|But, see, it's a thorny problem.|
I decided to look up some information on how other people live with their sleep apnea equipment and found some interesting ways people have coped, especially on a website dedicated to, what else? Sleep Apnea. I'm glad I 'm going through this whole process in the winter, when things are slow around here anyway, because I have more time on my hands to do internet searches and improvise some stuff of my own.
I have four new face masks I am trying out. I so wanted the nasal ones that just go over the nose to work, because even though I look much like Miss Piggy with a silicone snout, (but alas, Miss Piggy is better-looking than me) the small mask would be less cumbersome on my face. I spent the night trying to sleep with first the smallest nose mask and then the bigger one, but try as I might, they just cut into my face in all the wrong places, most especially my upper lip and annoyed my skin terribly. You wouldn't think something so small could be so annoying, (heaven help me if I ever have anything major go wrong with me, I'm such a baby, I know)--but the masks hurt, making sleep impossible. I switched back to the full face mask the tech gave me in a Large size (up from the Small I had previously) but I'm thinking I may need a Medium instead. Sigh. The large mask goes under the chin and if I move my chin at all the air leaks out and causes the CPAP machine to go into high gear and ramp up the pressure--then I seat the mask correctly, but find it really hard to breathe with all that air pressure whooshing and I'm wide awake once again, until I reach over, hit the Off button and get things straightened out and restart the machine.
One of the things that bothered me the most about the mask was the tight fit and the silicone face mask parts annoying my skin and leaving marks. There's some neat padding you can buy that is disposable (and expensive) online that goes between the mask and your face, but since I don't have a lot of money to spend on more stuff, I did some digging around in the Apnea site for fellow do-it-yourselfers. I found a pattern from one member who made her own padding from worn out t-shirt fabric. What an interesting idea! I never mention it much on my blog, but I sew extensively and love to make clothing, so I have a stash of fabric of all types and kinds. The trouble is, I didn't find this particular thread on the Apnea site until nearly midnight, so we had to improvise quickly as it was by now bed-time.
So, without further ado, (brace yourself!) here is a picture of me and my face mask.
|Hey, unfair! Hannibal's mask looks more comfortable!|
|"Here, Karen, put this over your face." (Please,think of the children!)|
As ridiculous as this looks, I had the best night of sleep so far wearing a scrap of t-shirt fabric over my face between me and the mask. Of course, I couldn't see a blasted thing, which made having to turn the machine on and off when the pressure ramped up too high due to some unknown reason quite the experience. I know Carl sleeps better not having to actually look at me in the mask, LOL.
See, we're getting closer to Carl's idea of a plastic bag over my head.....if I keep him up any more nights, he might just 'forget' to add a safety vent to the bag. (I'm kidding.)