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How CPAP Changed My Life: An Introduction

By David L. Hebert

I have been a practicing lawyer for 17 years. Throughout my life, since childhood, I have had problems sleeping. I suffered from chronic insomnia, and when I finally would fall asleep, I would snore very loudly. I also suffered from chronic daytime fatigue. After years of trying to deal with the symptoms, my doctor and I decided to investigate whether Obstructive Sleep Apnea might be contributing to my problems.

I was initially a little apprehensive about starting CPAP therapy. The results of my Sleep Test confirmed that I did indeed suffer from sleep apnea, although I was fortunate in that the number of incidents per hour was quite low. Still, while I slept, a few times an hour, I would stop breathing.

I was hopeful that the therapy would help to alleviate some of the various symptoms I was experiencing. But would I be able to sleep with a mask strapped to my face? Would the machine be too noisy to sleep? Was I now going to be stuck having to use a machine forever?

On the other hand, I had to do something. I had trouble falling asleep at night, and I had trouble staying asleep; in the daytime, I was getting to the point where I was having to take hour-long naps. I constantly felt tired, and it made work more challenging, since being tired can make it harder to focus and harder to recall details.  Further, it isn’t necessarily either easy or practical to schedule lengthy naps throughout the workday.

I had mentioned to a friend that I wasn’t looking forward to needing a machine for the rest of my life. She asked me, didn’t I think the better sleep was worth it? I had to concede that she had a point. If it even helped to alleviate a portion of the daytime fatigue I was suffering, it would indeed be worth it. So, I scheduled the appointment to pick up my machine.

When I went in for my appointment, I was surprised to find that the fitting area included a bed, so that you can lie down to get a more realistic feel for the mask fitting. The attendant who was helping me select a mask was very helpful and accommodating and allowed me to try a few different masks on to find one that fit comfortably. In somewhat of a Goldilocks moment, the first one was too small, and the second one far too big, but the third seemed to fit just right.

In fact, when the attendant had me lie down on the bed to test it out, the machine was whisper quiet. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to relax and observe the light pressure of the machine sending air into my lungs. After what seemed like a minute or two, I heard the attendant ask how I was doing. I undid the mask and told her that I thought that this mask was a really great fit and that it was quite comfortable. She then told me that I had been lying down there for about fifteen minutes. Apparently I was so comfortable with the mask on, I had fallen asleep. I took it as a positive sign. I took the machine home and started using it that night and I have been using the machine ever since.

Because I found such great success with CPAP therapy, I am eager to share more about my experience in adjusting to therapy. I will also be sharing some of the tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

If you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, consider scheduling a Sleep Test. Medigas Manitoba can conduct a home-based Sleep Test with a referral from your doctor, or without a referral by taking a private sleep test. You can download a referral form here.

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