A couple of months ago, I went to my doctor with what I thought was a sinus infection. I had all of the symptoms that I had had in past. During the visit, I told the doctor that I was having a difficult time sleeping-staying asleep, that is-and that I was feeling tired and run down. After a few tests, he sent me to a sleep clinic for a sleep study. I thought he was nuts, but he’s the doctor.
Now, before I go on, let me describe myself: I am over 40 and not thin. Let’s just say that I have not been 190 pounds for quite some time now, but I am well under 220 pounds. However, I would be considered obese by most standards today. It is something that I have been struggling to control for several years now. It has caused many problems and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a couple of years ago. It is controlled through medication. During this time, I’ve never slept all that well but it was only recently that I was really feeling bad as a result.
I had the study done and they discovered that I stopped breathing, on average, once a minute. That’s pretty serious stuff. So, the sleep doc said I needed to use a C-PAP device. GREAT, I thought. I’m gonna look and sound like Darth Vader. “Chase…I am…your father!” suddenly came to mind.
Well, I had to go back to the clinic for a follow up study, this time with the machine. My results were better, of course, though they did not tell me the numerical difference and I never thought to ask. Yeah, my wife chided me for that. “Always ask!” I don’t know what I’d do with out her. I went home that day with my new-and expensive-machine. The very nice young lady who told me how to use it also told me that I needed to follow the instructions and use the device every day, not just to feel better, but also to remain in compliance so the insurance company would cover the device and supplies. Damn! I can’t fake this. Let me tell you, the C-PAP machine is a pain in the ass. It is not comfortable and it feels like I am being suffocated. I hate the bloody thing. It is a device from the devil. BUT….
I am using it. I am following directions and have kept it on all night-something that seemed to surprise the people at the healthcare company. See, that company spies on me. The device has a smartcard that I have to take to the company where they proceed to interrogate both me and the smartcard. Oh, they are very polite and supportive. My representative has been most helpful. But, they are still big brother.
I’ve been using the device for a couple of weeks now. As I said before, I hate the device. I loathe it. I would drop it from the 20th floor of the building I work in if I did not have to pay for it and did not need it.
Truth is, it is working. I’m not waking up tired. I feel more refreshed in the morning than I ever remember feeling. Earth is still spinning on it’s axis and I’ve not had nearly as many dizzy spells as before. It is amazing what oxygen to the brain can do. In fact, today I went to big brother and had that smartcard read. I’ve gone from an apnea of 60 (stop breathing about once a minute) to about 6 times an hour-a HUGE improvement.
All of the doctor’s I’ve seen have told me the same thing: this will help or cure many of the problems I’ve been experiencing for far too long. Among them are: dizziness, tiredness, not sleeping through the night, weight, diabetes, headaches, grouchiness and other things. The simple lack of a good nights rest-and oxygen-can cause all kinds of problems, most of which are intertwined. The grouchiness goes away because you’ve rested. You rested better because you got oxygen, which helps the memory and dizziness. Feeling rested gives you the desire to exercise and lose weight, which, in turns, helps the diabetes. It is a vicious cycle. Sleep is a truly devious and insidious thing. Lack of oxygen is worse.
That bloody C-PAP machine is awful and a real pain in the butt. I’m glad I have it.