I’ve been wearing the TAP device for the last three nights, and thought I’d better let you know what I think of it. All in all I’m very pleased. It’s certainly easier for me than trying to get used to the CPAP mask was. I would be lying if I said it is comfortable, but it’s not painful and I am pretty sure I will eventually wear it without particularly noticing it. I guess it’s about like wearing glasses for the first time.
There are a few things that have to be part of my routine now, because of the dental appliance. It is absolutely a must that I brush my teeth every night, something I’ve never really had a consistent habit about, hanging my head in shame, as I usually fall asleep in the recliner while watching TV. If I don’t, I’m just asking for a bunch of cavities. Also, I have to brush the mouth pieces every morning when I brush my teeth, and leave them out to dry thoroughly.
The big change is that there are two small pieces of pliable plastic that I have to stick in between my teeth at the corners of my mouth every morning to chew on for awhile. The idea is that the TAP pulls the lower jaw forward for sleeping, so in the morning, I have to move my lower jaw back into it’s normal position, so my bite will be correct. It’s kind of like chewing gum, I guess, but there’s no taste. It’s not hard to do, but it’s absolutely necessary. It’s supposed to strengthen my jaw muscles, too, which will be a good Parkinson’s exercise. PWP lose the ability to control their facial muscles eventually, so this should help me forestall the expressionless Parkinson’s Mask, as it’s called.
I haven’t made any turns on the device yet, so I’m still wearing it at the first setting, which has my upper and lower teeth meeting in the front. Now, for some of you, they already do that to begin with, but I have a noticeable overbite. That overbite is one of the main reasons my Sleep Disorder doctor thinks this dental appliance will stop my Sleep Apnea. I figure I’m going to be wearing this thing the rest of my life, so what’s the rush. I want to get used to it first, before I start cranking my jaw out any further, particularly since it’s already set to move my lower jaw out a good bit just to make my front teeth meet.
As far as my sleeping goes, I haven’t been doing much of that. I don’t really think it’s because of the dental appliance, though. I’ve taken Lunesta two nights now, and still didn’t sleep more than three or four hours. I made it to five hours last night, without a sleeping pill, which is the best this week. I’ve never found a sleeping pill that really worked well enough on me to justify taking it, so I can’t say I’m surprised the Lunesta didn’t help.
I’ve been pretty upset with other things that have been going on with my Parkinson’s right now, and I think that’s cutting into my sleep. Also, I’m on several more PD meds since my ER visit, and they may be making the insomnia worse. And, even with the extra meds, I’m still wobbly, although nowhere near as bad as I was before I went to the ER.
I am having some spells of being extremely spacey and unsteady, which pass after about an hour or so, usually right after meals. I’m guessing it’s the combination of all the PD meds I’m on right now, but my Neurologist will straighten that out for sure. I have them all spread out as best I could, so I’m taking something about every hour or two all day long.
I see my Neurologist tomorrow, and I’m very hopeful that he can sort out what needs to be done to help the insomnia and also give my Gastroenterologist some suggestions about medicines I can take to calm the colon spasms. He may have to change some of my PD meds, so that I can take an antidepressant, as that is the class of drugs that the colon relaxing medicines fall in. Oh, I forget to mention that I stopped taking the St. John’s Wort after the first day, as the more I read I realized it was in the category of an antidepressant, and I can’t take those right now.
So I’ll spend today looking forward to tomorrow and some answers, I hope!