Back on the Cpap Again…

John Hurlbut3rd Class Medical, Flying0 Comments

Yesterday I spent the bulk of my morning at the Medical Supply place at St Clare hospital getting my new Cpap machine and getting fitted for a couple of masks.  This was an entirely different experience from my last machine, my Bipap machine.  The last time the medical equipment company basically just gave me the machine, a couple of instructions and sent me on my way.  There wasn’t a ton of time fitting masks or really going over the machine or anything.  It was horrible in comparison to what I did yesterday.

The person took her time to really explain the machine, how it works, how to clean it, how to change settings and more importantly making sure I had a mask that fit well.  I actually paid for a second mask just so I didn’t have to go back if I didn’t like the first mask. She also took the time to explain what my insurance covers and how often it covers it.  Every X number of days I can get new masks, tubing, reservoirs, etc.  It was a great experience!!

When I was getting ready to go to bed last night, I got the machine all set up and the mask connected.  I filled the reservoir with distilled water and laid down and turned it on.  It took some getting used to and I didn’t fall asleep very quickly at all.  It’s going to take me a few weeks to get used to the machine I’m sure, but I’ve got to wear it every night so I have the data to send to the FAA at the end of the month.  And by then it’ll just be second nature and I’m sure I won’t be able to sleep without it!  But there’ll be a learning curve in the meantime.

About 3AM I couldn’t take the constant pressure any longer and shut down the machine.  But I got 5.4 hours on it my first night, which I think is pretty darn good.  I’m aiming for over 6 hours per night on it.

I looked at the machine when I got up and looked at my stats for the night.  The display just gives some basic information, how many hours was it used, what is your AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) and how well did the mask fit.  Hours as I mentioned was 5.4, AHI was 0.0 and Mask fit was good as indicated by a smiley face.

CPAP Stats pulled using Sleepyhead software

CPAP Stats pulled using Sleepyhead software

The AHI is the key indicator, that tells you how well your sleep apnea is being controlled.  It’s basically the average number of Apneas and Hypopneas you have per hour.  As a comparison, on my sleep study it was 46.  Meaning on average I would have an event 46 times per hour during my sleep study.  I’ve been told that an AHI under 5.0 is good.  0.0 is perfect.  According to my machine, I didn’t have one event all night, or at least during the time I was using the machine.  I did wake up with a bit of a dry throat this morning, which means I probably need to tweak my humidifier settings a bit.  You can look at the stats in the picture here, I’m not sure how my machine recorded use on the 1st when it was in a box, but maybe that’s when she was programming it?  I dunno.  But I’ll keep monitoring it and will be hopeful my AHI stays at or near 0.0 and my usage increases to over an average of 6 hours per night.  That SHOULD satisfy the FAA that my sleep apnea is under control.

I will say that today I HAVE felt a little more refreshed than normal.  So maybe I did get some pretty good sleep last night.  My hope is that continues to improve as I get used to the machine and get more and more used to it.

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