In which I am fat and grouchy

Just got back from a performance at my kid’s school, made up entirely of fifth and sixth graders, that the drama teacher decided to call a “cabaret,” which put me not so much in mind of things starring fifth and sixth graders. There were puppet shows and speeches and some sort of weirdly avant-garde and possibly partially improvised performance that really had me wondering if I should be snapping my fingers rather than clapping at the end of each part of it.

Meanwhile, my ass still hurts from the chair. I have a fairly ample ass. No chair should be able to do this to me, but at one point during the performance I’m pretty sure I was paralyzed from the waist down. I had my arm around my wife, because they pack those damn chairs so close together that I didn’t have room for my shoulders otherwise, and that was falling asleep too, and … it wasn’t pleasant.

My kid’s puppet show about Icarus and Daedalus was pretty okay, though, especially when they managed to work the “Father, Help” meme into it. Raised that boy right, I have.

CPAP update: I continue to be unable to use the nasal pillows, and my “events” have stabilized around six an hour; still more than they want (the target is less than five) but way less than eighty. I must admit after three days of waking up feeling reasonably energetic (still nothing earthshaking, mind you, but three good night’s sleeps) I was dying on the drive in to work today. I have today and tomorrow and then I have a couple of weeks where I can sleep in. Everything will be fine. I can do this.

In which I slept again!

Tried the nasal pillow, and … man, that just did not work at all for some reason. I’d had the thing on when we were struggling to make the machine work, but I hadn’t laid down wearing one yet, proper fit or not, and the panic was immediate and uncontrollable. For the record, this is what the thing looks like:

So it’s not as ridiculous as the thing I posted a couple of days ago, where the hose was attached to the top of your head, and in a lot of ways looks more comfortable and more maneuverable than the full face mask, but that thing is constantly blowing a high volume of air into both of your nostrils, and to exhale through your nose you have to overcome the force of the air that’s coming in. I suspect it’s something I can get used to given time, so I’m going to continue trying, but last night apparently was not the time or the place. So I went back to the full face mask, and while I still haven’t quite gotten over the shame aspect of the whole thing (I have issues with people being able to see me when I’m asleep in the first place, and when I know I look stupid, it’s magnified in a way that’s hard to describe) I did once again have a good night’s sleep, and again– despite an experimental large glass of water the hour before going to bed– made it through the night without having to get up to pee. Doing it on any night pre-CPAP was highly unusual. Two in a row has probably not happened in years.

This suggests, by the way, that I was not, in fact, waking up because I had to pee. I was waking up and it happened that I had to pee, but the necessity was not the cause of the waking up. That was, one assumes, the not breathing.

Also, the 7:00 AM roll-over-and-the-machine-starts-popping thing happened again, and it was nearly out of water again, so I’m not sure if I’m blaming the hose or the water reservoir or what, but I turned down the humidity a little bit. I get up around 6 during the week, so it might not happen anyway. We’ll see what happens. That said, if they ever call me and ask me how to improve their machine, “increase the size of the damn water reservoir” seems to be an easy win, as the humidification levels go from 1 through 10 and a 3 didn’t make it through the night. I think they could probably double the size of the damn thing easily. We’ll see if a 2 dries me out.

The stats my CPAP feeds me through my phone also looked better; I don’t know precisely what an “event” is, and I need to find out, but I assume they’re bad, as we want them below five an hour (pre-CPAP, I was at around eighty, I believe) and they were down 20% from Friday night’s recording. So we’ll see what happens on night three tonight.

In which I have slept

And the preliminary verdict: Okay, I can do this.

I slept well last night. No superlatives, no embellishment; I slept well. I woke up substantially fewer times than I usually do (we’re talking about waking up long enough to roll over and go back to sleep, to be clear) and for the first time in a long time I didn’t wake up needing to go to the bathroom, which I have a hard time believing is related to the CPAP but might be. My wife reports that there was no snoring, and I spent at least some of that time asleep on my back, which was previously entirely impossible.

At around 7:00 in the morning I woke up and realized that at some point I had at least slightly kinked the hose that was providing me with air; I repositioned it and it started making a sort of clicking sound as the machine got the pressure in the mask back up to level. Once I realized what time it was and that the clicking was a little annoying I went ahead and got up and went to the bathroom (at 7:00, that’s not “waking up in the night,” since it’s later than I sleep in during the week) and put in some eyedrops and checked my face to see if the mask had left indentations. It hadn’t, which honestly kind of surprised me a little bit, and I didn’t feel like my mouth or my nostrils were dried out or anything like that. At that point I’d had my mask on for nine hours, so I didn’t bother putting it back on and went back to sleep for a couple more hours. I’m supposed to wear it for at least four hours a night, so I was all good from the insurance end of things.

It is probably worth pointing out that I actually considered just staying up at 7:00, which I’m pretty sure I have never done on a Saturday in my entire life without a damn good reason.

I have typically been a side/stomach sleeper, so one of the big concerns was that at some point I would have to roll over onto my stomach and the mask would make that difficult. I can only assume/hope that people know what I mean when I say this; that feeling that you have to roll over just never hit me. Again, it feels weird to suggest that was because of the mask, but who the hell knows. I think tonight I’m going to switch to the nasal pillows and see how that goes.

I don’t want to turn the site into a sleep diary or anything, but I’ll report back tomorrow about the nasal pillows. In the meantime, since they send you three sizes of mask every time they send you a mask, I’ve got four masks I’m never going to use. Does anybody happen to know something useful I could do with them?

More CPAPpery

So the geriatric snail that UPS assigned my new CPAP mask to finally completed his mission today, and my new “nasal pillows” mask has officially arrived. Good news and bad news! The good news is that my wife (I deserve no credit for this) figured out how to get the damned machine working; the bad news is that I’m an idiot. The problem? Was the fucking water reservoir, which wasn’t clicked in properly. The whole fucking time.

I checked that, by the way. Multiple fucking times. And I have to admit I’m a trifle pissed with my respiratory therapist, because once we had the reservoir snapped into place properly the entire machine became whisper quiet when before it was louder than both the fan and the air purifier in the room by a good amount. And my therapist, who commented on being able to hear it, didn’t realize that was a problem, or at least didn’t communicate that to me, where the knowledge could have done some good. So it turns out that both the new mask and the old mask work fine, so I just need to figure out which one I want to use. I thought the nasal pillows would be an easy choice, but … well, have you ever had air blown up your nose? Not, like, through a cannula or something, which is much smaller than your nostrils, but something that covers your nostrils to blow air up into them? My first thought upon putting the thing on was holy shit I can’t breathe, and I kind of forgot my mouth was there for a couple of moments, and while it’s more comfortable to wear I feel like the regular mask will be easier to sleep in. So we’re going to try that one tonight and swap back and forth for a while and see how it goes.

Four days to winter break. I can do this. Piece of cake.

In which I’m not there yet

If you have never seen someone wearing a CPAP mask, be aware that it is impossible to overstate just how completely fucking ridiculous they look. Prince couldn’t look cool in one of these fucking things. Bowie couldn’t look cool in a CPAP mask. It’s just impossible, and it’s driven home by the fact that if you Google the masks you get a bunch of pictures of attractive people and models and they still look completely ridiculous– none of them are dressed for bed, and critically, none of them are giant, hairy fat men, which by my understanding are the main clients for these things, as our bodies are tired of us and thus try to strangle us in our sleep.

Anyway, you might be wondering why I haven’t given an update for the CPAPpery yet, and the reason is that I haven’t got one to give. I’ve got my machine, but the mask they sent me … isn’t working. At any size. It is absolutely impossible (I’ve said that a lot in this post already, but it remains true) to get the mask they sent me, at any size, to seal properly– my unit will work for no more than five to ten minutes before stopping because of a “major airflow leak” and tell me to reattach my hoses, which have never been detached and do not have any holes in them, nor are they attached improperly.

We’re trying a different mask of another style, one that is close to the diagram to the right but I think doesn’t feature the idiotic top-of-the-head air tube attachment, and I fully expect to find out when that gets here that there’s something wrong with my machine. Looking forward to it, even, because when you try three different versions of the same mask with three different people, two of whom do not have beards, and remain entirely unable to achieve a proper seal even once, it’s probably a sensor issue somewhere and not the mask’s fault.

I get the new masks on Thursday next week, supposedly, because they are apparently being sent by camel. I feel like given that the insurance company is already hassling me for “noncompliance with my therapy,” which I currently can’t do because my shit doesn’t work, and my respiratory therapist was supposedly going to take care of this exact problem, they maybe could have shipped the equipment faster. Maybe just, like, a guy, on foot. He could have gotten it here before next Thursday, I’m certain of that.

Anyway, if I ever get to attempt to sleep in one of these things, I’ll tell you all about it. It hasn’t happened yet.