Hi! I’m not new to CPAP use. I had been using a Fischer-Pykel Icon Plus CPAP machine, which I loved, for 6 years before it quit working. I just finished a new set of sleep studies to qualify for a new machine & my sleep doctor prescribed a Resmed AirSense 10 For Her CPAP machine, which I also like because of the information on the screen of the machine that also gives me a summary of how I slept in the myAir app. What I don’t like compared to the F-P Icon is the water reservoir, which was far easier to fill up & place into the machine. The Resmed AirSense 10 For Her’s water reservoir is easier to clean, though, I must say.
I have always used, until recently, the Swift FX For Her headgear (which really is the exact same headgear as the regular Swift FX headgear with blue strap & grey pads (I put one on top of the other & they’re exactly the same size; it just has pink head strap & pads instead of blue & grey, so don’t be fooled) with size XS nasal pillows, which have been still too big all along, but I continued with them because I felt a face mask would make me feel claustrophobic & my sleep doctor & the DME I order supplies from never have mentioned any other option until now. The XS nasal pillows caused nasal ulcers that were very painful & gave me nose bleeds. I experienced permanent irritation & redness completely around the lower area & sides of my nose due to silicone sensitivity, which has continued & I have to use Lidocaine Gel 2% & Mupirocin Ointment inside my nose & around the outside of it before I put on my mask at bedtime & 2 other times throughout the day (these are prescribed by my ENT, who has also performed a turboplasty & straightened out my deviated septum. He has also prescribed Pantoprazole for Silent GERD, which is common in sleep apnea & overweight patients, but I’m losing weight & have dropped 50+ lbs in the last year & the ENT says the GERD has improved markedly). The nasal pillows also stretched out my rather fine, thin nostrils & half my nose, & I now have what looks to me to be a wide piggy-nose, which made me feel self conscious when added to the permanent skin redness & irritation around my nose (family, the only people who can be totally honest & don’t seem to care about rudeness have asked me what’s going on with my nose as it’s changed shape over the past 6 years since my son’s wedding in 2011 & with the redness & frequent nose bleeds). I also woke up with strap marks across my face that would take hours to disappear & found others to seem somewhat distracted by them. (I’m not unattractive by far, but these problems, coupled with previous weight gain, have really caused a blow to my self-esteem.)
When I got the new CPAP machine, I continued to use the Swift FX For Her headgear & Swift FX XS nasal pillows up until a week ago when I mentioned these ongoing problems to my sleep doctor at my latest “face-to-face” appointment, which qualified me for a new CPAP machine. My sleep doctor really is an excellent doctor & would have intervened way before now had I mentioned it, but I didn’t because I thought the only remedy would be a full face mask & I didn’t want to go there. He’s also a pulmonologist & he treats me for asthma & chronic bronchitis, too. I also see an immunologist/allergist & get 2 shots (1 in each arm) monthly for molds & pollens. My allergies are pretty severe & have made my asthma hard to manage, which only worsen the sleep apnea, too. I seem to get a pretty bad case of bronchial pneumonia every year since 2010, which has caused lung scarring. Some winters, including this past winter, I had 2 separate bouts of it & the 2nd bout this winter was so bad I really thought I might die. I only see him once a year & am so glad that newer, smaller nasal masks have finally come on the market.
So, he suggested I give the Resmed Airfit N20 Nasal Mask a try & I was fitted with the mask by his mask specialist, who also adjusted the straps to fit properly & made sure I wouldn’t experience mask leaks whichever way I laid my head. I’m still having ongoing problems with silicone sensitivity around my nose, but since switching to this mask the ulcers inside my nose & the nose bleeds are getting better. I just discovered mask pads this weekend & ordered several reusable sets from PadACheek. I’m very much looking forward to trying these out & hope they will really help with the silicone sensitivity, irritation & redness.
I’m now having a dilemma with this new mask in that when I put it on at bedtime, the CPAP machine registers a “Good Fit” & I can feel that the mask is secure & not leaking or making any noises, but when I wake up, the machine registers an unhappy face, telling me to adjust the mask & the myAir app has been giving me very low scores for mask seal & thus overall scores in the 60s. The AHI has remained consistently low with this mask, which is why I’m confused about what’s going on with this mask. I tried tightening the mask straps to see if that help, only to wake up with deep red dents on the upper sides of my nose where the upper part of the mask touches my cheeks & the silicone sensitivity has now developed in that new place. Even with doing that, I was still getting contradictory messages on the machine & app & because it was uncomfortable & leaving the deep marks around my nose, I loosened the straps back to where they had been before & the messages haven’t gotten better or worse whether they’re tighter or where the mask specialist adjusted them to. I tried using a chin strap to see if the leaks might be an indication of mouth breathing, but still got the same results. I just don’t understand what’s going on here!
I’m still waking up feeling unrefreshed even with CPAP all these years, but I blame that on having fibromyalgia & arthritis pain, chronic fatigue syndrome & now the addition of Ambien (1/2 of a 12.5 mg tab) to my bedtime regime. It was prescribed to treat chronic insomnia & circadian rhythm disorder. I have tried sticking to a sleep routine over the years, which is difficult to do with CI & CRD, & have tried every other sleep medication on the market over the years, including tricyclic antidepressants & the new medications for people with CRD caused by blindness, still without success (these 2 types of meds specifically necessitated having to take Nuvigil to wake up & get going, & to lessen the effects of what my neurologist now thinks is narcolepsy. (Great! All I needed was another sleep-related disorder!!!) I’ve asked her whether or not it could just be a culmination of all the other sleep disorders combined or if it’s another component sleep disorder contributing to my crazy sleep problems. She’s not 100% certain which it is, even though I’ve been through scores of tests (neurological & further sleep studies) over the years. Since starting on Ambien though, these conditions haven’t gotten any better or worse than they were before. I’m no longer taking Nuvigil in the morning because, truthfully, it wasn’t working all that well & seemed to make the CI & CRD worsen, stretching the amounts of time spent awake & asleep to even longer than they had been before. While on Ambien my sleep seems deeper & I definitely fall asleep faster & stay asleep, & after waking up to go to the bathroom or to take medication on schedule, I’m able to fall right back to sleep. It seems to be the only medication that has really worked for me in those regards & I haven’t developed a tolerance for it that requires upping the dose like so many other people have reported. I’m still waking up unrefreshed after sleeping long hours (sometimes up to 18 hours straight). And I feel pretty hungover sometimes & have had to cancel plans because I wouldn’t dare drive in this state. (In fact, I don’t drive at all anymore. I certainly don’t need to get a DUI & I wouldn’t think to endanger other people on the road.) I don’t want to try lower dose because it’s working so well at this dose for the most part; I still have problems falling asleep sometimes even while on it. I still have an erratic sleep schedule & nothing (sleep schedules or medications) seems to really help me with that. I don’t know what the answer is for my CI & CRD/narcolepsy problems, but living in the Southwest Medical Center has afforded me some of the best doctors to work on solving them.
I would like to pose several questions to this forum:
- Have any of your experienced contradictory messages between the CPAP machine & the myAir app in that the CPAP machine reports a “Good” seal, but the app says you have a major mask leak & need to adjust the mask? &
- Does it ever seems that the time slept is being reported erroneously on the machine & thus the app? There have been times I’ve slept way, way longer than the few hours the app has reported. Once I woke up & the machine said 11+ hours & in a flash of the eye the machine registered 0.02 hours, which is what was reported in the app. I went on Resmed’s myAir.com to see how exactly how it records the time slept, meaning does it record from 12AM-11:59PM, or record the hours on the day I fell asleep, or on the day I wake up? This information is nowhere to be found on their site. I had to email them twice to find out (they didn’t really answer my question the first time). What I finally found out is that the app reports from 12PM-11:59AM, but that information hasn’t changed the fact that I sometimes get erroneous recordings on the machine & app. Maybe I need to keep a separate journal to record my time.
Have any of you experienced either of these problems & what did you have to do about them? Is my new machine possibly a lemon & needs to be replaced? I’ve had it since the end of November 2017; is it too late to get it replaced?
I really look forward to y’all’s help. Thank you.