Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Not So Much Rage Against the Machine

 I 'think' I may have started to catch on to using the CPAP therapy finally.  I'm not saying that out loud yet, because I don't want to jinx it, but for the past two nights, I actually slept fairly well, only getting up a few times and averaging about six hours of sleep a night.  My apneas (breathing cessations) are down to around four an hour compared to seventeen before treatment, which isn't great, but is still a vast improvement. 
Miscanthus in January

I was waking up about fifteen to twenty times a night the first two weeks of wearing the mask which is really tiring, though I felt better in the morning since even the little sleep I was getting was more restorative.  Trying to sleep with sleep apnea is like having someone come into your bedroom and, in my case, smother you with a pillow seventeen times an hour.  I've met people who have had apneas in the 90's and 100's an hour, and I cannot imagine what that must be like.  Talk about tired! 
Big icicle going over Quarry waterfall from our sump pump last winter

The reason I know how many times I wake up for certain is my machine keeps track of everything I do sleep-wise on an SD card and will print out a report upon request,  it's like having a spy in my bedroom. Sort of like an electronic Santa Claus if you will-- (It sees me when I'm sleeping, it knows when I'm awake, it knows if I am breathing or not, so keep breathing for goodness sake!)

If I stop breathing or slow down too much, the machine automatically ramps up the air pressure which then, in turn, forces me to breathe whether I like it or not.  At first it felt like I was drowning in air at times, the sensation is similar to sticking your head out of a car window at around 55 mph and trying to breathe (how do dogs do that??) but I think I'm getting used to it somewhat. 

I did go and see my sleep tech last week Thursday and picked up two new masks.  One was a nasal pillows type which sounds way more comfortable than it was to wear (but I think, in time, I might get the hang of that type of mask, too) and the other was the newest full face mask on the market right now, one I had high, high hopes for and one I cannot get to work for me.  All the darn thing wants to do is leak and make highly inappropriate noises  (which in sleep apnea circles are fondly referred to as 'face farts', told you it was inappropriate.)  Not only are the masks incredibly attractive, they also serenade all parties present in the bedroom during the night, too!  

Carl is still valiantly putting up with this fiasco yet and shows no signs of weakening (or sleeping on the couch)  I am amazed by his determination.  Last night I woke up around 3AM to my face mask merrily flapping in the breeze-oh, here we go again, turn on the light and try to figure out what went wrong now.
We don't have the ice cube this winter, which is too bad...the hose froze up! 
  I've spent a lot of time over on the website dedicated to Sleep Apnea and read hundreds of posts which have been very helpful, though now it's time for me to get on with life and stop obsessing.  I have a new pillow ordered (buckwheat hull-filled, no, not a Sobakawa!) especially for Side Sleeping Sleep Apnea Snoozer CPAP Users like me which should arrive sometime this week and I can't wait.  I hope it's all it's cracked up to be.  I'm supposed to be able to 'dig' holes in the buckwheat hulls for a space for my mask and shove the rest of the hulls around to form comfortable lumbar support points and then just drift off to sleep. I'm not sure how that will work, but doesn't it sound wonderful?  Hey, I can dream. 

In fact, now I can dream, and it's amazing.  Now that I'm getting some deeper, REM sleep, I have been having vivid dreams and it's been fun.  I know that sounds odd, but I haven't had dreams like this in years, and I can remember details of them quite well.  The only thing I regret is waking up sometimes before the dream is over and I don't find out what happened.  Last night, it was all about lightning and a graveyard, oh, it was vivid and not scary in the least.  I could smell the rain in the air....

I am going to call the sleep tech guy again sometime this week to see if we can figure out something to do about the masks not fitting so well.  I have until the end of January, and I am amazed to see how short of time that is!  I can't believe how the time has flown by.  Normally we would have had at least one stained glass lamp built for the winter and I haven't even started laying out glass yet.  I love winter for the change of pace it gives us here, I can devote time to stained glass and not feel guilty that I'm neglecting the garden. So what do I do?  Neglect the craft.  Before I know it, it will be time to plant my seeds for spring and I won't have even one stained glass project done for the winter.     Procrastinatoe-y again, and another thing I want to change about me; maybe I will be able to make some changes now that I'm a hose-head. 

So ENOUGH with the sleep apnea, I'll try to give the topic a rest.

Now, where was I in that dream....   


Rosemary said...

Way to go on perserverance. If you are starting to dream that can only be good..Loved the bright blue sky in your winter garden photos so beautiful even in the cold and snow.

FlowerLady said...

Karen ~ I love your sense of humor even when going through stuff that isn't so humorous. I'm glad to hear that you are getting used to the contraption, and getting better sleep.

Love your winter scenes there at Quarry Gardens.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Becky said...

Karen, Love all of your winter photos. Glad you are getting more sleep. Hang in there.

Jester said...

As always, your garden is gorgeous. I can so picture me sitting beside the quarry with a fire going in a chiminea and just chillaxing in awe at the wonder of it all.

Glad to hear the sleep apnea is going a little better and certainly hope all your dreams come true with the "buckwheat" pillow. I can't even imagine how fustrating this all must be!!! Sending lots of prayers that this contraption starts working for you like it should & becomes less of a nusance for you.

On another note...checkout this website:

I came accross this and imediately thought me & you should take this class!!!! Of course I have no money or time at the moment, but it is most definately on my bucket list & I WILL do it eventually!!!

Wishing you some peaceful sleep (& Carl!),
Donna aka jester

Dandelion and Daisy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today. It brought me over to your place for a visit, I haven't been for a while, sorry. Sounds like you have been going through a "nightmare" in more ways than one since last I visited. It is interesting to learn more about sleep apnea, which we hear about, but still do not really know how much it affects people until folks, like you, share your story. You are doing a service by educating the "likes of me" about the condition. Sleep is so taken for granted by many of us and it is so vital to our physical and mental health, I cannot imagine what you have been going through BEFORE you were diagnosed. Atleast now you have the tools to fight the battle. Hope the "kinks" get worked out soon and sleep and dreams are once again "common" for you!

lifeshighway said...

I loved the contradictions of seeing your lovely stonework on ice and then read about your apnea and buckwheat pillows. It's kinda like being to pat your head and rub your stomach!

Good luck on the pillow (fascinating), yeah for dreaming and decent sleep.

Anonymous said...

Your own Niagara Falls. I enjoyed your photos again. So glad you are sleeping better and dreaming. That makes for s fresh day ahead.

Darla said...

It appears you are embracing this new chapter in your life, way to go. Kudos to that man for sticking by his gal!

Alison said...

I'm so thrilled to hear you are dreaming! It's a good sign. Hoping you get caught up on lots more sleep, and even accomplish something stained glass-wise this winter!

xoxoxo said...

Waaaahhhhoooooo! Go Karen!
Im sitting her trying to figure out how to combine Procrastinatoes with Perserverance...
but I just cannot do it!
You have NOT been procrastinating! You have been attempting to get ahead this year. I find, if you WILLINGLY do not do something, then it is not procrastination :)
Keep up the good work!
PS-my respirator for painting shall be shown on the blog soon! I thought of you when I put it on!

Zoey said...

Karen, sometimes you crack me up--like when you said "hose head"!

I am glad to hear you and the machine are getting a bit more friendly. I had no idea what was involved with a CPAP - in fact I had a friend at work who had one and I always thought she was saying CPACK.

It sounds like you are making progress and that is wonderful!

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Karen, I am so happy you are sleeping better with the machine. Your winter photographs are stunning! P x

Sall's Country Life said...

Well Karen I'm glad to hear there's progress. Probably not as much as you had hoped for, but it sounds like a lot to me. Dreaming again is a big jump in the right direction! I have to say every time I see CPAP in your post my eyes read CRAP!! LOL. I'm not so sure this oversight isn't close to your actual description of your new bed time companion (the machine, not Carl!) And speaking of Carl, God Bless him for his patience in the whole matter! What a great guy! I'll be thinking of you and hoping you can get a comfortable face mask in the near future! Our nights of late have been interrupted with whining cats and cold temperatures, now I know what it's like to be sleep deprived! Good grief how have you done it for so long??

Karen said...

Thank you, Rosemary! I have always loved winter's bright blue skies.

Flowerlady, thank you, and the pastry puffs turned out great!

Hello Becky, thanks for the encouragement, one day (night) at a time, right?

Jester, We've been missing the campfires quite a bit, too, but there's all this snow all over, lol. The class looks like it would be spectacular if I only had the cash. It would be fun, wouldn't it?? Thanks for the wishes on the CPAP thing, too. I'm still trying to get it right.

Karen said...

Dandelion, I'm glad I'm not boring everyone with the CPAP tales. There's no substitute for a good night's sleep and I am looking forward to it soon. :-)

lifeshighway, I never could rub my stomach and pat my head. Which could be part of my problem? Once the pillow arrives, then the fun will begin for certain!

Donna, yes, this is as close to Niagara Falls as we can get in a reasonable facsimile. I'm so in awe of the Real thing!

Darla and Alison, thank you for your good wishes and yes, I'm giving it my best shot.

April, I can't figure out how to do a play on words with those two either. I can't wait to see your respirator--if it looks comfy, I may be commandeering it for CPAP use!

Hi Zoey, yes, CPAP is a weird acronym isn't it? I didn't know what it meant before this either, but NOW I do!

Thank you, Pam, and it's good to hear from you!

Sall's Country Life, you're so right, CRAP more than adequately describes how I feel about the machine most of the time...! It's gonna be a cold one tonight here, 7 below...I'm sorry to hear your nights have been broken up with one thing and another too, here's to better sleep for everyone!

Tootsie said...

I am so glad to hear that you are improving...keep it up!
I am just loving the photos of the winter in your garden!!! they are so pretty!