CPAP: Use It And Live - page 3

by Ruby Vee

12,034 Views | 38 Comments

i work in a cardiac intensive care unit; ccu and sicu together. as an icu nurse, iím well acquainted with the correlation between untreated sleep apnea and heart disease, stroke or sudden death. and i wish i had a dollar for... Read More


  1. 0
    I am using a 'nasal pillow' with my cpap and find it comfortable--see what your pulmonologist suggests--there are many many types of masks for you to choose from--there is even a site for masks that have a return policy( for a fee of course) but in any case ---continue using your cpap
  2. 2
    Quote from pavanneh
    well....ashamed to say...i have not been using my machine. partly because of the flu i have had and the coughing at night is hugely annoying with the mask. but, it is getting better so i am going to start uing it again. and i am a respiratorytherapist so i know better. but it is very uncomfortable to use and i feel like i am suffocating sometimes. but....i have been able to keep it on most nights. thanks for the great post and incentive to keep using it. no matter what.
    the flu is an issue. some people get full face masks for when their noses are stuffed up, but for the most part i've found that once i put the mask on, it "blasts through" the stuffiness. coughing is challenging -- but if you paste your tongue up against the back of your upper front teeth on the roof of your mouth, you can cough without the air from your pap going straight out your mouth. cpaptalk.com is a wealth of information about living with cpap and making it more comfortable.

    http://cpaptalk.com
    blueheaven and cherryames1949 like this.
  3. 2
    I struggled for over 3 months to get used to my CPAP. I am hard headed about a lot of things, and would not let this beat me. My biggest problem was getting treated for the nasal congestion that I had. No full face masks back in the early 90's. So if I was not able to breath thru my nose, the CPAP did not do any good. But now all that is controlled, I am on my 3rd or 4th machine, the insurance company allows more than one mask/ gear replacement a year. I panic if told I can not use my machine. Love it, took it to Europe, too. And Camping...I have one that is just for that use.
    I was diagnosed in 1990 after falling asleep one too many times on the interstate...only an 8 hr shift worked and I did not feel sleepy or tired. Until the car horns started blaring, I did not know I was drifting over 4+ lanes of traffic. No, I did not know what my problem was, but I had a good internist that directed me to the ONLY sleep clinic in town. Now there are several sleep clinics.
    I have been on a vent since then due to complications from another surgery that led to infection and surgery in my lungs. A vent and a trach are NOT fun. Just on a CPAP now. Had to have O2 for awhile, once I got home. LOVE MY CPAP.
    Last edit by bradleau on Oct 7, '10 : Reason: clarification
    cherryames1949 and Ruby Vee like this.
  4. 1
    Ok, Ok already -- I'll start using mine again! I hate the **** thing, but you're right -- heart failure and/or being on a ventilator would suck even more. I KNOW this, but each night somehow it's easier to leave the darned thing off -- or "try" for 30 minutes and then pull it off. I've managed to get used to it before, so I can get used to it again! (got my current one recently and haven't gained/lost weight so I'm sure it still fits -- just don't want to use it).

    And I'll try even harder to lose weight in the hopes that then I won't need the darned thing at all! (but recognizing that weight loss may or may not make my sleep apnea go away).

    Thanks for a great post!
    Last edit by dianah on Oct 12, '10 : Reason: Terms of Service
    cherryames1949 likes this.
  5. 0
    I have sleep apnea as well. COMPLEX/MIXED sleep apnea to be specific! For those of you who don't know, that means a combination of obstructive and central. Had sinus surgery back in 2005 that supposedly [according to sleep doc and sleep study] brought my originally purely obstructive SA down to a level that didn't require treatment. In 2009, I begged them to give me a repeat sleep study b/c I felt like the sleep apnea was back. The docs poo-poo'ed me and said no no no, it's just season, it's winter and you're extra tired from the lack of sunlight. Well, I insisted and they finally ordered the study. SURE ENOUGH, results said now that my sleep apnea had gone untreated for years (due to my deviated septum returning to it's pre-op position etc), I had severe complex SA. Awesome. Now I wear a non-vented nasal pillow-only CPAP and it is one of my best friends To the original poster--yes, I definitely believe CPAP compliance directly relates to cardiac outcomes, etc. Low levels of oxygen for 8 hours [or however long you sleep] and the lack of restful sleep that so many body systems require to recuperate every night is soooo detrimental to everyone's health, whether they have apparent cardiac issues or not.
    big kudos on writing this and big kudos to the other nurses who use their ownnn CPAPs faithfully!! To those of you who don't, I swearrrr your life will improve tenfold or more!!! You are more rested, pleasant, clear-thinking etc.
  6. 3
    Thank you so much for this post! I work in a Sub-acute facility that only admits Ventilator Dependent Respiratory Failure patients. I see way to many patients that have obstructive sleep apnea with or without obesity who were non-compliant with their CPAPs and other regimens. Needless to say, they end up in my unit with VDRF and a laundry list of co-morbidities, sometimes with an inability to ever wean off their trach or vent. Strapping on that CPAP every night is a cake walk compared to a life on permanent Trach/Ventilator Therapy! Kudos for continuing to educate and intervene with your patients before it's too late

    RetRN77, NRSKarenRN, and blueheaven like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from oramar
    I have question for nurses that use them. Did it force you to move of your bedroom because it is noisy and keep your spouse awake?
    We always play a rainshower CD, so any noise made by our (yes our) machines or masks is a non issue
  8. 0
    I have had two of these things and could never use them. The first one was prescribed about 13 or 14 years ago, when I was still married. I was able to wear it for a few weeks and I did get better sleep with it for a while, but then it became so irritating to me that I was tearing it off when asleep and then later it just kept me up all night if I tried to use it.

    Later my doc ordered a different one, with a gel mask and some kind of humidifier attached to it. I think I used it once or twice and that was enough for me. I think there are pieces of it in one of my closets.

    I sleep alone nowadays although my daughter says that I snore sometimes (I'm a divorced dad who has sole custody). I don't believe her :-). I do know that if I sleep on my back it's not unusual to wake up gasping.

    What to do? I don't know. I'm reluctant to mention it to my PCP; he'll order another (3rd!) sleep study and probably a CPAP that I can't tolerate. Back in the first go around the whole thing started because of muscular issues; the PCP sent me to a rheumatologist who felt that it was fibromyalgia and that sleep disturbances go along with that; the sleep specialist/neurologist said I had sleep apnea. Then we had a 3 way battle between the docs...the neurologist wanted me to have surgery in my throat for it; the rheum and the PCP strongly disagreed and wanted me to use meds and a CPAP. I gave up on all of it and just deal. If they could find another way to treat the apnea I'd be interested but the CPAP was completely unacceptable and I couldn't sleep at all with that thing on my nose and the air forced in.
  9. 0
    You might talk to your doctor about a chin strap alone - sometimes in PACU we pushed up on the lower chin to raise O2 sats.
  10. 1
    Please, please, try to find something that will work for you. Do some web surfing-the web site that another poster mentioned is excellent.

    I have always snored, even when I weighed 120lbs. Of course I don't weigh that now but still! A few years ago, I started noticing that I was having difficulty with my memory (not good when you work ICU). When I would wake up in the mornings and every muscle in my body would ache as well as having severe headaches.

    Anyway, had a sleep study and found out there was good reason for my difficulties. My oxygenation would drop at times to the 60s. We intubate people with better sats than that! Even now, I have nights where I take my mask off but 95% of the time it stays on. It was like turning on a light switch. The muscle pain, morning headaches, hypertension, decreased vision went away. I can tell that the hypoxia fried off a few brain cells but overall my memory is better.

    Do I like wearing it? Heck no. For me it beats the alternative. Keep trying! Find a system that will work for you. There are other systems besides the nasal and full face mask. Good luck!
    NRSKarenRN likes this.


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