(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.
My sleep study was only a few weeks ago so it's pretty fresh on my mind, so hopefully this helps:
I'm at least a bit claustrophobic. Or hating of masks....
When I do something which needs some sort of face mask or goggles or something like for safety, I feel that that I can't get out of them fast enough due to some claustrophobic feelings they generate. As someone who has worked in the trades, I'm sure you can relate to those type of processes.
With this bit of background, I was quite a bit nervous about the sleep study. Or more accurately, somewhat nervous about the same thing you are.
My sleep study was like many/most of them - it had two parts. The first, they wire you up with what seems like a billion wires and straps and other things. Then tell you to go to bed. And try to sleep. With wires attached to you that you hopefully won't pull out in your sleep. Once you do fall asleep and they get some sleep data they will be able to tell if you have can be helped with a CPAP. If so, they'll move on to the second part which involves putting you on a CPAP machine and doing a 'titration' study. This provides information about what your machine will need to be set to.
The people who run the sleep study are very much aware of the fears and totally understandable concerns you have. On the survey I had to fill out before my sleep study, one of the questions I had was related to this very issue - I marked that yes I was concerned about it and briefly described the issue. They talked with me that night as well.
When it came time to try out the mask they let me know that If I freaked out it was ok and they would try something else. Fortunately, I found that because the mask actually helped my breathing it was far more comforting than I had expected. I actually ended up sleeping better at the sleep study than I had in, well forever.
But, the point I would make: Make sure that the people doing the sleep study know you're worried/terrified and they'll most likely do everything they can to both calm your fears and make sure that this isn't as horrible as you're imagining it to be.
I also want to add one more thing that I've learned: The settings on CPAP machines are very very specific to the individual. If your pressure is set too low, you don't feel like your getting enough air. If it starts out too high, it can feel like it's smothering you (I had mine briefly set wrong, and amazingly, too much air was far worse than too little). Even now I have the machine set as needed, I would imagine that the configuration of my machine would make a good chunk of people who are on CPAP panic because they were getting too much or too little air pressure. It doesn't surprise me a bit that trying someone else's CPAP would do that to you - it might very well do that to me, and I'm a CPAP user.
One final note: There are so many mask options out there that if you are actually claustrophobic, they still should be able to find something which will work for you.
Hope this helps. Trust me: It's worth it.