I think my CPAP machine is trying to kill me.37211_ResMed_Machines_AirCurve_10_VAuto_HumidAir_BiLevel_1__15771.1426512632.1280.1280

Okay, here’s a little background. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep a person’s airways open. It is commonly used to treat sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a person to have pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while sleeping. The CPAP machine delivers the constant and steady air pressure through a hose and a mask or nose piece.

As I wrote here a little while ago, I underwent a sleep study a couple of months ago to help try to determine why I was waking up so tired in the mornings. What the study revealed was that my breathing becomes so shallow when I am asleep that my heart is forced to work harder than it should, which would explain the feelings of fatigue. As a result of these findings, I was set up with a CPAP machine of my own, and I have been using for about the last three weeks.

The only problem so far, though, is that instead of helping me sleep at night, the wretched thing keeps causing me to wake up. Apparently, many people who use CPAP machines experience something known as Aerophagia, which basically means to swallow air. As you may or may not know, swallowing air can lead to gas buildup. So, to really share more information than I’m sure any of you wanted to know, I keep waking up during the night with the urge to either belch or fart. And the really good news is, there’s not really any foolproof way to keep this from happening.

Now, I’m not ready to give on this thing just yet, mainly because I have noticed I haven’t been quite as tired during the day since I started using it. But there is a very large part of me that wants to drop-kick this little machine into the nearest corn field, mainly because it is taking an area of my life I have always been secure in (i.e., the ability to fall asleep easily) and turning it into another instance of uncertainty. Some days I think I would rather just keep waking up tired than have to reach for anti-gas pills and/or antacids every morning.

I suppose I am always a little leery of “cures” in general, though. I take medicine for my depression, but most of the time I couldn’t honestly tell you if it is working or not. I do know it has a tendency to make me drowsy, and I don’t like that about it. I don’t want to stop taking it, though, because I know what I’m like without it. At least, I think I know what I’m like without it. I mean, maybe if I got it all out of my system I’d be fine. Maybe it’s just a placebo. Maybe it even makes me “worse.”

I used to work with someone who was always encouraging me to “get off the drugs.” She did not believe antidepressants were effective at all, and I can’t say that she didn’t make a lot of sense at times. Just like there is a chance the CPAP machine will eventually do me more good than harm, though, there is a very high probability the medicine I take for depression will have a positive effect on me, so I keep on taking it. Maybe the road to wellness is meant to have a few bumps along the way.

I’m about to go to bed in a few minutes, which means I’ll be strapping on the mask.

I mean, this is the cure.


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