Living On O2 for Life
If you use a bipap machine, like I do, this post is for you. I’ve been using a bipap machine since 1993 which is a pretty long time. All sorts of sleep studies had to be done to get qualified for a bipap machine from my medical insurance. Then came the difficulty of getting use to wearing it and breathing with it on. My poor sinuses went through a tough time for a while. Then the whole issue of getting over the thoughts of “Oh my gosh! My health is getting worse!” along with the whole anxiety from the fear of sleep apnea. But once you get use to sleeping with the machine on, you’ll realize when you wake up and go about your day, you’ll find that you will have more energy and feel better.
Some of the issues I’ve had with my bipap machine are written below along with the things that I do to help me resolve the problems.
- Feeling claustrophobic while breathing through the mask. I use the mask shown in the above picture. It covers my entire nose. Just above the white tube that has the oxygen port (where you attach the oxygen tubing), there is a vent that allows CO2 to blow out of the mask. Make sure this is not covered while you are sleeping. Also, I have a small 12″x12″ box fan on my dresser pointed directly at my face. This helps with claustrophobia and it seems to help with keeping the air within the bipap hose cool. I personally do not use the humidifier with my bipap. The only time that I have used it was when I was sick with bronchitis. It helped keep me from coughing so much.
- Too warm or too cold air flowing through the mask. If you have warm air flowing through the mask, check to see if the HEAT button is not pushed. On my machine, it will show HEAT on the screen if it is turned on. Sometimes my cat will walk across the machine and will turn it on without me knowing it. Darn that cat!!! You can also try my fan idea too. However, I keep it pretty cool in my house by running the a/c at 72 degrees. It really helps me breathe easier with cooler air. My husband hates it but he tolerates it because he knows it helps me. If it is wintertime and the air is too cold, turn on the HEAT on the machine. If you don’t have a heat capability on your bipap (older model machines don’t have this), what I use to do is tuck most of the 6 foot tube under the covers of my bed with me. The covers act as insulation! It helps but it’s not perfect.
- Stuffy nose problems. This is the worst! The only thing that I’ve found that truly works for me are the Breathe Right Nasal Strips. (no I don’t get paid to suggest these…) If you want to try them, here is a link to request a free sample of them and a coupon: Try Breathe Right Nasal Strips!
- Anxiety. It was difficult for me to get use to the bipap machine. I have a Synchronized/Timed unit… meaning that it breathes basically at my rate but it has a backup Breaths per Minute setting that if I, for some reason, stop breathing or start to slow down my breathing below my setting of 22 bpm, then my bipap will kick in almost like a respirator. Getting use to the pressures of the air flowing in and out of my lungs was a challenge. For a while I had to use Xanex but now I’m a pro at using my bipap and couldn’t be without it when I sleep or need to do some serious resting while awake to give my lungs a break. The secret to a successful night of sleep with a bipap is relaxation.
I’d really like to hear from you. What are the experiences you are having with using a bipap machine? There are different types of masks such as a full mask that covers both nose and mouth for those who like sleeping while breathing through their mouth, nasal pillows (my least favorite… too much direct air pressure into the nose), and the nose mask. I’ve even used my bipap in my car during a roadtrip! Who doesn’t like roadtrips???
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