Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Rocking the Darth Vader look

After a much-too-drawn-out process (there were some dropped balls in the paperwork somewhere), last night I finally joined the ranks of the CPAP-using public. Some first impressions:

The paperwork snafu aside, Mount Auburn Hospital gets kudos for a very professional operation. The fellow in the DME department specifically plans to spend 60-90 minutes setting you up -- teaching what's going on physically, explaining the CPAP machine in gory detail, doing some interview about your preferences in order to choose the right mask, having you practice on it, and so on. Frankly, I haven't had many doctors who have been that informative and careful about teaching the details. And my understanding of how the process works seems pretty painless. One advantage of being late to this party is that they seem to have worked out many of the kinks.

The device itself is quieter than I expected, barely audible in practice. This is a big win -- I'm quite noise-sensitive when sleeping. The only downside is that *subjectively* my breathing is incredibly loud: I was afraid that I must be keeping Kate awake with it, but she reports that she didn't hear it, so it's apparently literally all in my head.

Comfort is reasonably good. I'm using a nasal mask, which is suspect is a good deal more comfortable for me than a full-face one would be. Looks ridiculous (while it's notionally only over my nose, it includes a big bridge up to my forehead to stabilize it), but it's well-designed to not suck. Only practical issue is that I'm used to sleeping with a small towel or washcloth over my eyes as a sort of loose sleep mask, and I'm going to have to think about what to do with this. (A real sleep mask might fit under the bridge, but I tend to find them too warm.)

In practice, I didn't sleep all that well last night, but that's not surprising -- I never deal easily with changes to my sleeping arrangement. (Hotels are always terrible for me.) I'll probably get over that with experience.

What's really interesting is that, while I'm pretty tired today sleep-wise (since I only slept maybe 4-5 hours), I'm *physically* in much better shape than I have been. Despite the yawning, the lethargy and physical tiredness are already markedly improved, which I assume means that the hours I *did* sleep, I actually slept much better than I have been doing. (I gather my apnea isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things, but still.) I will say that feeling my airways that clear all night is downright novel, and is continuing into the day: I'm still unstuffy this morning, in a way that is downright rare for me. Having enough oxygen in my system is a lovely change of pace.

It's early days yet, but this seems likely to be a win, even with current technology. (IIRC, I only posted about the Airing micro-CPAP project on Facebook; folks who haven't heard about it might want to check it out. That's now looking more relevant to my life.) Hopefully, once I get used to the new device, I'll regain enough focus and discipline to make other improvements...
Tags: health

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