With any amount of luck, this will be the last of my posts regarding my attempts to get a better night’s sleep. You might recall this post and this post and this post which detailed my two trips to the sleep lab at our local hospital due to my seeming inability to shake off tired during the day. It was more than that, of course. I was driving my wife crazy with my snoring and, per her reports, I was waking myself up frequently because of what she described as moments during which she couldn’t tell if I was breathing or not. Well, two sleep studies later, they have hooked me up with a trial of CPAP.
Let me start off by saying that CPAP is officially the least sexy thing on the planet. I was surprised, however, by the size of the machine. I carried it home in a bag the size of a small carry-on piece of luggage. Honestly, I really was expecting something the size of the WOPR with only slightly fewer lights and noisemakers. Instead, it’s about the size of a Stephen King hardcover book (think The Stand or It or The Tommyknockers) and fits right on my bedside table. It makes no discernible noise and is very easy to hook up.
I had to spend an hour with a respiratory therapist last Wednesday afternoon getting the lowdown on how to use the machine, how to clean it and picking the right mask. Although during my sleep study, I went with a full nose mask, when it came down to buying one, I went with the one that was of the nasal pillow design. This type fits right in your nostrils, and is less of a pain in the ass (and slightly more sexy) than the full nose masks. When it’s on me, I can do a pretty good elephant impression which reduced Anna to a giggling fit and had Heidi looking over her glasses at me.
I’ve been at it for about a week now and I have to say that I have noticed a HUGE difference in the quality of sleep I’m getting. I still woke up a lot at first. Initially, the mask and all its accoutrements were hard to negotiate at night but now, I’ve pretty much got it all down. So far, the biggest pains are taking the damn thing off in an semi-conscious state to try to shamble to the bathroom in the middle of the night and the pain in the butt that it is to clean on a daily basis. The other thing that was problematic at first but hasn’t been as big of a deal the last few nights is I had awfulterriblehorrible dry mouth one night. I woke up and my mouth was so dry I could not drink enough water. It was so bad that I had to take the mask off and sleep like I used to. I looked it up the next morning and that’s due either to a leak in the mask or sleeping with your mouth open. I don’t think the mask is leaky since I just got the thing so clearly, I need to be better about my sleep position.
I would like to say that my quest for a good night’s sleep ends here, but I have a feeling, it’ll be something I deal with the rest of my life. I also think I’ll be trying to correct my chronic sleep deficit for quite some time. Truthfully though, it is amazing what a half-way decent night’s sleep can do for you.