Island Senior: Sleep and the CPAP machine
Posted January 2, 2023 at 10:33 am by Peggy Sue McRae
As we head into a new year, many of us will take it as an opportunity to commit to health related goals. For me, I am among the many older adults currently suffering from sleep apnea. I suspect that I am not alone in that my basic approach to the available treatment can best be described as kicking and screaming.
The Mayo Clinic describes obstructive sleep apnea as the most common type of sleep-related breathing disorder. “It causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep,” the organization explains. “This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. A noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring.”
Do you snore? Do you feel consistently sleepy during the day? Chances are you have sleep apnea. How do you find out for sure? While I suspected that I might have sleep apnea an overnight stay at Peace Health hospital last year confirmed my suspicion. I was referred to Island Sleep Wellness Center in Anacortes. After an initial appointment I was then able to do my sleep test at home. The home test consisted of sleeping 2 nights with a borrowed machine that assessed my sleep experience. Alternatively, you could stay overnight at the center. The center in Anacortes has since closed. Please see the list at the end of this article for recommended sleep health facilities.
Once diagnosed, and if your treatment involves a CPAP machine, you will need to figure out which place your insurance will cover getting it from. I got mine from Bellevue Healthcare in Burlington. Again, you may have to insist, but they will send it to you if the thought of going to Burlington is burdensome.
I had the CPAP machine for almost a month before I opened the box. It’s not that I don’t want a good night’s sleep, it’s putting all that stuff on my face I don’t like. The set up includes a mask with an air hose that connects to a bedside machine about the size of a clock radio. For me, the most challenging part is all the straps that keep the mask in place over my nose and mouth. I’ve slept two nights with it now and I have had better sleep. Five solid hours before I wake up and rip that thing off my face. It’s a start.
As a friend told me, for herself and her husband sleeping with a CPAP machine is just part of living a healthy life. I believe her. Sleep, blessed sleep, is worth biting the bullet and wearing a mask to bed.
My new year’s resolution is to get some sleep. What’s yours?
Regional sleep health facilities
- Everett Clinic Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine (accepts pediatrics) — 425–339-4204
- NorthStar Sleep Medicine — Bellingham — 360–676-1696
- Peace Health Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic — Bellingham — 360–788-6112
- Providence Sleep Health — Mill Creek — 425–258-7460
- Seattle Children’s Sleep Medicine — Bellevue — 206–987-5072
- Skagit Regional Center for Sleep Disorders — 360–428-2550
- South Sleep Health (telehealth) — 425–636-2400
- WhidbeyHealth Sleep Care (limited capacity) — 360–240-4080
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