From Frustration with Sleep Apnea to Hope
by H.P Singh
I'm Harry, aged 66 yrs, though had it not been for my dear wife,I should have wound up a decade ago!
Years back, I was in a high-flying high-pressure job....hectic, but having no time to attend to health problems.
My wife tried several times to tell me that I was snoring erratically & heavily, I dismissed her each time bursquely, with comments like "everybody snores","if you are uncomfortable,sleep in the other room",etc.
What a fool I was.
After 6-8 months of procrastination,I finally consented to her continued pleas,took a day off,and,saw a Chest Specialist in April 2004.
After a Sleep Study,I was put on a CPAP for chronic Sleep Apnea!
I had my own struggles with the equipment, but, persisted, and life moved on. However, silently, the damage had already been done.
In early 2006, on complaints of severe chest-burning sensations, lasting for 30-45 minutes intermittently for 2-3 weeks, an angiography revealed 100% blockages in two of the three main arteries ,and 75% blockage in the third.
The Cardiologist was shocked as to how I had been carrying on, as if normally, all this while.
A complicated triple-vessel CABG was done by one of the finest Cardiac Surgeons in Mumbai. Only later I was to learn that the acute heart condition was caused by my ignoring the typical Sleep Apnea symptoms for so long.
The deprivation of adequate oxygen to the heart-lung at night over the past few years, succeeded in almost choking me to death.
Today, thanks to my ever watchful & concerned wife, I lead a peaceful retired life.
Over the years,I have had to struggle & experiment, for sure, with the CPAP machines, masks, etc. Thats a small price to pay though for a refreshed feeling on awakening in the morning.
Sometimes, I start to snore inspite of the mask, and my wife wakes me, asking me to sleep on the side! Its a loving gesture,and,I'm no longer irritated.
My experience since 2004 has been that nasal-pillows are easier to use, for CPAP pressures lesser than 14-15. I'm still trying to get the AHI down from 16-17 levels.
Maybe it's due to the small leakages in the masks, periodically, in-adequate pressure setting of the CPAP, or the darn 3-4 Kgs weight gain over the last few months.
I'm still to determine why and set it right. But with a loving spouse next to me and a reliable CPAP at night,I know that as long as I wake up each morning relatively refreshed & eager, I'm OK...and thank GOD for it.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide