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Old 09-11-2019, 11:22 AM
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Tell me about your CPAP


Specifically of you have any tips to keep the mask on at night please share them. About the longest I keep it on before ripping it off is 2.5 hours. Most of the time I’m not awake enough when I remove it to even remember I did it.

Feel free to share any other experiences you have with your CPAP.

Last edited by Loach; 09-11-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:34 AM
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How long have you been using the CPAP? How many different styles of masks have you tried? It can take much trial and error before finding a mask that works well and fits comfortably. Eventually, I landed on the Airfit F20 and it seems to work well for me. I also like to use a cushion (actually an old oven pad) at the back of the skull underneath the strap that holds the mask in place.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:59 AM
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Ditto Alpha Twit: if you tear the mask off unconsciously after a couple of hours, you have the wrong mask. Your provider should be willing to work with you to find something that you're comfortable with.

I used a nasal mask at first, and while it kindasorta worked I found that I would "forget" to put it back on if I had to get up in the middle of the night. Eventually I ended up with nasal pillows, which solved the problem.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:50 PM
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Some internet CPAP vendors will let you try masks with free thirty day returns.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:15 PM
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I've been using a CPAP for almost 20 years, so I guess you could say I'm used to it. But I do remember how weird it felt at first. The good news is the masks keep getting lighter and less obtrusive over the years.

I recently switched to the Airfit P10 and I like it, but I think I preferred my previous Swift Mirage precisely because it's slightly bulkier and thus felt like a more secure fit. But the thing is, it's not actually more secure. It's just a psychological thing, which is a big part of it. So I'll stick with the P10 and I expect it to start felling more natural.

My point is, you should definitely experiment and find what works best for you, but also be patient and try to ride it out; the mask will feel less alien as time goes by.

I vastly prefer nasal pillows to a full mask. The Philips Dreamwear cushion mask also seems very well-reviewed, but I haven't tried that type. Just remember that the pillows and cushions come in different sizes; leakage will negatively affect your experience.

Good luck, and I hope you'll let us know how it's going!

(ETA: If your sleep apnea is even half as bad as mine, you will begin to feel soooo much better during the day, and this will all be worth it! Hang in there!)

Last edited by Wheelz; 09-11-2019 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:46 AM
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The only thing that helped me was time. I spent a few weeks tearing it off my face (unaware until I woke) and this gradually subsided. Eventually your mind (subconscious? sleeping?) will start viewing the mask as normal, and its absence as abnormal. In my case it took around 4-5 weeks to get my face acclimated to the object strapped to it. But as others will attest, it was so very, very worth it. The sleep now is a godsend, and has given me "my life back". The downside is you'll quickly become dependent on it, and will dread doing without.

If you'll tolerate a bit more advice: Over time you will need to replace masks/hoses/etc. Do this well before any failures and store the older parts as spares. One day you'll accidently suck the hose into the vacuum, or roll over and break the entry elbow to your mask, or any other imaginable oops. And with a set of spare parts, you can cobble together enough to sleep until the new gear arrives. On my (rare) airline trips, I even pack a few of the more delicate backup parts in my checked luggage. The mask is notoriously fragile ime, and having extra little clips, elbows, and whatnot can be a godsend.

Regarding new gear, I would recommend joining the cpap.com site. Even if you have no interest in the forums, they can get new gear to you quickly. Once you settle into a pattern, you'll find it very easy since they save your size and preferences. When I need new mask, reservoir, hose, straps, filters, etc. it's all there and just a couple of clicks between the supplies and my front door.

A few other bits of advice from the nose-hose brigade...
-Try a longer hose next time you order. It gives a lot more freedom if you move about in bed much.
-When cold weather comes, you're likely to hear gurgling in the hose in the middle of the night. This can be fixed by either a heated hose, or just turning down the heat in your humidifier.
-It's likely that your cpap has a 12V car adapter either provided or available. I would recommend getting this, and finding a deep cycle, medically OK, 12V AGM non-spill battery as a backup. I keep one of these ($110.00) in the bottom shelf of my bedside table. It can provide 3-4 nights of current for the machine in case of power failure. I also take it when camping/etc.
-I take my hose and mask into the shower with me each morning. They're washed and thoroughly rinsed along with me, and I hang them over a towel rod to dry all day. This has worked very well for 6 years and I have no problems with mold or ick in my gear. The various mask/hose cleaning machines (SoClean) aren't really that effective and are usually a waste of money.

I've never found an easy way to travel with mine, at least not in the traditional airport/motel sense. I'm either trying to protect it from overenthusiastic overhead bag stuffers, fit it beneath my feet, and (in some cases) repairing it after hotel maids knocked some part off a towel rod or counter. I leave it to others here to give advice on that.

Best of luck! It will be worth it in the end.

Last edited by pullin; 09-12-2019 at 08:48 AM.
  #7  
Old 09-12-2019, 10:33 AM
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It's taken me about 2 years to figure it out, but I finally realized it's ok to tighten the mask. It seemed like when I first got it during the sleep test, it was super loose. Then maybe when I went to the medical supply place for my fitting I feel like they put it on loose. So I would always put it on so the membrane was sort of loose, and letting the air force it to fit my face. Inevitably, I'd wake up in the morning with air blowing out from the mask and it was uncomfortable.

In the last couple months I tightened it up and now I have no air leaking and it's all good. It's not uncomfortably tight of course, but it stays put and I finally feel like I've got it working perfectly.

This is for the nose-only type, fwiw. The AirFit N20.

Also I switched from a regular hose to a heated hose and it is pretty great. I didn't realize how much I liked it until my heated hose broke and I had to go back to the regular hose for a bit. I could tell a difference!
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:25 AM
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I've been using a CPAP for about three months now, with the Philips Respironics Dreamwear nasal-only mask. AIUI, this is one of the less obtrusive masks available. I haven't been too bothered by it, except that it's difficult to sleep on my side with it; friction with the pillow seems to shift the mask laterally across my nostrils, resulting in an air leak unless I'm really careful about how I arrange my head and "preload" the pillow with a sliding load from my head as I settle into a side-sleeping position. I've taken to sleeping almost exclusively on my back.

I don't have much advice for the OP, other than to try a different mask. Consult with whatever outfit gave you your CPAP and see what they've got, or browse the web and look for something that fits your CPAP unit. I expect there are masks out there with strap arrangements that make it more difficult to remove in a half-awake state.

Worst case, you could get the facehugger CPAP mask; those things REALLY don't come off without a fight.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:45 PM
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Iíve been using it about 2 months. 2 doctors visits. The doctor didnít seem to think changing masks would do much good because I already have an unobtrusive mask. I didnít know if heís full of shit. (Iíll be able to post the type later) What he has done is adjust the pressure to be lower.

The big issue is the insurance company wonít pay if I canít average over 4 hours a night.

I had a stroke 9 months ago. The only risk factor they could identify is sleep apnea. I feel like Iím fighting for my life.
  #10  
Old 09-12-2019, 02:28 PM
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The doctor didnít seem to think changing masks would do much good because I already have an unobtrusive mask.
Eh, bullshit IMHO. Just because it is unobtrusive in general doesn't mean it will work for you. There are a bazillion different mask types. With or without his help you might want to try a few more just to see if they might be better for you.

But I should note I'm an outlier in how long it took me to adjust. Like pullin it took me a long time to get used to them and basically I had to try twice. After a couple of months of gradually trying to habituate myself I gave it up out of frustration for several months. I only got it to work on the second try( which was much easier, don't ask me why ). I still don't love it as some people learn to do, but am fully tolerant now and use it every night for an average of ~7 hours. It does make a world of difference.

But I have very good insurance for medical equipment - it was free and not dependent on my usage pattern. So I had the luxury of playing with it at my own pace over a long time.

Quote:
What he has done is adjust the pressure to be lower.
Don't know if it is an option for you due to insurance, but I do like my self-regulating machine that gradually ramps up the pressure and adjusts to my needs. It IS easier to start with a lower air flow when you're just going to bed, I think. For me anyway - everyone is different.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:35 PM
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Don't know if it is an option for you due to insurance, but I do like my self-regulating machine that gradually ramps up the pressure and adjusts to my needs. It IS easier to start with a lower air flow when you're just going to bed, I think. For me anyway - everyone is different.
Thatís how mine is. They adjusted down the upper pressure. It starts off lower.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:42 PM
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Eventually I ended up with nasal pillows
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I vastly prefer nasal pillows to a full mask.
Nasal Pillows were a game changer for me. I can't ever imagine using anything else.
  #13  
Old 09-12-2019, 05:00 PM
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Ditto Alpha Twit: if you tear the mask off unconsciously after a couple of hours, you have the wrong mask. Your provider should be willing to work with you to find something that you're comfortable with.

I used a nasal mask at first, and while it kindasorta worked I found that I would "forget" to put it back on if I had to get up in the middle of the night. Eventually I ended up with nasal pillows, which solved the problem.
I'm using the pillows now and I like them. My problem is keeping my mouth shut at night, so I use a chinstrap. That led to grinding my teeth, so I have to have a mouthpiece as well. I feel like I am suiting up to battle the sleep gods at night.
  #14  
Old 09-12-2019, 11:09 PM
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I"ve been using CPAP for over 20 years, full face mask, and I never had a moment's problem keeping it on. I guess my sleep apnea was pretty bad, because I still remember that first night with the CPAP -- I think I slept through the night without moving once. Before that I had been getting up every 45 minutes because even the slightest bladder pressure would "wake" me from the sleep I wasn't actually getting. I was falling asleep at work and of course on the train to and from work, watching TV, pretty much all the time.

Since then I haven't had any serious problems keeping them on, but one thing always bothered me, which was the strap across the front of my forehead. The straps had one or two rubber cushions on them and I always felt like they were making permanent divots in the bone under the skin.

So last time I needed a new mask I decided to try this design: the ResMed AirFit F20, here: https://www.thecpapshop.com/resmed-a...eadgear-bundle. No strap across the forehead, and I feel like I'm hardly wearing anything. There are lots of different makers and variations on this design, maybe one of them will work for you (assuming you use full-face and aren't already using one like this).
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Iíve been using it about 2 months. 2 doctors visits. The doctor didnít seem to think changing masks would do much good because I already have an unobtrusive mask. I didnít know if heís full of shit. (Iíll be able to post the type later) What he has done is adjust the pressure to be lower.

The big issue is the insurance company wonít pay if I canít average over 4 hours a night.

I had a stroke 9 months ago. The only risk factor they could identify is sleep apnea. I feel like Iím fighting for my life.
Have you tried using it in the afternoon, during a nap in the lounge chair? That helped me acclimate. Something about being partially upright made it feel less like I had an alien face-hugger wrapped around me.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:41 AM
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It takes a while to get used to them. The purpose isn't to pump air directly into your lungs, it's to keep your sinuses inflated so you can breathe normally. This takes some deliberate relaxing if you have any kind of congestion, but it works if you let it.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:38 PM
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The big issue is the insurance company wonít pay if I canít average over 4 hours a night.

I had a stroke 9 months ago. The only risk factor they could identify is sleep apnea. I feel like Iím fighting for my life.
Sorry to hear about your stroke. In a way, you are fighting for your life. My wife used to describe the sounds I would make before I had a CPAP; she used words like "panic" and "desperation." I guess being able to breathe while sleeping is kind of important.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies don't see it that way, and will do all they can to not pay for your equipment. I recently needed a new machine, and was told my deductible was $2000. Thanks for nothing, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I guess we'll just let the people who can't afford it die in their sleep.

Sorry, my little rant is not helping you with your issues. I truly do hope the CPAP works out for you. I think it will; it just takes some time and patience.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:42 PM
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Sorry to hear about your stroke. In a way, you are fighting for your life. My wife used to describe the sounds I would make before I had a CPAP; she used words like "panic" and "desperation." I guess being able to breathe while sleeping is kind of important.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies don't see it that way, and will do all they can to not pay for your equipment. I recently needed a new machine, and was told my deductible was $2000. Thanks for nothing, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I guess we'll just let the people who can't afford it die in their sleep.

Sorry, my little rant is not helping you with your issues. I truly do hope the CPAP works out for you. I think it will; it just takes some time and patience.
Check ebay.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:01 PM
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Check ebay.
I purchased the machine from an actual medical supplier; didn't want to take any chances with that. But yeah, the masks, hoses, filters, replacement pillows, and so forth are ridiculously overpriced from "official" suppliers, and can be found much more cheaply elsewhere.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:10 PM
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I've tried a couple of other designs but have been using the Sleepweaver Elan for about three years now. Incredibly comfortable and doesn't get pushed out of place if you roll over a millimeter. One big problem I had with other styles was adjusting it to fit, and then as i relaxed it started leaking or annoying me again. A big advantage is the wide cloth "wings" that spread the load out across your cheeks more. More comfy and reduces the jowls.

NOTE: I got the ridiculously designed original by mistake. It's the one that looks like a jockstrap. Unless you have a frying-pan face, there's no way it won't leak straight into your eyeballs.

I had pillows before that, which worked quite well. But they get harder over time as they absorb body oils and distort your nostrils uncomfortably. It's a gradual process so it would take me awhile to realize that was happening.

Keep trying different styles until you find one that works for you. It's life-changing. (I was lucky in that I slept through the night at my first trial at the lab. After that I was determined to make it work.)
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:54 PM
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On the subject of OSA, doing things like sleeping at an incline, on your side or your stomach, or exercising your throat muscles can also reduce the amount of apnea events per hour. So if you can't tolerate a CPAP that is something you can also look into.

Everyone knows obesity is connected with sleep apnea, but supposedly so is PTSD. Lots of military veterans develop OSA, and I don't know if they know why yet. I think OP is a veteran (unless I'm thinking of someone else), I don't know if there is a connection there that needs to be looked into.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4410924/
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 09-13-2019 at 05:55 PM.
  #22  
Old 09-13-2019, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Iíve been using it about 2 months. 2 doctors visits. The doctor didnít seem to think changing masks would do much good because I already have an unobtrusive mask. I didnít know if heís full of shit. (Iíll be able to post the type later) What he has done is adjust the pressure to be lower.

The big issue is the insurance company wonít pay if I canít average over 4 hours a night.

I had a stroke 9 months ago. The only risk factor they could identify is sleep apnea. I feel like Iím fighting for my life.
You will have to figure out why you're taking the mask off while you sleep. In need mine. BADLY. If I take it off it's because my nose is so stuffed up I can't breath. I keep nose spray in my night stand to deal with it as needed.

When my cpap broke I bought a used one on Craigs List for much less than the copayments added up to. I cleaned it and used my own tubing/mask. I then got the broken one fixed so I have a spare. Oddly my doctor sent me to a company that wasn't on the insurance list so they weren't getting reimbursed. They sold it to me for their cost which worked out in my favor.

When I first got mine it was capable of dialing in to the doctor who decided I needed more pressure. Yah, no. Got on the net and figured out how to dial it back to my comfort level.

As for just keeping it on that takes a bit of practice. When I change position in bed I automatically move the tubing so it keeps the mask on. It's a reflexive response at this point.
  #23  
Old 09-14-2019, 12:24 AM
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You've got to get comfortable with it, and that means training. Carry the damned thing around with you for a while and plug it in every time you sit down. Keep it on while you're watching TV, reading a book, etc. Probably not while eating dinner.

You might also have to change the position you sleep in. I used to be a side sleeper but had to learn to fall asleep on my back to avoid my nose stuffing up. Once the APAP ramps up over the course of the night, I can roll onto my side.

Keep trying. Don't give up on it. You will get used to it and it will make you a much happier (and much more alert) human being in the long run.

Last edited by Johnny Bravo; 09-14-2019 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:54 AM
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My dad likes having a chin strap. It keeps it from coming off, and makes it basically impossible for him to take it off subconsciously at night (as it requires too much manual dexterity) to unhook. Yes, it's more intrusive, but it works for him.

Last edited by BigT; 09-14-2019 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:04 PM
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You've got to get comfortable with it, and that means training. Carry the damned thing around with you for a while and plug it in every time you sit down. Keep it on while you're watching TV, reading a book, etc. Probably not while eating dinner.

You might also have to change the position you sleep in. I used to be a side sleeper but had to learn to fall asleep on my back to avoid my nose stuffing up. Once the APAP ramps up over the course of the night, I can roll onto my side.

Keep trying. Don't give up on it. You will get used to it and it will make you a much happier (and much more alert) human being in the long run.
Luckily I have zero issue falling asleep. A minute or two on my back controlling my breathing and Iím out. Itís when I move while Iím asleep that I have issues.
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:24 PM
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I have been a CPAP user for about 9 months, and it's only been in the past month or so that I feel comfortable with it and can reliably sleep through the night. I had the exact problem you did- go to sleep with the CPAP on and wake up in the morning with it off but no recollection of waking up to take it off. Like you, I was very worried that I would "flunk" my first 3 months and lose insurance.

The respiratory tech advised me to set an alarm for 3:00 am and put the CPAP back on if it was off. I never had to do that because I began leaving it on right about that time. The other advise I found helpful was to wear it when I was awake so that I could get used to it and get the fit right.

It is a blessing to wake up rested after years of exhaustion.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:31 AM
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I've been on a CPAP now for nearly two years. The motivating factor for me was a cardiac issue I was diagnosed with around the same time as when I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea. There is some link between sleep apnea and the heart condition I was diagnosed with, which I very much don't want to get any worse, or I could be looking at major heart surgery down the road. The side benefit is that I'm sleeping better than I have in years.

So anyway, I was highly motivated to get used to the mask. I had a very difficult time as well when I first started using it.

I started off with a ResMed AirTouch F20. I had two problems with this. First, I sleep on my stomach with my head turned to the side, and the mask kept getting knocked ajar every time I turned my head. To keep it in place, I had to crank down on the straps, which was uncomfortable. Also, I roll around in the night, and kept waking up with the tube wrapped around my neck.

I mentioned all of this to my sleep doctor at my first follow-up appointment, and she switched me to a Phillips DreamWare with nasal pillows. The connector is on the top of your head with a swivel, so the hose can't easily get wrapped around your neck. I love it. I questioned my doctor about what happens if I'm a little congested, and she indicated that the pressure usually clears it right out. I've found this to be true.

I have kept my old full-face mask for any time I have a full-fledged cold and am completely congested, or if my nose gets irritated for some reason.
  #28  
Old 09-16-2019, 09:59 AM
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I've been using a CPAP for almost 20 years, so I guess you could say I'm used to it. But I do remember how weird it felt at first. The good news is the masks keep getting lighter and less obtrusive over the years.

I recently switched to the Airfit P10 and I like it, but I think I preferred my previous Swift Mirage precisely because it's slightly bulkier and thus felt like a more secure fit. But the thing is, it's not actually more secure. It's just a psychological thing, which is a big part of it. So I'll stick with the P10 and I expect it to start felling more natural.

My point is, you should definitely experiment and find what works best for you, but also be patient and try to ride it out; the mask will feel less alien as time goes by.

I vastly prefer nasal pillows to a full mask. The Philips Dreamwear cushion mask also seems very well-reviewed, but I haven't tried that type. Just remember that the pillows and cushions come in different sizes; leakage will negatively affect your experience.

Good luck, and I hope you'll let us know how it's going!

(ETA: If your sleep apnea is even half as bad as mine, you will begin to feel soooo much better during the day, and this will all be worth it! Hang in there!)
CPAP user for about 10+ years now I guess. I also use a nasal pillow mask, the AirFit P10. I could not do full face or nasal masks. I could never get a seal that would hold as I slept - I move around a lot. I also had regular feelings of claustrophobia. Moving to a nasal mask was night-and-day change and the latest mask I use (the P10) is perfect for me. It's so light and comfortable.

Many years ago one of the things I found helpful as I adjusted to CPAP was to route my hose over the headboard and then down to my face. This got the hose out from my body and from becoming entangled in the sheets, etc. It really helped me adjust but your mask has to have a swivel connection to do this effectively. Otherwise, just keep at it and push back to your doctor and DME until you get a mask that works for you. It does take time but now I cannot and will not sleep without my CPAP.
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  #29  
Old 09-16-2019, 10:55 AM
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...I mentioned all of this to my sleep doctor at my first follow-up appointment, and she switched me to a Phillips DreamWare with nasal pillows. The connector is on the top of your head with a swivel, so the hose can't easily get wrapped around your neck. I love it. I questioned my doctor about what happens if I'm a little congested, and she indicated that the pressure usually clears it right out. I've found this to be true.
One thing I have noted with the nasal pillows is that you can get air leakage through your mouth if your mouth opens at all in the night. This was happening about half the time for me, so I started wearing a chin strap. It's not very tight, but is tight enough to keep my mouth closed while I'm sleeping, and the air leakage problem has been pretty much resolved.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by robby View Post
One thing I have noted with the nasal pillows is that you can get air leakage through your mouth if your mouth opens at all in the night. This was happening about half the time for me, so I started wearing a chin strap. It's not very tight, but is tight enough to keep my mouth closed while I'm sleeping, and the air leakage problem has been pretty much resolved.
This was a challenge for me at first. Due to my poor sinuses pre-surgery I had spent a lifetime as a mostly mouth-breather, including at night when I slept. When I moved to my first nasal-pillow based mask after sinus surgery my mouth would open while I was asleep out of habit and I'd lose effectiveness of treatment. I tried a chin strap but found it too uncomfortable for me. Eventually I trained myself to keep my mouth closed and it's a non-issue now - but it took awhile!
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Last edited by MeanJoe; 09-17-2019 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Clarity!
  #31  
Old 09-17-2019, 12:56 PM
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I don't have any advice but I hope you can figure out how to make it work! I never had any issues with taking the mask off in the middle of the night. I assume it's because according to the sleep test, I averaged 130 apnea events an hour so my body was probably just elated to actually get some rest and totally happy to deal with the mask instead.

The thing that blew me away about getting a CPAP was just how shitty my life was with apnea and I didn't even know it. I hope you can also find the more rested happier you.
  #32  
Old Today, 10:00 PM
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To the OP: You might want to consider an automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) mask. It's a newer technology, and it has the advantage that it can detect when you exhale so it doesn't continue trying to force air into you.

It was a lot more comfortable for me but my insurance didn't cover it. In the end I went the dental appliance route.

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Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; Today at 10:00 PM.
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