I have sleep apnea. I wear a CPAP to bed every night. I look like I am a monster from the Blue Lagoon. Not so sexy. But doctors say it can save my life.
When I was first diagnosed several years ago, I got a CPAP with a full-face mask. It was big bulky and UGLY. When I put the mask on my face, and turned the machine on, my husband laughed, my dog got scared and ran out of the room. As for me, I felt like I was suffocating. I ripped it off my face. Never touched that damn thing again. My dog jumped on my bed to comfort me. All was well with the world.
Fat forward to 2021. I met a friend who is in the medical field for lunch. I shared how tired I always am, how I gained a significant amount of weight in the last couple of years, and told him the story about my terrifying experience with a CPAP machine.
He revealed that he had sleep apnea, and he was wearing a CPAP for years. He explained to me the dangers of sleep apnea, if left untreated. First, some the symptoms: Loud snoring – check. Awakening with a dry mouth – check. Sleepy all day – check. Some of the dangers: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, liver problems. I’m lucky that I don’t have any of these symptoms – yet.
The low moment for me was when I was driving on the freeway in the middle of the day, I could hardly stay awake. There were small moments when I DID fall asleep. In one of those moments, I found myself drifting into the next lane of traffic when I woke up. I scared the shit out of myself!
I promptly ordered a CPAP with a just nasal pillow, and no full mask. I still had the gigantic air tube coming out of my head, but I got used to the nose pillow, and was able to sleep very well with it on. I am not so tired anymore, and have not fallen asleep behind the wheel.
My dog is not scared of this one, and I now live alone, so no one can laugh at me. I no longer snore, and I am no longer sleepy during the day. I am also getting the best sleep I have had in a long time. CPAPs ARE sexy; they keep you alive and well.