Cpap Quandary


Facebook post seven years ago:

 It’s a Miracle (can now be found on my websit

First night, monster me, so afraid that Susan wouldn’t want to sleep next to Hannibal Lector. Lucky me, she likes me a lot and her patience and understanding really paid off.  I slept eight hours, didn’t get up to pee once, and according to the snoring police, I didn’t warble all night long. And my breathing didn’t stop any time during the night. I had energy all day long and did not fall asleep at the keyboard or while watching television. It’s now been thirty days and this pattern has repeated itself every day I’ve worn the mask. It’s a miracle! 

Se­­ven Years Later

We still sleep in the same bed,the snoring has never returned, or the interruption to breathing. I still have more energy at the end of the day, but I can’t truly attribute that to the machine, as other lifestyle changes have had an impact. And the machine does not guarantee a good night’s sleep. Once I fall asleep, it deepens, but for the times I have had trouble falling asleep, it does not help, and many times I have had to remove the mask so it doesn’t bother me as I’m trying to fall asleep.

So why am I now having doubts about the treatment—because I hate it. After seven years, it is a pain in the ass. In a recent report—one of many made possible by a secret cpap satellite—said I was doing poorly on the rubric set out to measure my daily success. So now, in addition to my machine, I have a chin strap to keep air from escaping my mouth, making for a better seal and all the benefits that entails. In other words, it keeps my mouth shut better. My sleep doc, when she found out my numbers were not great, had me do yet enough sleep test, one of those all-night gigs, hooked up to a million cables and told to sleep—right. When she found out I had lost about 25 pounds, she said it was possible that I might be a candite for stopping the treatment, as weight gain is a very big determinant in causing sleep apnea. I had never known this, and thus, the incentive to keep losing weight escalated.

But the real cause for my concern is the marketing of this affliction. As my generation has grown older, marketers come out of the woodwork, looking to cash in on our age-related infirmities. I remember as soon as I signed up for Social Security, I was assured by the government all my information would be kept under wraps, but as soon as I signed up, I began getting an overflow of information from mortuaries, wanting to plant me as soon as possible, not to mention tons of other vendor ads wishing to sell whatever they thought old people needed.

And my supplier of Cpap stuff, Apria, sends me constant mailers, snail and email, and texts, and phone calls, about what the government is willing to pay to keep me in gear I do not need.  And then I go to the dentist, thinking I am cpap safe, and the first thing the dentist gives me is a form to fill out, about my sleeping habits.

“Why this?” I ask the receptionist.

“To see if you have sleep apnea,” she says.

“But I do have sleep apnea, and I do not need to fill out this form, and why oh why does this affliction fall into a dentist’s lap?” Obviously, it’s another way to make money.

“Because people can have sleep apnea for years and not know it, and they see a dentist much more often than a sleep doctor.”

“Really?  A dentist has as much training in sleep disorders than a sleep doctor? I also see my car mechanic much more often than my dentist.”

“If you have a seat, the doctor will be with you soon.”

Me and my big mouth. I am now supremely aware of a whole generation who now have this affliction. At times it seems as every other person at the airport is carrying their handy dandy little bags of sleep apnea gear. And at parties, it’s not what your mental health professional is saying, or which brand of incontinent gear you buy, but what your sleep doctor is prescribing.

I have searched and searched for any support to indicate that this is just one big sham, but alas, it is so universally prescribed and recommended, I do not have a leg to stand on. And then there is my wife, so ready to put up with my monster look every night, just to get me to live longer. Well, if she can stand me, I guess I am stuck.


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