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Lessons in Sleep
One of the interesting side-notes from my trip to 50 Year was that it provided an accidental experiment in the usefulness of my CPAP.

About 18 months ago, Kate convinced me that I probably had a touch of apnea. (She described the noises I was occasionally making when I was sleeping, and they were pretty tell-tale.) So about a year ago I got a CPAP, and I quickly decided that it was at least a little helpful -- I felt slightly more rested when using it. So I've been utterly faithful about it ever since, and have used it every night since I got it.

But I realized, when I was packing for 50 Year, that I had no good way to *power* the bloody thing. I have a big battery, but it puts out DC, not AC, and while that's a solvable problem, I couldn't deal with it in the hours that I had left to prep. So I decided that it wouldn't kill me, and I'd just do without it for four days.

That was illuminating. Granted, it wasn't a perfectly controlled experiment by any means: I was sleeping on an air mattress, in rather warm and humid weather and (most importantly) without Kate, so my sleep patterns were a bit disrupted. But I would have subjectively sworn that I was getting at least six hours' sleep a night. By the second day I was running on pure adrenaline, and by the third I was comatose on my feet. It was startling: I sometimes think of myself as tired during the day nowadays, but I haven't felt that sort of bone-deep *exhaustion* in the past year. The contrast was vivid.

So the moral of the story is that the CPAP is *not* optional -- I'm going to have to be consistent in bringing it with me on trips from here on out. And I am now *especially* keeping my fingers crossed that the Airing project works out -- while I'm likely to continue using the conventional CPAP at home, I would love to be able to using Airings when traveling, especially when camping...

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You've probably already discovered that there are many webpages which cover how to power your CPAP while camping (or during a power outage at home, etc.)

I've never used a CPAP, but there's a low-tech approach that might have some beneficial effect when you just can't get electricity: "Breathe Right" nose strips (also available as house brand in some drugstores).

Apples and oranges. Mind, I'm using Breathe Right strips *and* Flonase *and* Azelastine *and* the CPAP, and each does something different. It's taken the combination of all of them to get my sleep to the point of "not bad", and I *was* using the strips and sprays during the trip.

This is a common misconception, actually -- apnea has essentially nothing to do with your nose. Obstructive Apnea (the most common type) is mainly about the back of your throat, which closes to a greater or lesser degree during sleep, causing you to literally stop breathing because your airway is blocked. The CPAP works by forcing a bit of air down your nose to keep that airway open, but the nose is just the intake passage, not the actual problem being solved...

You're actually preaching to the choir: hudebnik should already know that stuff, having lived through my pre-surgical sleep study a couple years ago :-)

I find a deep cell marine battery and an inverter will work for 2 to 2.5 nights without a recharge, and that is also powering my sewing machine...

I also have a spare Sears jump starter to do single nights.

I have spare inverters...

Thanks -- I'll likely just pick one up myself when next I need it, now that I am warned. (Although hopefully by this time next year the Airing will be on the market, and will work well enough to obviate the problem.)

Although there are reasons to go with the full sized CPAP... on those hot sticky nights, filling the resevoir with crushed ice cools the air for about 4 to 5 hours. I find that makes it much easier to sleep.

Huh -- never even occurred to me. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

I had a similar problem when I had a mandatory field trip last year. Four days of camping with lots of tromping around and riding in a people-mover left me almost unable to think by the end. Between the apnea and arthritis in my knee, sleep was largely not happening.

As an extra data point, I have a local friend who also uses the marine battery and inverter setup for his apnea machine. He makes a point of charging it up at home before any forecast severe weather so he's good to go if there's an extended power outage. That might be a motivation to set up sooner than the next time you're planning on camping.

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