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.

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.

Fitbit Sleep

fitbit sleepI was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea in 2005. I visited 2 different aunts from 2002 to 2004 and they both told me that I snored really loud and that I gasped for air. In the summer of 2005 I was waking up in the middle of the night really gasping for air, I mean like I was struggling to breathe like someone had their hands around my neck and was choking me to death. I went to a sleep study and they told me I had severe sleep apnea and prescribed a BiPap machine.

I wore the BiPap machine mask every night for a decade, until I lost 70lbs and the pressure was too much and I couldn’t use it anymore. I didn’t think I had any sleeping issues with it, but I was wrong. I think I just didn’t want to continue to use it because I was sick and tired of having to be tethered to a machine for the rest of my life. Can you imagine not being able to go to bed unless you have a ball and chain locked to your ankle? That’s what it feels like. But in all fairness, if I don’t have that ball and chain locked on my face (in this case) I could likely die.

My mother died in her sleep from a heart attack and she was obese and I remember how bad her snoring was when she was alive. The doctor at the sleep study told me that I could die from a stroke or a heart attack in my sleep if I don’t have a BiPap macine. I believe that if I never went to that sleep study, I wouldn’t be here right now blogging about this.

I just bought a Fitbit Charge HR from Amazon to help motivate me to exercise more often so I can lose weight, and I knew it tracked my sleep, but I wasn’t as motivated by that until this very moment. When I saw my sleep from yesterday, I wasn’t that shocked by my sleeping patterns. It says that it took me 8 minutes to fall asleep, I woke up 6 times, I was restless 7 times and I was awake/restless for 30 minutes and I was only asleep for 6 hours and 6 minutes. The reason is because I set the alarm to wake me up at 8am. I want to wake up earlier than I do because I am trying to change my sleeping habits. I really hate sleeping so late. But then I went back to sleep because my body really needed it. I only slept for 1 hour and 48 minutes, but I was awake 4 times, I was restless 4 times and I was awake/restless for 27 minutes, which is basically half the time I was asleep.

Last night I decided to do an experiment and use my BiPap machine. I have gained half of the weight back that I lost, so I’m getting back into that zone where I really should start using the machine again. The air pressure wasn’t too high, it was the way it was when I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea, so that right there tells me I really need to be wearing my mask again every night. So last night I slept for 9 hours and 13 minutes which tells me I am catching up on much needed sleep. I only woke up 1 time, I was only restless 4 times and I was awake/restless for 8 minutes the whole night. What a huge difference a BiPap machine makes.

This Fitbit watch has really made a difference in my life in just owning it for 2 days. Not only will it help me (hopefully) lose weight, but it helped me to realize that I need to get more sleep and I need to use my BiPap machine every night, which I am going to do.

Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Tracker

I bought The Spark from SparkPeople last year, and it’s nice and all, but it doesn’t do everything I was hoping it would do, plus it’s a little buggy. For example, it doesn’t always recognize what exercise I am doing. I bought a bicycle trainer and would ride my bike on it, and sometimes it logged it as general exercise, while other times it would log it as cycling. When I ride the bike to the gym it logs it as general exercise, and when I walk on the treadmill it logs it as a walk event.

I was going to go with one that has the little dots that spin around to show you your progress, but I want actual real-time numbers displayed on a screen. I already have The Spark from SparkPeople, which has the little dots, I’m not looking to get another one like that. And the Spark doesn’t sync with Noom or Planet Fitness. It’s a nice little doohickey, but I want something that will do more for me since I don’t constantly wear my shoes. I want a watch to wear full time 24/7.

This Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband is exactly what I had in mind. It does everything that I need it to do, and it will sync on my computer, not just my phone. It’s about $146 on Amazon, and I will buy it using Amazon Smile to help the charity of my choice, which is the Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield. Here are all of the things that it does.

  • Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones
  • Track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps
  • Monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm
  • See call notifications, daily stats and time of day on the OLED display
  • Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading smartphones
  • Utilize the sizing tool in Product Details below to ensure proper fit.

This has more features, and it should sync up with Noom and the Planet Fitness app. At least I hope it will lol. Do you have one of these? Do you know if it syncs up with those apps? I would love to know before I buy this watch. Please leave a comment to let me know.

Update: I forgot something. When I say sync up with Noom and the Planet Fitness app, I mean that you can link your Fitbit account with Noom and Planet Fitness. So when I ask if it will sync up, I mean if it’s linked up to Noom and Planet Fitness apps, will it automatically transfer all of the exercise events with the link.

I checked the Noom app and it only connects with Google Fit and Misfit. Planet Fitness connects with more apps, but it doesn’t connect with Google Fit or Misfit. So I guess I have to choose which app is more important.

Sleep Apnea

bipap machine

My aunt in Simi Valley and my other aunt who lived in Palmdale at the time (2002 – 2004) both told me when I visited them that I gasped for air in my sleep and that I snored REALLY loud. I never took the snoring issue seriously because I’ve always snored loud, at least that’s what people always tell me. I remember when I was 19 and lived with my sister and her husband in Tujunga and I fell asleep on the floor while watching TV and my snoring actually woke me up lol.

When we lived in the little house next door in 2004, I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Not like a little gasp and being able to breathe like normal, I mean I was choking and I could not get any air at all. It was frightening, to put it mildly. Just imagine not being able to breathe for several minutes and feeling like you’re going to die soon. What happened was, when I was sleeping, my airway would close, causing me to not be able to breathe. Try as I might, I could not get any air. I would even vomit during this. Vomit was able to leave my mouth, but then my airway would close up again. Eventually the airway would open and I could breathe, and then I would have really bad acid reflux. My doctor gave me a inhaler, and that would help until I could get a sleep study referral, which took a long time to get.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2005. They told me at the sleep study that I would stop breathing for 25 seconds, then breathe for 35 seconds (or maybe it was the other way around) and this went on every minute. I don’t recall if they told me that I gasped for air or not during the sleep study, but I’m sure I did. Thankfully I didn’t vomit lol.

I received my BiPap machine in September 2005 and I used it faithfully every night until 2013 when I lost 70lbs. I was told that if I lost enough weight, I wouldn’t have sleep apnea anymore, and for the last 18 months I didn’t. The last week I’ve had to start using my machine again because I would wake up in the middle of the night with really bad acid reflux, which is always an indication that I need to use my BiPap machine.

One of the concerns I have is that if I don’t use my machine, I could die of a heart attack or stroke in my sleep. My mother was overweight and she died of a heart attack in her sleep. I don’t know if she had sleep apnea, but I do remember that she snored really loud, so I am only assuming that she did, and that was how she died. I was told that sleep apnea is genetic, and that the reason I got it was because a family member had it. My aunt in Palmdale moved to Texas and was also diagnosed with sleep apnea. She and my mother have the same father, but different mothers, so perhaps this was bestowed upon us by my grandfather, who also gave me the gift of male pattern baldness lol. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and every time I look at it in the mirror, I see him and it makes me smile because I loved him.

So I called Monitor Medical today and told them that I was using my machine again, and they made a note in my chart. I would really hate to leave this world and leave my partner because I was dumb enough to stop using my BiPap machine. It’s very irresponsible of me! I hate that I have to use it, but it keeps me alive. I would love to go back to losing weight, but it will happen if it is meant to be. In the meantime, I was continue to use my machine until I don’t have to use it again, but honestly, this is probably going to be with me until the day I die.

If you or someone you know has really bad snoring issues and they might gasp for air, tell them to get to their doctor for a referral for a sleep study. Sleep apnea is a matter of life and death, so when you see someone snoring, don’t laugh at them or ignore the problem, tell them to get to a doctor stat! You will thank me later.

Oh and by the way, the machine at the top, that is a stock photo, but it is the machine that I have. And in case you are wondering about CPAP vs BIPAP, the CPAP uses one pressure and the BiPAP uses two. These two pressures are called inhalation pressure (IPAP) and the exhalation pressure (EPAP). Everyone I have spoken to who has sleep apnea uses a CPAP and they tell me they’ve never even heard of BiPap before. So now you know.

Can’t Sleep

I have to take Ambien to help me sleep because I have ADHD really bad.  If I don’t take a sleeping pill I’m up all night.  I’m a real bad insomniac.  I would love to be able to just lay down and bam I’m asleep but I can only do that when I’m so exhausted from lack of sleep lol.

I also have Sleep Apnea which means I gotta wear a mask on my face which forces air into my lungs through my nose and that’s also why I need ambien.  Believe me, if you were me you would not say jack shit about drug abuse by taking ambien because wearing that mask and having the air forced into your lungs doesn’t make falling asleep easy.  I’ve had it for a few years too and I still can’t sleep without a sleeping pill.

My problem though is that I think I’m becoming immune to the effects of the ambien which is why I lay in bed for 2 hours with my eyes closed but brain still open for business.

Well, my first ambien I took was only half a pill (for this very reason) so I’ve already taken the other half and now I’m ready to get back in bed.

Until tomorrow…

Little Known Fact About Sleep Apnea

There is a little known fact about sleep apnea that most people don’t realize.  I’ve been using a Bi-Pap machine (in case someone is unaware, it’s a machine that has a mask that I put over my nose, the hose goes to the machine and the machine pushes air into my lungs so I can sleep at night because my airway closes when I sleep) for a couple of years now and when I wake up every single morning I have a dry mouth (due to some medications, so say the people at the C-Pap Company) and also my nose is dry.

My bi-pap machine has a little tank filled with water which is on a heater also known as an evaporator.  The heat heats the water and then the air pushes the evaporated water into my nose and lungs so I don’t wake up with a dry nose, throat, lungs and mouth.  Well, it doesn’t work that great.  As I said it’s due to my medication but I don’t know.  I mean, my nose is always so dry that it starts hurting.  I’m always sniffling because of the dryness and I am also doing this half twitch, you know like Samantha in Bewitched, I don’t do the full twitch, just half to try to I don’t know actually why I do it but I’m always doing it lol.

So tonight I was flossing and I went to look for toothpaste and came across this tube that looked like toothpaste but it was Vaseline so I squirted some on a Q-Tip and put it inside my nostrils around inside there to cover up all the dry areas.  It’s only been a few minutes and it is already starting to help.  I never thought about that before and I’m glad I saw it.

I don’t normally use Vaseline because it’s a female product in my opinion.  I remember watching my mom after she got out of the shower and had her nightgown on and she just started smearing that stuff all over her legs and arms.  She had psoriasis so I don’t know if that’s why, because her legs and arms were dry from that.  But she also would put it on her face full of make-up and she would use a wash rag to wipe it all off and all the make-up was gone.  So because I’ve never really had a need for it so I don’t buy it.  But it is a good product I guess.

If this works with my nose then perhaps I might think about buying some more if I run out of what I have.  I’m really sick of all this dryness in my nose.