My DH got in the expected jibes about how beautiful I looked in my CPAP getup, and warned me not to try to give him a kiss during the night. It does look pretty intimidating and terribly ugly. Our DD who used one for awhile called it Octopus Face.
My face was still sore from the pressure of the mask they had used at the Sleep Study, and nothing I did by way of adjustments made it comfortable. I was very tired, so I did manage to get to sleep with the harness on, but I woke up, as usual, a couple of hours later, wide awake. This is my normal insomnia pattern. Try as I might, I just couldn’t stand the thing. I yanked it off several times, crying again out of sheer frustration. I can’t even count how many times I pulled it off and put it back on. I even took a Lunesta, thinking surely it would help me get to sleep with it on. No such luck, as I lay there fighting the stupid thing, wide awake. I finally gave up and turned it off.
It didn’t take me long then to get back to sleep, but I did wake up at 2:00AM, which is also normal for me when I’m in insomnia mode. I could tell the sleeping pill had me pretty relaxed, so, I thought I’d try it again. This time it worked, or at least it partly worked. I did cheat and leave the chin strap off, so maybe I just breathed through my mouth the rest of the night. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I slept until 7:00AM, and I can’t remember the last time I slept that late – years probably. And I did sleep all that time with the mask on, properly strapped into position, with the air blasting away.
This equipment wasn’t cheap, even with very good insurance, so I don’t want to waste the money. More importantly, I want to be able to sleep through a night peacefully, something I can barely remember doing.
The problems of getting used to a CPAP machine are twofold in my view of it. One thing is that the stuff on your face is uncomfortable, no matter how soft they pad it. It has to be tight enough to prevent the air from leaking out around it. If it’s not tight enough, you end up with a stream of air blasting your eyes!! Not exactly conducive to sleep, eh?
The other problem is that the air is being forced into your lungs under pressure. Well, that’s the good part, because that’s what stops the Apnea. The bad part comes when you try to breathe OUT. You have to breathe out AGAINST the pressure that is pushing the air IN! It’s a suffocating feeling that I am struggling to handle at all.
The manufacturer of my machine, and I suspect all the other brands, too, realizes this is a problem, and has what they call a RAMP UP button. The idea is to start the machine with less pressure, which gradually builds up to the pressure prescribed by the doctor. You’re supposed to be asleep by the time it gets powerful. That’s why I was able to get to sleep at first, while I was so tired. I was off in la la land before the pressure increased to full amount. But after I had slept a couple of hours and woke up, I didn’t have that luxury, as I was still awake while it was ramping up big time. I pushed the RAMP UP button several times in a row, to no avail.
Will I be able to get used to this contraption? I’d love to say that I will do whatever it takes to adjust, but I’d be lying if I did. I certainly intend to try, and keep trying, but it’s such an unpleasant feeling that I’d be a fool to make promises to myself on this one. It took some fervent prayers to get me to sleep that first night at the Sleep Study, and I think I’m going to be doing a LOT of praying to help me adjust to all this. That’s all I can do – Try my very best and ask for God’s help to get used to this thing.