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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Having to rethink the logistcs

So a couple of days ago I mentioned in passing that I had started using a C-PAP machine to help me breath at night. No, I won't rehash the whole sad Alice's Restaurant-esque rendition of the saga in four part harmony... go read about it if you're even remotely curious.

Suffice it to say that I now have a sleek looking little machine (a 'Resmed S8 Auto Spirit II', for those of you who are impressed by such things), about the size of a small clock radio on my bedside table.

On one side of this sleek little machine is a vent where the air is sucked in. On the other side protrudes a flexible hose which snakes behind my pillow and ends with a soft rubber mask that fits comfortably on my nose. The mask is held in place by two soft neoprene straps that go around the back of my head.

When I'm ready to go to bed, I place the mask on my nose, adjust the straps so they are comfortable (but secure), take a couple of breaths, and the machine starts working automatically... sucking in air, and forcing it through the hose and into my nose.

I've been following this routine for a week now and, aside from the dryness I'm experiencing (I've already asked the medical supplier to send over the humidifier attachment for the C-PAP), I think it's been working out quite well.

  1. I sleep better.
  2. Zahava sleeps better.
  3. The kids have something new about which to ridicule their father.

However, last night something happened which caused me to rethink some of the logistics of the whole operation.

We have two dogs. Both of our dogs - in the immortal words of Dave Barry - 'emit aromas'. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when or why the dogs emit aromas. Days can go by without a whiff of trouble... and then, without warning, one or both of them will let loose with a bout of flatulence that can (and often does) clear a room.

Last night the older of our dogs - Jordan - went to sleep next to my bed. With her butt pointed right at my bedside table.

Have any of you students of literature figured out yet where I'm going with all this foreshadowing?

Sometime around 1 AM, I came bolt awake as the smell of necrotic dog colon was pumped directly from my dog's @ss... through the C-PAP machine... and across every single one of my unsuspecting olfactory receptors.

Did you ever see that scene from the movie 'Alien' where the embriotic alien creature has just jumped from its egg sac onto the face of the unsuspecting astronaut, triggering a violent (and unsuccessful) struggle to rip the thing off of his face?

That pretty much describes what happened last night as I came fully awake and tried to yank the mask off my nose... forgetting that it was held securely in place by two straps around the back of my head.

Once I was finally able to free myself, it took awhile before I was able to calm down enough to even contemplate going back to sleep. I used that time to banish both dogs to the living room, and to spray some bathroom air freshener around the master bedroom.

Note to self: Check to make sure the dogs are locked upstairs before putting on the C-PAP equipment and going to sleep.

The best part? An old friend (and regular treppenwitz reader) named Debbie was kind enough to point me towards an online CPAP users forum where I'd be able to get a lot of helpful information.

Since finding out about the site, I've been worried about how to introduce myself to the forum denizens... you know, that first post in any online environment is always so crucial to the way strangers relate to you.

Well, guess what my first forum post is going to be about. ;-)

Posted by David Bogner on December 22, 2010 | Permalink

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trust me - you're going to be a big hit!

http://pur-sleep.com/ (not guaranteed to eliminate airborne gifts from your dogs, but more pleasant to inhale than air freshener...) (and very nice and soothing to use on a regular basis) (i'm sure there's something similar in country for you)

Posted by: debbie | Dec 22, 2010 1:56:39 PM

Okay, anybody know a good way to get tea stains off of a white shirt while at work?

I haven't laughed that hard at something I've read in ages... well done, sir!

(shows you where my priorities are: flatulence and human suffering are my entertainment... yep, I'm a classy guy...)

Posted by: efrex | Dec 22, 2010 3:34:32 PM

@efrex, I keep a spare shirt and tie at work for such occurrences. Really.

Posted by: antares | Dec 22, 2010 4:39:18 PM

Having used a C-PAP machine in the past, I could tell right away where this story was going. A classic.

My sleep apnea - serious enough eight years ago to have almost killed me - turned out to be a strong function of my weight. These days, I sleep like a baby without snoring or apnea (and no, I don't mean I cry and poop my pants all night).

Posted by: Elisson | Dec 22, 2010 5:55:25 PM

Been reading you for a couple of years now without commenting, but had to tell you that you just gave me the best laugh I've had all year. Hope the scents have subsided.

Posted by: Mark | Dec 23, 2010 5:55:48 AM

Very, very funny. Thanks!

Posted by: LI Reader | Dec 24, 2010 1:00:13 AM

Yeah, there's nothing quite like having dog flatulence forced into your lungs. It happens to me on occasion, though our dogs are far enough away from my CPAP that it's generally not as intense as your experience.

A big thumbs up on the humidifier. It makes a world of difference in comfort.

Posted by: Chichikov | Dec 24, 2010 5:29:51 PM

My hub has used one for years. Humidifier absolutely necessary, greatly increased comfort. Weight does play a big part in apnea for many people, but you should know that once you've been doing the cpap for a while and you're regularly getting good sleep, your level of cortisol (stress hormone) will drop, which in turn makes it easier to drop a few pounds; a nice side benefit, in addition to the, you know, reduced risk of stroke and all that there stuff. And life's just more fun when you're well rested!

Posted by: bratschegirl | Dec 25, 2010 9:46:02 AM

I forwarded this story on to a friend of mine who recently got a C-PAP, and has a dog who sleeps in his room (hearing ear dog). Maybe he can at least train the dog to sleep with his exhaust pointing away from the input vent. ;-)

Posted by: JDMDad | Dec 29, 2010 3:30:52 PM

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