Sleeping With a Mask

I hesitated to conduct a sleep study because I didn’t want to wear a mask to sleep every night and maybe for the rest of my life. Even though my internist insisted that I didn’t need it, my wife pressured me to do it. She couldn’t stand my snoring even though we have been sleeping in separate rooms with our doors closed.

I brought the issue with internist again and she recommended the Neurology Center of Fairfax. I chose Dr. Cho based on the positive reviews I have read on Google. He turned out to be great. We did a Zoom meeting, in which he asked me a punch of questions. I also asked him about my concern of sleeping with a mask. I am sure he had received this question from patients over and over again. His response was that many of his patients wouldn’t want to sleep without it after they get used to it.

Dr. Cho wanted to conduct a sleep study in the office so he could get a comprehensive diagnosed, but my insurance denied. My insurance wanted me to do a home study first. I went into Dr. Cho’s office to pick up the test machine and one of his specialists provided me detailed instructions for setting up the test at home.

The sleep study machine was uncomfortable, but I got through it. My apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 8, which is a mild case for sleep apnea. an AHI of 30 would consider high risk. Dr. Cho wanted me to go into the office to get further testing and my insurance denied again. It wanted me to go ahead with the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Dr. Cho’s staff referred me to the Bay State Medical. Last Wednesday, I went into its office to pick up Philips’s DreamStation 2 Auto CPAP Advanced. A sleep therapy specialist went over the machine with me in details. He also showed me about half a dozens of masks to choose from. I picked out Fisher & Paykel’s Vitera Full Face Mask.

The specialist warned me that the first two weeks might uncomfortable. If I could use it for an hour a night in the first few nights, that would be find. After that I have to use at least four hours in order for the insurance to pay for the equipments. On Wednesday night, I started using the machine immediately. I was surprised how comfortable it felt. To distract myself from the machine and the mask, I read for half an hour before dozing off. The mask kept my mouth closed so I breath mostly through my nose. I don’t think I was snoring anymore. In the first two nights, I felt the pressured kicked in a few times while I was sleeping. The last three nights, I didn’t feel much as I am starting to get used to the machine. I have been using the machine from 6 to 8 hours a night. My AHI is 2.1, which is lower than 5. This is definitely a good sign. At the same time, I am now depending on this technology for a while or maybe for the rest of my life. Scary isn’t it?

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