My Sleep Apnoea – part 1

21 Aug

In February 2010 I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.  This was after months of hubby wakening me up to tell me that I was snoring, and then telling me that I stopped breathing too – eek!  We’d both seen documentaries on the T.V. about Sleep Apnea, and realised that that’s what I could have.  So off I trotted to my G.P., to be referred to the Sleep Clinic at our hospital.

The first stage of diagnosis I had, was filling out a form, and getting a device to put on my finger when I was sleeping, which monitored my blood oxygen, and is only worn for one night.  I had to return it the next day, and then go back a week later to find out the result, which was that my blood oxygen was on the low side.

The second stage that I had to go through, was getting a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP) machine , which would deliver constant compressed air to my windpipe, which would stop my windpipe from closing.  There’s a microchip in the machine, which recorded how many times I stopped breathing, if there were any air leaks from the mask, if I didn’t use the machine, and my blood oxygen levels, amongst other things.  I had to use this CPAP for a month, and then return to the Sleep Clinic.  The results of that were that I stopped breathing 19 times an hour.  That’s roughly every 3 minutes!

I was duly issued with my very own CPAP machine, which hubby has nick-named Darth!, and which was calibrated to give me the correct level of air pressure, to make sure that I wouldn’t stop breathing whilst I was sleeping.  I had to go back in 6 months, and then in a year, for further check-ups.

So what had caused me to develop Sleep Apnea?  Well there were a couple of things.  The first is that my lower jaw is, apparently, set back, which means that my windpipe is always slightly pressed closed.  The second is that, since being depressed, and not able to get out and about because of that, I had put on about 2½ stone.  Weight is usually the prime factor in Sleep Apnea, and they say that if a man has a collar size of 17”, or more, he is more likely to get Sleep Apnea.

Now getting used to wearing this device, every night, just before falling asleep, and getting a good night’s sleep, was something of a challenge, to say the least.  The tube, which fed the air stream from the machine to the mask, kept getting wrapped around my neck. The mask dug into the bridge of my nose and took the skin off. The straps, which held the mask on to my face, broke my hair off.  The air vents in the mask (for when I exhaled) blew the air so hard, that my hubby got blasted with air on his neck, back or face, so that he couldn’t sleep!  Plus, I had to take it on holiday with me, which meant that I had to carry it as hand luggage.  Which meant that I had to get a letter from the Sleep Clinic, to let the airway (cheap but not cheerful, and no Guinness!) know that it was safe to take as extra hand luggage.

I have now, eventually, over 18 months, managed to sort out all of these problems, except getting strangled by the darned thing!  I put a small piece of sticking plaster on the bridge of my nose. I wear a bandanna to cover my hair, and I have a piece of gauze in the air vent to stop the blast of air on hubby.

But since the start of this year, I have lost a stone in weight.  My yearly check-up is due on Friday, and I’m trying not to get my hopes up, that my weight loss will mean that I don’t have to wear Darth any more.  But oh, how I would love to be able to go to bed without the dratted piece of equipment!


2 Responses to “My Sleep Apnoea – part 1”

  1. Ron 21,August 2011 at 13:25 #

    I have paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea – sudden and severe attacks of nocturnal breathlessness – which is about as much fun!

    Glad to see you’re writing more naturally now, and not trying too hard. If you compare this to your first post, you’ll see a considerable improvement. Does that sound patronising? It’s not supposed to!

    • Tricia_TD 21,August 2011 at 15:36 #

      Thank you Ron 🙂 No, it doesn’t sound patronising, and I totally agree with you. My first post was forced. Something to do with the fact that you had set me the task, and a time limit in which to do it in!

      Thank you for your invaluable help and tips, in how to set up my blog. I’d never have done it without you Ron.

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