CPAP Therapy and the myAir App

I started using my new CPAP machine in late June 2019 and I just wanted to post an update on my progress.

When Aprea Healthcare told me that I wasn’t going to get a BiPAP machine, I was freaked out because I have been using a BiPAP machine since 2005 and I thought the CPAP, which is called CPAP because it’s continuous air, BiPap is for bidirectional air, I though the CPAP was going to make it harder to sleep, but this new CPAP is actually not that bad. I am able to inhale and exhale normally.

The mask they included with my new machine was the nasal mask that I was used to, but this new mask was a bit different. The old mask had the cushion and pillow, unlike the new ones that just have the pillow. Here is my old mask with the cushion and pillow on the left, and the new pillows with 3 different nose sizes on the right.

I never had a problem with the old cushion and pillow masks, I could breathe through both nostrils just fine throughout the ramp stage (when you first start for the night, your machine starts out with a low pressure and that pressure slowly builds up to the final pressure over time to allow you to get used to the air) and beyond. This new mask was just too restricting for me. I started with the medium, which was installed on the mask frame when I received my new machine, and decided to use the large one on the 2nd night, but I still had a problem getting air during the ramp stage. I called and set up an appointment to tell them I’m having trouble and they told me I could get a different mask before the first 30 days are up, so I went in and they suggested this new nasal pillow which goes into your nostrils, and that one seems to work better, but there are side effects, like me pulling on the hose while I sleep which causes the air to leak.

The guy at Aprea Healthcare suggested I use the medium nasal pillow, but it’s too small and when I wake up, my nostrils are in agony because both pillows have literally gone inside my nose lol. I switched to the large, and haven’t had any pain. It REALLY sucks waking up in pain.

So this is my update. I’m doing good with my new CPAP machine. I wanted to post something so people will know that if you have been using a BiPAP for a long time and the Sleep Apnea company that sends you a new machine refuses to give you a new BiPAP, but instead only wants to give you CPAP, don’t worry, it’s pretty much the same thing. You can breathe easier (that was my pun for the day lol) knowing it works for me, and I was adamant about getting a BiPAP. If you find that you have trouble with CPAP, tell them and they will work to get you a BiPAP. It was like pulling teeth to get this CPAP, so I’m not even going to try to get something else.

Oh and here’s the myAir app screenshot. I love this app because before I didn’t have any data, this new machine actually sends the data to this app and now I can see what happens when I sleep.

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My Sleep Apnea

My 15 year old BiPAP Machine left vs my new CPAP machine right.

I have severe sleep apnea. In the early 2000’s I was visiting my aunt in Simi Valley and another aunt in Lancaster, both in California and both aunts told me that not only is my snoring loud, but they could hear me gasp for air in my sleep. In 2003 I was waking up in the middle of the night literally gasping for air. I couldn’t inhale any air at all, yet I was able to exhale what air I had left in my lungs with no problem. I thought I was going to die, and this happened every night. I went to my doctor and they gave me an inhaler and they ordered a sleep study and a year later I got my first machine which is the BiPAP machine in the image above on the left.

My original sleep study was great because I was taking Ambien at the time, so I was able to go to sleep immediately. They only had me there for a few hours, and during that time they gave me both tests. They had me sleep without the mask, for I’m guessing an hour, then they woke me up to put the mask on me connected to a BiPAP machine and conducted the test for another hour, then I was released. It did take a year for me to finally receive my BiPAP machine, but it wasn’t an issue getting it to me. The only time the company that sold the BiPAP to me contacted me was when they were trying to set up an appointment to bring it to my house and to show me how it works.

Last year in February I had a new sleep study so that I could get a new machine since mine was 14 years old at the time, and I had the hardest time getting to sleep. First of all, the insurance company won’t let me take sleeping pills anymore because they think I’m addicted to them. I have sleeping disorders and insomnia. If I can’t sleep, I need something to help me to sleep, otherwise I’m up until 4am staring at the ceiling.

So last year I was at the new sleep study and the room was a nice room that resembled a bedroom in an office with a nice bed that looked and felt brand new, but it was a strange bed and the room was hot and I just couldn’t sleep. I was awake for about 80% of the study. It’s difficult to sleep when you don’t have anything to help you sleep and you have all these wires on your head and body and you are told to sleep on your back in a strange environment in a strange bed in a hot room.

They had me come back a few months later for the second part of the sleep study which was the same exact thing, but the only difference was I had to sleep with the mask on from the same exact BiPAP machine that I was currently using. The same thing happened, I was awake for 80% of the night, but this time I had a mask on blowing air into my nose and I was awake for it. It’s so frustrating.

So I figured I had failed the sleep study both times and there was no way I was ever going to get a new machine. I was surprised when this year I received a phone call to tell me that I had been approved for a new machine. This was the most difficult machine to get because they kept calling me to tell me they were missing documents from my doctor’s office and that I would have to wait for it to be approved. Then one day they called me to tell me that I’m not going to get my machine at all because they have cancelled me because they didn’t get the documents. I called the doctor’s office every time they called me, and every single time the doctor’s office told me that they did in fact send every document that was requested, multiple times. It took 3 months of getting these phone calls telling me they were missing documents. Don’t call ME to tell me you don’t have documents, call the doctor’s office. I think that is so unprofessional of a company to do that to a patient. Don’t involve me in this, just work to get me my machine.

So finally I did get the machine and it is a much smaller machine, but this one is a CPAP machine instead of a BiPAP machine. What’s the difference? Well, a CPAP machine is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and a BiPAP is Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. I was told back in 2005 that the BiPAP stood for Bidirectional Positive Airway Pressure.

My first night with this new CPAP machine wasn’t good. I was awake half the night. I think I was just not used to this new mask and it was constantly leaking air. Well, that was my fault, I didn’t have it on tight enough. The second night I had it on much tighter, but I kept turning the machine off because I thought the mask was too small because I couldn’t breathe through my left nostril. It came with a guide that you place on your face to see which mask you need. It told me I need the small, but it was too small, I feel more comfortable with the large one.

This new machine is connected to an online company that tracks my sleep, and the purpose is so the insurance company can make sure I am using it. If I don’t use it, then they don’t want to pay for it. That’s literally what the company that sold the machine told me. They are also watching to make sure I’m using it. They said I need to use it at least 4 hours a night for 3 months or so, and if I follow this, then the insurance company will pay for the machine until it’s paid for, and then the machine is mine to keep. But if I don’t use it, they will know. Why wouldn’t I use it? I have sleep apnea lol.

I am so thankful to have this new machine, because I was so worried my old one was going to stop working and that I would eventually die from my sleep apnea. I would rather die in my sleep not knowing I’m dying rather than be in pain, but I’m not even 50 yet, I’m not ready to die. My mother died at age 42 of a heart attack in her sleep, and I know for a fact she snored really loud. I think she had sleep apnea, and just didn’t know. What a way to go though. Let me get wrinkles before I die though.