Going to the pulmonologist was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I only wish I’d gone years ago!
It definitely made me sleep sounder, and my insomnia disappeared! It used to take me hours sometimes to fall asleep, but with the CPAP machine it only took 10 minutes or so. I was still tired throughout the day though at first. It took a month or so for the effects of sleeping soundly all night to make up for the years of restless sleep. Now I am sleeping at least midnight to 5 a.m. each night, without waking in between. I fall asleep quickly, and wake feeling rested. I have much more energy, and I’m not planning an afternoon nap each morning. My husband Errol tells me there’s no more snoring!
I did make some adjustments to the machine like turning up the built in humidifier to keep from having dryness in my nose in the morning. That fixed that problem. I also found a button on the machine that lowers the pressure of air when you first put the mask on. The machine then can sense when you’re asleep and raises the pressure back up. I found I was much more comfortable with it lower while I was falling asleep. Having it lower also allows me to speak with it on if needed. When the pressure is on high, it’s difficult to speak because your mouth fills with air when you open it.
I had my follow-up appointment with the pulmonologist yesterday. My CPAP machine has Wifi which means the doctor can look at my usage on his computer. He was impressed that I use it every night. Many people have a tough time getting used to using it, but it hadn’t been difficult for me at all. He stated that before using the machine to sleep I had stopped breathing between 16 and 25 times per hour. His goal is to get you under 10 times an hour. Normal people with no sleep apnea only stop breathing between 1 and 4 times per hour. He could see that I now only stop breathing between 1 and 2 times per hour. “You’re cured!” he exclaimed with a smile, “as long as you keep using your machine!”
Insurance companies have strict rules in regards to CPAP machines and what you have to do for them to pay for them. A minimum of 4 hours for at least 5 nights a week using the machine is required. Because some people have such difficulty getting used to using it, it sometimes takes months for them to use it enough that the insurance company will pay for it. If they take too long, the insurance might deny coverage. I used mine so much, so quickly, that the insurance company came through with the payment after only a month of having it! Now to maintain the insurance paying for the replacement parts I may need like new nasal pillows, or filters, I have to continue to use the machine, and regularly see the doctor.
I’m scheduled for an appointment in one year, and will continue to use the CPAP machine nightly. It feels so nice to not be tired all the time! I’ve had so much more energy that I’ve started walking 3 or 4 times a week. It truly is amazing how much sleep, (or the lack of) can effect every aspect of your life.