Everything for Your Home's
Beauty, Comfort & Convenience 384-2123
704 Jamestown St, Columbia
Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Click here for information
Real Estate & Auction Co.
Duo County Telecom
Now Available Through
Your Cable Service!
GUN & PAWN
What's Going On
Info about the
Janice Holt Giles
and Henry Giles Society
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...
David M. Raddock: CPAP Misery - Come hell or High Water
The apparatus was supposed to help with Sleep Apnea. That's what the experts at the clinic told him. And he was willing to try it. After all, sleep disorders can cause heart problems or brain dysfunctions. Using the CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - device turned out not to be so easy, even conjuring up images of a recent visit to Auschwitz. He endured that, but it was a different matter when the CPAP started peeing on him
By David M. Raddock
I don't know about you, but I spent a good part of my life kicking back after a long day's work and dinner. Clutching a pillow, I'd let the day's anxieties drain from me by watching some television, pulling the covers up to me, and drifting off to sleep. Now, the ease of all that seems to be in the process of change. Months ago, I was diagnosed with a condition that I actually had to "Google" to find out about," sleep apnea (that's pronounced sleep-pap-neeah), a disorder of sleep caused by convoluted and obstructed breathing. Symptoms range from snoring to gasping and wheezing and obesity (with or without dreams of food).
One's mood can sink into staying in bed all day. Sleepanics can be doomed to forfeit almost everything that might require get-up-and-go, and yet, at the end of the day, feel they have taken amphetamines in their coffee. Finally, the incorrect sleeper might develop heart problems or brain dysfunction.
The physician determines the underlying cause of nighttime restlessness and snorting by empirical observation--an all-night sleep test in a "pretend bedroom" prepared at a hospital or sometimes in a motel that is accustomed to handling one-nighters.
It took me nearly a year to accept my internist's words that I might be a victim of this nighttime oxygen deficit. I had to resign myself to the fact that sleep might be the focus of my remaining life. I had been taught all my adult life that a surfeit of sleep could never kill you. Now, I had to accept the fact that dozing could do me in.
The downturn in my sleep and my treating it as a simple rest came with retirement. (That's when you truly become anxious about things. You fret about the moments being consumed if an operator or secretary puts you "on hold" or if an 'outsourced' answering service confuses Urdu with English. You find yourself counting the minutes as if the bell were about to toll for you.
My insurance was to cover the expenses of the sleep study, but only if it could be demonstrated by a tangle of wires, recording devices and video camera that I was taking in oxygen in the wrong way. Oddly, it was suggested that I take a couple sleeping pills before I began. If all my contorted movements indicated conclusively that I had sleep apnea, Medicare would pay. If I proved to be non-sleepapnic, I would be fully billed. This was the Catch-22 of the sleep study and one other reason why I demurred for so long.
Eventually, I relented and undertook the study. It was two or more weeks later that I received a facial mask, supposedly tailor-fitted for the distorted internal features that had obstructed my breathing. One component of the apparatus resembled an ipod stand or refurbished stereo tuner. Strapped to my head and face was the magic mask, one that seemed more modeled after Washington's face at Mount Rushmore than my own. The mask in fact was like a small container made of flimsy plastic that is used to carry out a pre-made salad at an airport. Fastening belts and snaps and gasping for breath, I was so nervous and overwrought that this contraption would have had to do some job on me to get me to sleep.
I had so much difficulty putting it on. (Of course, I occasionally have trouble buttoning my shirts so that the sides are even.) In this case, could I be unconsciously trying to resist wearing something that made me feel like Hannibal Lechter the rest of my somnolent life? The last time that I tried to don the mask and hook up to the machine, I nearly suffocated waiting for the air to flow. I wiped my forehead from sweat. I experienced a rhythmic, hammering sound, making me wonder if it was the "pap" in CPAP or two sea urchins going at 'it' in my tubing. I was told later that the whapping sound was the mask's response to my feeling anxious and uncomfortable.
As a last resort, trying my best, I threw my head back and took a deep breath of the pressured, inflow (actually gush) of air, shut my eyes and just hoped to "go under."
Hours passed. Suddenly I felt a draft in one ear. Flailing my arms in an aimless way, I tried to brush the tickling sensation off like a mosquito. The intensity increased. Now, I summoned the energy to remove the mask, but I forgot to shut the power on the machine. I groped around for the on-off button on top of the machine on the floor. By now, one side of the mask was off, leaving an indentation in the bridge of my nose (my god, did I really need another scar there?). The other half of the mask, still attached, was hanging over my ear. Eyes opening, I moved to set things right. My finger was just about to press the button when my face was sprayed with water. Taking a shower from water piped up from a humidifier on the floor was the last straw. The water had spurted forcefully inside the mask, bringing me to full consciousness, but I woke with an image of my trip to Auschwitz last spring-- the shower before gas!
Next, "water torture" came to mind. I was being overly dramatic. It wasn't "water torture." It was the machine peeing on me.
I made up my mind to take the CPAP back to the rental agency in the hospital. "Just bring the machine-part," the receptionist said. "You can keep the mask." I tossed it.
The author, a writer on international politics, most recently published "Finding My Way: An American Maverick in China."
This story was posted on 2013-03-31 09:48:31
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.
More articles from topic News:
AC Garden Club welcomes members: Even if they live in Atlanta
Solar/Link: Sun power driving down energy costs in Germany
Jennifer Cook graduates from ITT, Lexington, KY
(Ad) Charm Bracelet found at Columbia TSC
(Ad) Large blood hound looking dog found near Gradyville, KY
Injury collision occurs six miles east of Columbia on KY 80
The best kids -Knifley Little League 3rd/4th Grade Orange Team
A few more seeds sown, and suddenly: Vegetables to sell
Return of items stolen from Gradyville residence requested
Bro. Vernon Luttrell at Gradyville Baptist, Sun. March 31, 2013
View even more articles in topic News
Click for Info
Bank of Columbia
If You're Thinking of Selling,
Let Us Do the Yelling
Principal Broker & Auctioneer
Burton Real Estate
& Auction Service
Call Us For Appraisals
Click for Listings
On This Site
or Click Here
The Best of
Local Stories of
The Greatest Generation
Order Book or e-Book
See who's celebrating
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Special Events List
ColumbiaMagazine.com content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.