|"Is it safe to look?"|
One of the things I'm finding since using the CPAP is I dread going to bed. I know, how silly does that sound? I'm being a Big Chicken.
|Just like our chickens dread walking in snow, I dread trying to sleep lately!|
|'Golden Raindrops' crabapple with 'George Peabody' thuja occidentalis in background|
One thing that made me uneasy about the sleep tech is when I asked him what mask he thought was the most comfortable and how to deal with the pressure changes. He shrugged, "Couldn't say, I don't have sleep apnea, and I've never worn a mask or used a CPAP."
Well, ok, at least he was honest, but, again, really? Wouldn't you think they'd try on at least one mask so they could know what their patient is up against?
|Pinus parviflora 'Glauca' on Quarry Hill|
"It's true, I've never had the x-ray part of the mammogram," she said, "But when we are in school we are required to go through the 'squishing' part so we know what it feels like."
I was amazed, what a good idea to train techs as to how something feels so they know what they are putting people through. Of course, there are many Ob-gyns who have never had a baby, too, and heart doctors who have not had heart surgery, etc....but I don't think it's asking too much of a sleep tech to strap on a face mask and see what it feels like so they know what people are complaining about.
|Snowflakes on seed head|
And yes, I'm complaining, AGAIN. I called the sleep tech Tuesday afternoon and told him the masks are still giving me trouble (even though the t-shirt fabric helps, there's still fit issues) and posters over on cpaptalk.com told me to ask for different mask types and made some excellent suggestions and asked me how my machine was set up. There I had a problem, because I didn't know the settings or even that I had access to user data.
When we picked up the machine two weeks ago, I was told by the sleep tech, "You don't need to know what the settings are, or how this works, so don't try to get into the machine and mess around--the settings are prescribed by your doctor and you're not to worry about that. Just bring in the SD card/chip before your appointment with the doctor and we'll print out a report at that time. Your doctor will take it from there. I won't be coming to your house to tuck you in at night, so if you have any problems, you'll have to call me. I'm not a mind reader." (No, you're not, but you could strap on a face mask, oh Mighty Karnak the Magnificent.)
But then, from the helpful forum, I find this has happened to many of them, being told to stay out of their own data, but they didn't. And they encouraged me to grow a pair, too. I was told there's things I can do to make this machine a bit more user-friendly. Armed with this knowledge, I dug around online until I figured out how to get into the advanced screens and was able to get some very important information so people on the forum could help me understand the machinery much better. I didn't make any changes to what the tech entered into the machine, but I still felt a little guilty and said so on the forum. I was told no CPAP Police would be coming to my house to arrest me and after all, it's my machine and my health. And if I have to answer to a potentially crabby technician for opening the proverbial Pandora's Box, so be it. I don't know if he'll be upset or not, but I imagine he won't be thrilled since I didn't follow orders.
The older I get, the less I seem to want to 'just follow orders'. Too bad I didn't get more gutsy earlier on in life, but it's not too late yet, by gum. (Ok, by gum? Wow, HOW old am I?)
The bad part is at times I feel trapped by a machine I'll have to use for a long, long time to come. Much like a vole under the snow, like in the picture below. Do you see the long tracks? We are being overrun with voles (or maybe it's mice, not sure) this year, judging by the tracks under and over the snow. I was out cross-country skiing on Sunday when I took this picture and noticed odd markings in the snow right over the mouse/vole tracks.
|What looks like boot tracks are actually feather marks from a hawk or owl dive-bombing the vole's trails.|
|No, the raptor was not making snow angels, he was being the Angel of Death.|
Wonder if the mouse survived?
But the trapped feeling is transient and hopefully, over time, will evaporate for good. I read other people describing the recurring dream of being a stuffed turkey, and I laughed out loud over that...it's true! Sometimes, the sensation of too much air forced into my lungs makes me feel stuffed, too. I have to learn to breathe with the machine and not against it. Many people suggested using 'nasal pillows' for my next mask...gee, that sounds comfy, doesn't it, but we'll see how it goes. The headgear looks much less cumbersome, if I can get used to having plastic 'pillows' shoved up my snout. I'm hoping my sleep tech has some on hand so I can at least try them.
|Bosnian pine on left and 'Yellow Ribbon' thuja occidentalis on right. Aermotor windmill in the middle.|
I asked the sleep tech if I was being super-annoying. (I don't know why I ask questions I know the answers to, but I did it anyway.)
He said, "Welllllll....no....75% of the time, patients are good to go with the first face mask, and then there's some patients I see so often I feel like something's missing if I don't talk to them every day. So far, I'm only talking to you about once a week, so you're not the worst one I've ever had. It's not unusual for people to go through three or four masks until they find the right one. I'll call you tomorrow and we'll see if we can set up a time for you to come in again."
I didn't remind him I'm already on my fourth mask....shhhhhhh.... let's not and say we did, ok?