mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
[personal profile] mapsedge
 Had a follow-up with the pulmonologist yesterday. I explained my issues, and he nodded understanding to each. The final word was that "CPAP, when it works, is the best solution, but it may not be for you. If you decide not to use it, the next step is call your dentist."

I tend to respect the authority of someone who is an expert in a field in which I'm not, so I took that statement as a permission or a sort to abandon the CPAP. Since Apria is right down the street from his office, I went there next, machine in hand, to give it back to them.

Here's the thing, just in case I haven't made it clear: my problem isn't with the idea as a whole. With a badly deviated septum, any air flowing into my nose is welcome, and I like the white noise of the machine. My problem is with the masks. I've used up my insurance and Apria's courtesy exchange and can't afford to pay retail for yet another mask, so, to my way of thinking, we're done. I'm not going to pay three month's rent on a machine that will sit unused and collecting dust until the next insurance-covered mask exchange opportunity comes around.

I arrive with the machine, put it on the counter. The receptionist gives me a "Against Medical Advice" form to fill out and sign, since I don't have a written prescription to discontinue the treatment. As I'm filling it out, I explain the money issue to the nice lady and she says, "So, what you're telling me is you'll keep on with it if we can try another mask?"

Yep. So, five minutes later, I'm in a room with Paula, my RT there, trying out a new mask. (She was lightly critical of the second mask I was given, and by extension the person who gave it to me, but was discrete about it.) We tried the new mask, it seemed to work much better, and she sent me home with it, no charge, with the admonition to stay in touch. "I want you to sleep," she said, "and I don't want money to be the reason you don't."

The new mask has no "solid" foam insert - it's simply a silicon shell with grooves around the circumference that give it the ability to seal and yet allow some flexibility between the mask's connection points and my face.

With my face, flexibility is needed.

I tried it last night, and it only lost the seal once as I buried my head to one side. As I was already awake at that moment and a simple adjustment re-sealed it, it didn't bother me. The bridge of my nose is sore, but I think that will go away with time.

I am, once again, hopeful.

I hope

Date: 2010-01-15 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This one works out.

Not sleeping is only good in Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

Date: 2010-01-16 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's good to hear that there are still some healthcare professionals out there who are more concerned with patients' health than with the bottom line. Refreshing, actually.

I have a somewhat "off" taste in my mouth when it comes to Apria, mainly because I felt like I got the impersonal "get 'em in, get 'em out" treatment from them the few times I actually interacted with them - from the receptionist to the RT. /shrug Just proof that YMMV.

I often struggled with my masks because of my goatee/mustache. Best for me was a nasal mask with chin strap, but I never tried the nasal pillows.

A good resource for masks (and all things CPAP related) that I found was actually While their stuff is generally full retail (with some discounts), there is also lots of information, reviews, comparisons, etc. And, supposedly, most/all of their employees are CPAP users themselves. They also have a fairly generous return/exchange policy - so it's not difficult to try some different things out to see what works best for you. You may have found the site already and I may have mentioned it before, but I'll just toss it out there again.

I don't know how badly my septum was deviated, but the ultimate fix for me was having my tonsils out, my septum straightened and losing about 40 pounds (which all sort of came together at once, so I can't say that any one thing was the solution). In fact, shortly after my surgery, it became impossible for me to use my CPAP at it's RT-configured setting because the pressure was too high.

I did some research to find out how to adjust the pressure settings on my machine myself (not recommended by anyone, but at that point my machine was 5 years old and I had never been back to the RT) but ultimately just stopped using it and discovered that I was fine without. There are still times when I think I have some mild apnea, especially when I am congested.

Here's to hope and getting a good night's sleep!
Edited Date: 2010-01-16 04:50 pm (UTC)

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