My APNEA was first diagnosed in 1999 and after 6 months with an ill-fitting mask, I stopped used the CPAP. I was re-diagnosed in 2000 with a new insurance carrier, and experienced much of the same problem, and quite using the machine again. Then in 2010, after years of saying I did not sleep…, another sleep study was done and the technician (not the doctor) said my “number” was 5… long story short, with that doctor I was first given a CPAP, then an APAP and finally a VPAP (term which I never hear today, it was described as a ventilator). The MASK was still always the problem. and after six months on that last machine, I gave up again. In December 2014 / January 2015, with new insurance (Kaiser, this time), at the urging of an admin named Linda at apneasupport.org (which I believe to be the previous site of this organization) I had yet another “sleep study”. Kaiser said that in order to qualify for a CPAP that my AHI had to be “5 or above”, and that I would hear from them if it was… and I didn’t hear, one month, two months, three months… and I finally got off my tail and followed through, asking various people at Kaiser what had happened, what were the results, was my number over 5? By April they announced the numbers in the title of this topic. 72.4 on my back, 63.6 on my side. They finally hooked me up, and after trying five or six masks, they finally found one that worked. Now, it’s six or seven months later and my AHI is way down. The last office visit with Kaiser’s nurse practitioner the number was 6.9 for 30 days. The number in my machine now reports 5.9 for the last 30 days, and I am due for an office visit next week. I believe there is more to it than just this number which is why I place more weight on the office visit numbers, than my reading the number myself on the machine. I think they take more into account and use other information to adjust the pressure… which is currently at 10. There have been several other problems along the way… for instance, before the 2010 experience, I had hair on my head; but, the straps wore such an obvious set of marks on my head, in my hair, that I finally just shaved it all off. You might think that no hair would be easier to deal with; but, its not necessarily. For the last several months I’ve been experiencing a rash around the outside of where the mask fits over my nose… and been seeing the dermatologist for that… It comes and goes, was at first attributed to the soap I was washing the mask and straps with… so now, they are washed with only hot water, dried and put away.
I truly can not comprehend what these numbers mean… supposedly, each unit (unit=1) is an occurrence of stopping breathing for 9 to 14 seconds… when this number gets above 60, that’s more than once per minutes. Perhaps I am truly lucky to be alive.
Here’s the thing though… all those years when I claimed I did not sleep, I also believe that I did not dream. That’s not an easy question to Google on the web and get anything but someone’s opinion. There really do not appear to be any facts. I know that for the past two months, give or take a week or two, that I have been dreaming… a lot. It’s so obvious, I mean, I dream, and I know they are dreams, and I remember them, well, when I want to. I can wake myself up and know, I tell myself, it’s a dream… I can sleep and let the dream play on, or I can wake and stop it. I can repeat it, I can stop it. Sometimes at first they were terrifying. a few of them were sexy, which pushing 70 years, is not all that terrible
I always heard for years that dreams happened in REM, and not breathing 60 to 70 times an hour, and waking as frequently, there seems to be no way to get to REM, hence, no dreams. Now, I know, when I Google the question today, people say you dream outside of REM also. But, what do these people who respond know? They’re all opinions, not facts. Are there any facts?
Am I now dreaming for the first time in years? Or am I fooling myself, or just don’t know, or as some might suggest, am I just lying?
I hope that Linda, the admin who wrote me in March of 2014 is still around and gets to read this… she was so thoughtful in her answers back then… I think she’d like to read and perhaps respond again.
Thanks for reading. I tried not to ramble