In 2017 after a few years of shift work and poor sleep routine, I realised that it was simply not normal for me to be sleeping 12+ hours a day between shifts. So I made an appointment with a respiratory specialist on a referral from a GP.
I only met him a couple of times and his treatment of me wasn’t prolonged after my initial diagnosis.
For those who don’t know, a respiratory specialist deals with conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with an AHI of 3.5 .
I went along and had my sleep study. They hook you up to electrodes that make extra it hard to get comfortable in an already altar like hospital bed. The electrodes are all over your face, head and collarbones. You have a nasal breathing tube and a tiny thermometer of some kind that sits under your nose. Unless you are into some hardcore medical fetish, this kind of look is incredibly uncomfortable
The results come back some time after the procedure, presented in a report measuring a bunch of stuff.
The results of the 2017 study according to Doctor showed that I had sleep apnea.
Wow! An answer for my tiredness! “Okay Doc,” I asked, “How do I fix this?”
“CPAP machine”, he said, “one night and you’ll feel like a new woman.”
I did not feel like a new woman.
I tried using the CPAP for three months, the fancy version with heated tubes and a humidifier – my ramp was set at 4 (the lowest it could go) to start and I felt like I was suffocating. We tried to adjust it higher as a trial once at 6, and another at 10 and it made it 10x worse. I hated everything about it, I couldn’t justify using it any longer because I felt no relief but was giving it my best effort to stick it out and keep trying and being positive about it.
My doctor was incredibly helpful until the day I went in to request alternative treatment. I have never seen a grown professional throw such a tantrum about a simple request. He insisted that I take the CPAP home with me and keep trying although this was my third appointment back after all the adjustments pleading for relief. He told me to grab my CPAP to take it home and see the nurse at the counter to pay for my visit and schedule yet another follow up in a month. I told the nurse I really could not justify spending the money on the machine that was not helping and walked over, asked me if I was serious and told her to figure it out because he didn’t want to go to the computer to write me a discontinuation paper. Threw a small perscription pad at her and left. I was beyond mortified, already a mess from the whole CPAP ordeal.
Long story short, I never ever went back there and sought out relief on my own. I found a local-ish Doctor that offered the exercises and appliances for sleep apnea and went for a consultation. I was extremely hesitant at first after my first ordeal and it took a very long time to get my actual appointment because come to find out – the pulmonary office wouldn’t release my sleep study to them for my treatment. The assistants at the dental office pulled me aside just to inform me how horrible it was to deal with the other office and that they had never had that happen before. Lucky me.
Fast forwarding a little bit, yesterday I picked up my mouth guard with surprising oral exercises (I will give you this exercise and mouth guard for free just wait for the next email ) and I couldn’t be more pleased with the office and the appliance. The assistants were cheering and clapping when I walked in, like ‘today’s the day!! it’s here!” and I was just so excited. The dentist went over everything with me and I go back for weekly exercises and they provide an additional at home sleep study in 6 months that way my progress can be documented as successful or a failure in my medical records.
I slept with it last night and I’m telling you I don’t think I’ve slept this good in years. All these stories on here about people saying it was a night and day difference with their CPAP, that’s how I feel about this mouthguard. I’ve been in such a ‘funk’ for so long it’s like i was under blankets just like so cloudy and it’s hot and you can’t really breathe but it’s fine because it’s a little cave you can die in and you legitimately don’t care about anything ever so it’s whatever. But then this morning I had enough energy and motivation to lift up the covers and breathe in real air and not recycled breath and it feels good man. I got up an hour early this morning and made myself breakfast, did the dishes, ran my dogs and actually did my hair and makeup. I’m just so excited to finally have relief.
So many people have said not to not to do Throat and Jaw Exercise Training and that was why I stuck with the CPAP for so long, I’m absolutely intolerant of the CPAP and I felt so alone and cast aside with everyone praising it so highly. It might be incredibly great for some people and that’s wonderful! But if you’re like me and you absolutely cannot stand it, don’t be scared of the rumors about the Throat and Jaw Exercise – do yourself a favor and at least have a consulation with someone who specializes in that area for a second opinion.
I’m beyond words how much relief I feel from finally having this all sorted out, of course this was only day one but I woke up a lot last night just adjusting to the new guard and I still feel this great? I’m looking forward tremendously to the future and hope it continutes to get better.
TL:DR Don’t be afraid to ask for alternatives for CPAP if you believe you’re intolerant of it, there are other options out there if you don’t have such a severe case.
QUICK TIP: If you are short for time you can watch this 5-minute video here
Thanks for stopping by!