My battle with Sleep Apnea & Compliance with CPAP – USA Medical Supply
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My battle with Sleep Apnea & Compliance with CPAP

Posted by Richard Spafford on

Since 2010, I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. I remember how awful my night was getting a sleep study. I had wires all over me, a chest belt, prongs in my nose, and wires from my legs to my chest. After all, who can sleep like that? I think I may have fallen asleep for an hour or two at the most but it was enough to diagnose me.  At the time, I was in the best shape of my life. I was running three miles a day, working out, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight. I thought to myself, how could I possibly have sleep apnea? I did and it hit me. I went in for a second night but this was for a titration study. Thy put different masks on me blowing different pressures and I remember I couldn't sleep at all with that pressure of 10cm/H2O coming right at me. I was frustrated and I thought to myself how will I ever get use to this. I reflected on my health and the health of my family. My family has a long history of heart disease and stroke and I don't want to fall victim to that if at all possible. In being a Respiratory Therapist, I educated my patients to the health consequences of not treating their Sleep Apnea. Those consequences can lead to heart disease, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer's, anxiety, depression, Type II diabetes, etc. I knew it was important to give nothing less than 100% effort in making this work. My first few nights wearing CPAP, I don't think I lasted more than one to two hours and I didn't sleep well at all. I kept going every night and building on my time. If I did two hours the night before, I would try and do three the next and so on. After about three weeks, I was able to sleep seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. People ask me, did you feel much better, etc.. The truth is my blood pressure went down, I didn't wake up with headaches anymore, and I didn't wake up in the middle of the night anymore to use the bathroom. The only way I know how good I feel is if I miss a night with CPAP and when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I didn't sleep at all. It's different for everyone but the most important thing is that your taking care of your health. I tell people that Sleep Apnea may not do anything to you now or ten years from now but sooner or later it will catch you and the health consequences it brings.  Back in 2014, when I was sick with a bad cold, I stopped using my CPAP and what should of been a few days lasted a year. At that time, Footit Medical just started getting into the CPAP Business. Here I am, educating patients, setting them on CPAP machines, and getting on them if they aren't using their equipment yet I'm not doing it myself. I was a hypocrite for doing so. I finally decided I had to go back on CPAP. I had the same problems as Day one trying to get back on it. I had to get use to the machine again, I was only able to do one or two hours a night and build it up over a few weeks until I was able to use to it again. I was more excited this time about it because I could use different machines, different masks, different settings such as auto-set, and follow my data through our programs that I didn't have the first time. When we created the Footit CPAP Division, it was created based on my own experiences that I didn't want patients to go through. I had to wait two months to get an appointment with an area provider. I had to sit at a table with ten other people as a Respiratory Therapist demonstrated to all of us how the machine works. I don't know about you but I don't want to share personal things about my sleep, etc.. in front of ten strangers!  I wasn't able to ask the questions I wanted to ask the Respiratory Therapist at the time because of that. We always do one on one with our patients and they don't need to make appointments to come in. It's a simple recipe but very effective. I still miss a night here and there and it's because of laziness (I didn't want to bring my equipment to the hotel) but I'm still at it six years later and I will be using it for the rest of my life. My best advice for you is to never give up and to give it 100% effort everyday. I tell patients all the time, "Sometimes it will get worse before it get's better, but don't give up! It may take a few weeks to get acclimated".  If your husband, wife, parent, or child is on CPAP/BIPAP, etc. they need your support! The national average for compliance is only 50%, let's get those numbers up!

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