CPAP@home

Wednesday, 5 May 2010 21:00
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

So a technician came by yesterday to deliver my CPAP machine (10–20 days? more like 1–2 days!) and give me a quick run-down.

It was, as far as I could tell, the same machine and same mask as I had at hospital.

That night, I tried it out. Stella was pleasantly surprised at the low amount of noise it makes; she had expected something considerably more noisy, and had been worrying she would have to move out into a different room. But you don’t really hear the compressor (or whatever it is?) at all, and the rest just sounds like heavy breathing. (Heavy enough that she tried to synchronise her breathing to it so that she wouldn’t notice it quite as much, but apparently still bearable.)

I woke up lots of times (felt like ten times or so) during the night, for no apparent reason (no dream I could remember, no uncomfortable feeling breathing, nothing), but quickly fell asleep again each time.

In the morning, I didn’t feel much different: my normal, vaguely tired self.

Here’s hoping I’ll feel better soonish, and will be able to sleep through the night.


On another note, it’s amusing how many different ways there are to measure pressure: in hospital, they had talked about millibars; on Wikipedia, it talked about cm H2O; and on the machine, it used hectopascals! (mbar and hPa are obviously the same, with hPa being a derived SI unit and mbar being a legacy one, but cm H2O is nearly the same as the two others.)

And the technician said that my 7 mbar wasn’t all that low after all; he said that of the 4000 patients he was responsible for, most had between 6 and 9 mbar. So, middle of the field, I suppose. (He said that there was even one who had only 5 mbar, but that’s apparently pretty unusual—I guess that at such low pressures, they tend to do different things rather than prescribing CPAP machines.)

And, it’s a CPAP-flex machine. WEINMANN SOMNObalance, anthracite, with a SOMNOaqua humidifier (which had been prescribed to me as well) and a JOYCE vented nasal mask, size M, with JOYCEstrap, for those for whom those names mean anything. (Heck, even the tube has a model name: AEROtube®.)

I can only remember half the care instructions so I’ll have to read up on them in the manuals. (And if I don’t find anything in there, the service telephone number is on a sticker on the machine.)

I also got a “patient pass” which comes in handy, apparently, when travelling by air, when curious security agents want to know what kind of device it is. (Then I can say, look! I suffer from sleep apnœa, and this is a CPAP machine!)


Stella is asking me whether I’m still up for a two-day camping trip this summer with the ward. Basically, the question is, am I going to go without the device for two days and sleep with them in a tent, or am I going to sleep at home (or rent a caravan at the camping site). And I don’t really know.

I mean, I’m supposed to use it every day. On the other hand, I’ve been going without for several years now, and haven’t died… so perhaps I could go without for two days while “roughing it” while camping. I really don’t know.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

So I’ve been tired nearly every day, and I’ve been to the doctor about it a couple of times. Got some bloodwork done, all negative: nothing seems to be wrong with me.

Until I mention to my otorhinolaryngologist that I’d like to get checked out at a sleep lab.

He said that insurance won’t just pay for that, but that I could get a screening first and see whether that indicates I should get checked out. So he referred me to a pulmonologist (lung specialist) who lent me a device that would record things about how I sleep; I put some sensors on before I went to bed and the next day, brought the machine back to the doctor’s.

When I call a couple of days later to find out the results, he said that the numbers were “borderline” and that he’d recommend a proper checkup in a sleep lab. (Which insurance would now be willing to pay for.)

A week or two later, I got a letter from the sleep lab telling me to report there on the 28th of April for a 2-night stay and asking me to bring a bunch of examination results. So I take the letter back to my ENT doctor and figure out which stats I get where. I end up getting examined by ENT, lung, and internal medicine specialists: lung X-ray, breathing curves, bloodwork, stuff like that. There was also a questionnaire I was supposed to fill out.

Then I reported to the sleep lab (fortunately, not too far away: the local general hospital has one) yesterday with my big pile of papers, and they admitted me.

This is probably going to get long )

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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