Part 1 – What is sleep apnea? I have it, and that means I stop breathing at night, a lot, enough that back when I was teaching I was always tired. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning, and the car put me to sleep, even when I was driving. Sometimes if you have sleep apnea, you snore. I do – LOUD! I knew there was something wrong so I finally went in in 2014 and did a sleep study.
The results put me in a c-pap machine. A year later I went in with my results. My machine records things like how much sleep I get or how many times I wake up in an hour. My doctor didn’t like my data so he had me do another study. It put me on a bi-pap machine.
The 2 machines look exactly alike, so what’s the difference? They both have pressurized air going in my nose, but c-pap is a continuous stream that never changes pressure, ever.
A bi-pap has two streams of air. When I breathe in, the air is set to a high pressure. When I breathe out, the air is set to a lower pressure. My bi-pap machine controls both levels.
Look at the mask to the left. It’s the one I use with my machine. The biggest difference – my mask doesn’t cover my mouth, but I don’t breathe in and out with it. If I open my mouth with either machine, the air going in feels funny, in a yucky way. When I have on my mask, I don’t mouth-breathe. My machine keeps me on the staight and nasal.
Photo source sleep machine:
By PruebasBMA - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
C-pap & Bi-pap Source:
Part 2 – Test #1 - I checked in with my doctor. Most of the summer I couldn’t seem to get enough sleep, 9 hours wasn’t enough. I needed 10 or 11. If I didn’t get it, I felt tired, and I found myself taking naps.
The doctor looked at my SD card to get my sleep numbers. She decided it was time for another study. They started me back with the basic beginning one.
I had a sleep-over August 11th at Lima Memorial’s Sleep Center. With covid they checked my temperature and asked those key questions before they admitted me. They showed me to my bedroom, and this was the equipment waiting for me – a lot of wires! I went in at 8, and it took almost an hour to connect them all.
The wires had to be loose/long enough that I wouldn’t kick them off in my sleep. If that happened, my buddies would have come in and fixed them. Thank goodness, nothing came loose.
FYI – that paste is petroleum-based. Shampoo won’t wash it away. Dawn dish soap will, just like it does for birds caught in oil slicks.
It looks like there are 5 more coming off the front of my face. If you’ve been keeping track – 4 from the legs, 10 from my back, and 5 from the front, that’s 19 wires. I think there are still enough holes!
This is what I looked like from the front. There may be another wire or two, but I don’t see it. I also had a gizmo attached to my left hand, middle finger. It wasn’t to take temperatures, but I’m not sure what it tracked.
Do you see the two black belts on the bed? I didn’t get them for judo. I wore one under my arms, and another at my waist. Sorry, I didn’t ask why.
Do you see the blue box under my left arm in that first picture? That’s the bread box again. When the technician held it out, I was wearing so many wires it looked like the strings on a harp.
Here’s a close-up of my face. I’ve never looked lovelier! Ha! Do you see the tube under my nose? It took the place of my mask. I had one tube in each nostril. They used it to keep track of when I took a breath, and when I didn’t.
I slept with my wires and the machine. I was allowed to keep the TV on. I laid down at 10 PM, and my technician woke me up at 6 AM. My sleep buddies tracked me for 8 hours’ worth of data. They said they’d gotten the information they needed.
After I woke up, my sleep technician came in, pulled off the wires, and sent me home. It took 2 weeks to get the results. I hoped they would change the settings on my bi-pap machine, and I’d be back to sleeping 9 hours again. No such luck!
Instead I waited a week for my next sleep-over, then another 2 weeks for the results.
Part 3 – Test # 2 – Here’s what I found waiting for my second sleepover on September 2nd, but in a different room. It’s pretty much the same supplies. The tray is new, but the things on it aren’t.
Here’s me again, in all my glory. I’m all wired up, taped up, and plugged in, ready to go. With this setup I could move around the room before bedtime, 10 PM once again.
No TV this time. They needed to be able to hear clearly for this study. No extra noise allowed.
When I got into bed, my sleep technician took off the wrap, below the bread board. It sat on the nightstand, just like last time, with the wires connecting me to the machines and the people monitoring me. I could only get up if I called my technician.
I had a horrible time going to sleep with no TV. I must have rolled back and forth at least a dozen times, but nothing came loose. Thank goodness! But if it had, my buddy would have wired me back up again.
She woke me up at 6 AM, unplugged everything, and sent me home to wash with Dawn one more time. It’s perfect on that paste.
I waited 2 weeks to get my call on September 17th. No more studies! YAY!
My doctor looked at the results and decided to take me back to another c-pap machine. Now I’m waiting for my order to come in, hopefully the week of September 28th.
In November I’ll go back to see my doctor. She’ll look at my SD card to see how my new machine’s working. Don’t worry! I’ll update you then.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!