October 1, 2008

Sleeping With An Alien

Neal snores... pretty bad at times. So, after years of getting jabbed in the ribs and bopped on the head, he went to an ENT doctor and was sent for two sleep studies. It was determined that he has obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that is caused by a temporary, partial or complete blockage of the airway. The results can be loud snoring and pauses in breathing. Neal was given the option to try a CPAP machine which works by applying a constant airflow, causing the airway to stay open so that uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. He had to wait a few weeks for the proper sized mask to be ordered. When it arrived, he went to pick it up and get an orientation of how the CPAP works and how to care for it.

When Neal first unpacked the CPAP and put it on, I thought it resembled snorkeling gear. But when he turned on the machine and starting playing with the various air pressure settings, I decided it resembled Darth Vader. If only the mask had been black and covered more of his face, he would have been a dead ringer for the Star Wars character.

This is what I slept with that first night:

After trying the Darth Vader mask for about a week, Neal just couldn't get comfortable enough with it to sleep through the night. He went back to the clinic to be fitted for a different contraption, one that was less restrictive and offered various nasal pieces.

Here is what I'm currently sleeping with:

So, now I think this one resembles some sort of an alien creature. No matter what it resembles, it seems to be working...for both of us. I get to sleep through the night without hearing the snoring, and Neal gets to sleep through the night without fear of being assaulted.


Suzan said...

How kind of Neal to model this for us!

Lilla said...

Yes, he's such a good sport.

Robbyn said...

OK, this is too much of a coincidence, but both myself and my husband have the CPAPs and sleep apnea. Jack had the surgery, too, but I didn't need it. He uses the type like the first one your husband tried, but I found it really uncomfortable and totally went to the second sort..I call his The Flight Mask, and mine The Nose Plug, ha! Even though it took some getting used to, it made a huge difference in our health...better sleep, fewer respiratory problems, clearer head. I finally found out what it was like to get a good night's sleep! So glad your hubby found out about the apnea...the cpap makes a huge difference! :)

Lilla said...

Unfortunately, hubby has decided he cannot tolerate the CPAP, even after trying two different masks. So, back to sleeping with the snoring until something better comes along or until I move to the guest bedroom!