, I patiently waiting, remaining completely compliant and wearing my mask every night all the time I was sleeping... and eventually, people were right-- my daytime sleepiness slowly got better... but again it was very gradual, almost non-noticeable, until one day I just realized... "hmm.... you know I don't feel as sleepy as I used to...
" and from then on it got much better.
So, since early 2004, I have used my CPAP machine every single night, and even if I took a nap, and I can't imagine sleeping without it now. After reading about the benefits of Auto-CPAP machines, I took the plunge in 2010 and bought my first auto machine - the ResMed S9 AutoSet
, a great little machine. I feel this machine has greatly enhanced both the comfort and effectiveness of my CPAP therapy, and with the free ResScan
computer software to monitor and analyze my data, I'm completely pleased with my new system.
I would encourage you to not give up on your CPAP therapy
... it can
and it will
work. Give it time, and if you have any questions, issues or problems, that is why Apnea Board is here... we're not medical professionals, so we can't take the place of your doctor, but we can help you because many of us have gone through the same things you're going through now.
If you need help, post a message in this Main Apnea Board Forum and we'll do our best to reply in a timely manner.
Thanks for listening...