I called a friend and relative of mine the other day and wished Maurice a happy birthday. While we were visiting we got to talking about me using a CPAP machine. His wife, Gladyth, believes he needs to be on one. There seems to be a hesitancy on getting the sleep study done and then on using the CPAP machine. Well, I've been there and done that.
CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open.
Right at two years ago, I went to my family doctor for a checkup. While there they checked my oxygen level and they found it was really low. It was low enough they had Victor, our son, drive me to the hospital. I walked into the hospital, where they took me directly to an emergency room. It wasn't long before I was admitted and the tests begun to determine what the problem was or why my lungs weren't getting the oxygen into my blood stream. Nothing specific was found as to why I was having a problem. I was in the hospital for about a week before I went home on oxygen. So, life began for me and our family with me on oxygen 24/7. It was an experience, to say the least.
As summer began, I learned how to do everything on oxygen. This included driving the tractor, mowing, tilling in the garden, working with our cattle, sleeping -- and the list goes on. At first I pulled around an oxygen tube on a little cart but eventually ordered a backpack from Amazon.
I had been on oxygen for a month or two, and my breathing doctor wanted me to go take the sleep study test at the hospital. Marge drove me up to Southeast Hospital, and I got checked in to the sleep study place. I put on some pajamas and a shirt and was hooked up to all kinds of wires and testers and, of course. my oxygen. I have always had trouble sleeping so, I thought I'd never get to sleep with all these wires and such. And then I normally have to take a journey about 1 or 2 a.m. Odd, but I did sleep, and it was no big deal having them help me unhook and go to the bathroom.
In the morning I was told I probably needed to go on a CPAP machine, but we'd have to wait and see what the doctor said. He said I needed the CPAP. So I went to Apria, where they fitted me with a CPAP mask and breathing system, which I took home. I figured the first night would be an experience and it was.
Dutchess, our dog, sleeps with Marge and me. When I got all dressed up with the mask and hose, Dutchess looked at me like I was an alien from out of this world. I turned the thing on and figured it would be a long night. Funny, but I slept as good with the CPAP machine as I did without it. But I did feel better. So I kept using it.
Little by little I got to the place I didn't need oxygen during the daylight hours. I would hook up my oxygen concentrator at night but during the daytime I didn't have to use the oxygen tanks. About two months ago I had Marge check my oxygen level at night using a little tester we bought at Wal-Mart for about $35. I didn't need the oxygen concentrator at night. So two years after the problem first appeared, I am no longer on oxygen.
If you think you have a problem breathing at night while you sleep or even when you nap, go to your general physician and get checked out. Many times our spouse will notice that when we are sleeping we stop breathing for a period of time. The doctor will order a sleep study for you. It's not bad at all. When compared to a colonoscopy, the sleep study is a piece of pecan pie. If you need a CPAP machine, it's not a big deal. You can do it.
If you need to talk or ask questions, give me a shout. I honestly believe that the CPAP is what eventually got me off oxygen. Don't put it off. Go get checked out.
Until next time!