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pre sleep study terrified
05-10-2016, 08:46 AM
Hello everyone I'm a 65 year old retired bricklayer that just recently was introduced to this world of "sleep apnea". I just did the home test and my Dr. said I needed to spend a night at the sleep clinic. I have a younger brother that has been on a cpap machine for about a year and I had him show me some of the basics. He turned on his machine and I put the mask on to see what it was like and I freaked out. I have a deceased family member that had a Remstar Auto A flex that was given to me to explore and hopefully get over my fear of the mask. I don't plan on trying to sleep with it just maybe sitting in my recliner with it running to get used to it. Does this seem logical or could it be harmful or dangerous. Any other suggestions on how to get over the fear of the mask would be greatly appreciated.
05-10-2016, 09:12 AM
(05-10-2016, 08:46 AM)billhorn Wrote: Hello everyone I'm a 65 year old retired bricklayer that just recently was introduced to this world of "sleep apnea". I just did the home test and my Dr. said I needed to spend a night at the sleep clinic. I have a younger brother that has been on a cpap machine for about a year and I had him show me some of the basics. He turned on his machine and I put the mask on to see what it was like and I freaked out. I have a deceased family member that had a Remstar Auto A flex that was given to me to explore and hopefully get over my fear of the mask. I don't plan on trying to sleep with it just maybe sitting in my recliner with it running to get used to it. Does this seem logical or could it be harmful or dangerous. Any other suggestions on how to get over the fear of the mask would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Welcome to the forum!! you will get positive support here! Any exposure to the devise will do you good, the more the better because you have to learn to SLEEP with the equipment. Do as much as possible, but don't force it until the doctor gives you the results of your study. Getting used to having something on your face when you are trying to sleep IS by far, the hardest part.... but you will overcome it!! Much Good Luck, and Apnea Forum is here for you, (I missed out on this site when I was first diagnosed 11 years ago & had to go it ALONE on all the issues you are now experiencing ) Apnea forum is a GREAT thing!
I enjoy being with a group who like to share their "Hosehead" experiences, to remind me I am not alone.
05-10-2016, 09:38 AM
Hi billhorn, Welcome to Apnea Board!
It's not likely to hurt you in any way. Since you are just trying to get used to the feel of the mask and air pressure, I would set the APAP to Cpap mode with a straight pressure of 5 or 6 just to get used to how it feels. If the machine is set too high, then yes you will freak out because you are not used to it.
Put your mask on, and turn Cpap on and watch TV or read for a little while. Do this a couple times a day. In no time, you will be used to the feel of it. Then when you have your sleep study done, it should go a lot smoother. Good luck.
You will probably get used to the machine sooner than the feel of the mask. You will need to make sure the mask fits you properly, so you don't experience leaks. Adjust straps with air on, but don't make too tight.
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05-10-2016, 09:50 AM
G'day Bill, welcome to Apnea Board. The whole process can be very confronting, but if I can do it, you can do it!
You didn't mention what type of mask you tried, but from your reaction I guess it was a full face type, which covers your nose and mouth. These are the hardest to get used to if you are inclined to be claustrophobic. You might do better with a nasal mask (which just covers your nose) or nasal pillows (which just push up against your nostrils). Wear the mask as much as possible, while reading or watching TV, just to get used to it. Believe it or not, after a while it becomes so much apart of your routine that you won't be able to sleep without it.
However, trying somebody else's machine might not be the best idea as his pressure settings might be radically different from yours. If it's too low you might feel starved of air, and if too high you will struggle to exhale and feel like you're drowning in air. These are very common feelings when you're starting out, and there are machine settings to help alleviate the problem. But I think it's probably best to get your own prescription and acclimatise yourself to that. If you are going to use an old machine you should probably get all the "wet" parts replaced - humidifier seal and tank, hose and mask. These are typically moist in operation and could potentially harbour bugs or mould. Depending on your insurance cover you might be eligible for a brand new machine at low cost, which is probably a better way to go.
If you are claustrophobic, the sleep test might be a bit of a trial. I think I had 17 probes and electrodes attached to me - it wasn't a pretty sight. There's nothing painful or uncomfortable, just a lot of wires and tubes. If you are concerned about that, talk to your doctor before hand and get a prescription for a suitable sleeping aid.
I think we all go through a moment of panic at first, but for most of us it passes quickly, and the health benefits will soon start to show themselves.
Best of luck!
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05-10-2016, 10:02 AM
One of the things I remember about my sleep test was the idea of just letting go and allowing myself to fall asleep with the mask on. It's almost like a faith thing. You trust that it's safe and there is the reward of better sleep. It's cyclical and a process of gradual acceptance.
Hope that helps.
Just my personal opinion. My posts are not medical advice or a statement of fact. Please consult a qualified physician or other qualified medical personnel. Please comply with all applicable laws, codes, regulations, and protocols.
05-10-2016, 01:42 PM
Hello, Bill. Welcome to the Apnea Board forum.
You've come to the right place to talk to people and get suggestions for learning to tolerate having a CPAP mask on your face.
There are lots of factors that can cause a "freakout" feeling when you first put a CPAP mask on. First, some of us are just a little bit claustrophobic (raising hand here), so it's not a comfortable feeling.
You also have to be sure that the mask you have fits you correctly. I have a Wisp nasal mask. The first time I tried to use it, I couldn't understand why it felt like I couldn't get enough air. I eventually realized that the bottom part of the mask was too wide and it was partially blocking the entrance to my nostrils.
The pressure setting on your machine can also cause a feeling of claustrophobia. If the setting is at or near the minimum, like at 4.0 cm water, this causes lots of people to feel like there's not enough air flow for them.
Some people can initially feel like they can't breathe comfortably if the pressure is high. The air may feel like it's whooshing out of the machine at you too fast and hard.
Just to make sure I understand you, do you mean setting up the machine next to your recliner with the mask connected to it and sitting in your recliner wearing the mask? If so, that sounds good.
You'll want to first make sure that the mask fits well. You can ask questions about that here on this forum. You can also find YouTube videos for lots of mask designs showing how to assemble them and adjust them.
You also need to find out what pressure your APAP machine is set at. I don't think you want to do your testing while it's delivering air at high pressure. (It wouldn't be dangerous, probably just not very comfortable.) So maybe you can take a look at the machine to see what pressure it's set at or get your brother to do that.
The good thing about testing while you're awake is that you can adjust the mask or take it off if you feel like you're not getting enough air.
You can also turn on TV or some music to help you relax and to cover the sound that the machine makes.
Even though I'm mildly claustrophobic, I did fine at my sleep study. The technician fitted the mask on me - I didn't have to do it myself.
I'm sure it also helped a lot that I take an antidepressant medication at bedtime that makes me fairly sleepy, so I slept through most of the test, except for the times when the technician woke me up to adjust something.
I have been using CPAP regularly for about 4 months now. It has only been in the past 2-3 weeks that I've noticed that I can fall asleep without using music to cover the sound of the machine. I also can look at photos of CPAP masks online now without starting to feel like I can't breathe.
Learning to use CPAP therapy was a huge learning curve for me. There's lots of stuff to learn, but I also think maybe I was just seriously sleep-deprived from having undiagnosed sleep apnea for a few years. Everything to do with using CPAP seemed very difficult at the beginning.
Fortunately, it got easier with practice, like most things do.
05-10-2016, 04:50 PM
WELCOME to the forum.!
When you go to the sleep study, they will put wires on you in different places, but it does not hurt in any way, it's just more of a hassle than anything, all those wires getting in your way a bit, but like I said, it doesn't hurt.
You could try the mask and machine you were given just to get yourself used to it.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and much success to you as you start your CPAP journey.
05-10-2016, 05:49 PM
Hi there, I am very new to the A Board but very very experienced full faced mask user. I looked at all the other responses so as to try not to give you any duplicate suggestions and what I have to say is this. I remember going through the exact same thing in the beginning and these days.. well this might sound strange but when I go to sleep it sort of feels like a baby's pacifier.. (not that I can actually remember 68 years ago) it just feels safe in my Quatro Air full faced mask! Also, another way of looking at it is this.. Lots of folks buy expensive air purifiers for the rooms in their houses and your high-tech sleep machine has a really great one built right in! To get used to your new machine, as the others and no doubt your sleep technician have suggested, great idea to get it set up while you are watching your shows right before bed time.. Now, what helped me the most when I first began using the full faced mask was something a little lady sleep tech told me and I always remembered it.. It just works! Here is what she said... "just breath naturally!"
05-10-2016, 05:52 PM
I've had 4 sleep studies.. forgot to tell you one more thing.. the tech will ask you if you want to go to the bathroom right before your start... be sure you do.. most of us get up to go a lot anyways but no sense dragging your "Borg" setup around up and down the test halls any more than you have to ...
05-10-2016, 06:02 PM
(05-10-2016, 04:50 PM)trish6hundred Wrote: it does not hurt in any way, it's just more of a hassle than anything,
Trish must me a lot tougher than me. I found the sleep study almost unbearable one of the worst experience of my life. The bed hurt my back they moved me to a recliner, it hurt more. They kept ripping the hair out of my chest, beard, and head trying to get the sensors to work. I couldn't sleep, but was exhausted.
Hopefully yours will be better. I imagine a career as a bricklayer creates a high pain threshold. That is one tough job.
it'll take more than a doctor to prescribe a remedy
Observations and recommendations communicated here are the perceptions of the writer and should not be misconstrued as medical advice.
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