Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleep Apnoea--- do something about it!

Sleep Apnoea.
I have blogged many other topics so I thought I would have a go at this one. I was talking to a friend this morning and the subject came up. How better than me---- after all--- I suffer from it.
What was it like before treatment? I remember driving and nearly falling asleep, even on the relatively short journey home from work (and I hate to say it--- to work, some mornings!). I recall having trouble with what I assumed to be ulcers in my mouth and sometimes waking up with a very sore tongue, sometimes with blood on the pillow.
I remember---well not remembering things. I was forgetful, lacking energy, often grumpy (no, it doesn’t have to go with aging) and just wondering what the hell was wrong. To top it off, I would often wake in the night, struggling for breath.
On a visit to my doctor, I just spat it out----‘Doc---- I think I have sleep Apnoea--- I saw something about it on TV.’
He acted quickly and sent me to a private clinic. That occurred, a few days later. After seeing a doctor there and answering a few questions and a survey, they sent me home with little kit that attached to one of my fingers. I had to fill in a sheet or tick box, every time I got up; or woke. The next day I took the machine. It’s quite small and it isn’t invasive or uncomfortable and given that my sleep was crap anyway--- well, what the hell?
The verdict---? I had pretty bad sleep apnoea. That meant I stopped breathing over 400 times a night. The body does its best to ‘right this’ by sending a message to the brain to start breathing, hence all of the thrashing around and struggling. The alternative is not to wake up and die.  Not good eh? To make matters worse, my oxygen levels were pitiful. Now, I’m not a doctor, even I know that these levels should be up in the high 90% range, not the high 50% levels I was exhibiting.
I was given (paid for actually--- about $2000 all up with the testing etc.) a new CPAC machine to take home and after a bit of coaching in its use, away we went, ready to face a new future.  I call it my Crap machine, in honour of my crappy sleeping habits until then. I expected to take a few weeks to get used to the machine--- It was love at first sight on the first night.
I pretended I was under water diving and just relaxed into the cycles. For the first time in years I didn’t get up (to go to the toilet) more than a few times--- better than the previous up to eight times a night.
Things changed. I was more energetic, I didn’t forget as many things and I even started writing. Yes--- you can blame my CPAC machine. If I was a noisy talkative bugger before, then now I just don’t shut up. I have to do this or the whole world suffers. It’s much easier to get off my blog site than it is to shut me up in person.
Nearly three books later and well over a 100 blogs and 3000 hits--- I just keep on going.

There is a postscript here too. I was paying through the nose for my medical intervention and the back-up for me was in Christchurch. I mentioned to my doctor one day that I was getting a bit sick of paying out for all of this and that with retirement approaching, was there a way of getting into the system that I had been paying taxes for many years. There was and a month or so later, I walked out of the ‘State funded clinic’ in Greenlane with a brand new machine. Naturally I gave them the 18 month old one. Hey I don’t double dip.
 Now I take every opportunity to sing the praises of our New Zealand designed and made Fisher and Paykel CPAC machine. I am a new man and with the addition of a Jack Russell into my life--- well the picture is indeed a rosy one.

PS (2) I was told that I may be able to lose weight more with the CPAC machine and my increased energy levels. Please Mr Fischer and Paykel research people--- Can you make a suction option on the machine so that I can have immediate lipo-suction? That's not unreasonable eh?

HEY--- IF ANYONE WANTS TO ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT THE CPAC MACHINE--- THATS FINE--- REMEMBER ITS A FISHER AND PAYKEL ONE--I'M SURE HEY ARE AVAILABLE IN BRITAIN FOR THOSE BRITISH SNORERS!   Shush--- I'm sleeping--- not snoring and I'm writing books with all of my new energy and over 117 blogs!