Hi y’all, I’ve been lurking for a few weeks now (since I got my diagnosis of OSA and was waiting for my appointment to be given my CPAP), but yesterday was the big day and I’ve finally got it, and had my first night’s sleep. I figured I’d put some thoughts out there, both to ask some questions and get some feedback if anyone’s willing to give any, and to give some information for anyone who might be interested.

Some deets first.

I’m 35, female, Australian but now living in the UK and I am severely obese. I’ve snored, been told I stop breathing in my sleep and shown signs of sleep apnea for years (waking up multiple times a night to go to the bathroom, daytime drowsiness, brain fog, “choking” dreams, waking up panting and heart racing etc.). I tried doing a home sleep study with the harness and breath measure back in Aus, but the results were inconclusive and the clinic I was working with were shite for scheduling me for a follow up.

I saw my GP over here in the UK for a referral back in August last year, as I’m just getting tired of, well, being tired. That and I am also working with a clinic to manage my weight and sleep apnea is a big part of that whole process. So referred in August, was scheduled for an appointment in late December, but I had to reschedule because I’d just started a new job and couldn’t take the time off. Rescheduled for mid January, was given a pulse oximeter to use at home, sent that back and received a letter about 3 weeks ago with my diagnosis and my date to come in for a follow up.

Yesterday was issued a ResMed AirSense 10 and an AirFit F20 mask. I did want to try the nasal pillow, but due to my nose ring it caused an air leak we couldn’t compensate for, so I went full face. All on the NHS, so no cost to me.

Unfortunately, I’m sick as heck right now. Got a chest infection with full on rattly breathing and coughing, and all my sinuses are gunked up. Not the best start to my CPAP life! But I got shown how to use it, got it all home, got it set up and at the proper time, settled down to try and sleep last night. And now my thoughts:

  • The pressure of the mask over my nose and around my mouth is weird. I think I can get used to it, but it definitely did impact my ability to drop off like I normally would.
  • Breathing out against the pressure is strange. I’m much more comfortable with the sensation of the air blowing in when I breathe in than I thought I would be, but I was finding that breathing out almost felt like a struggle at some points. This got easier as I got used to it, but any time I put my mask back on, it hit me again.
  • Coughing in a CPAP mask is awful. Do not recommend.
  • I try to be a good little gremlin and do skincare as well, including moisturising. I didn’t last night because I’m also lazy. Does anyone use moisturisers on their skin, and does it cause problems with the seal of the mask/the integrity?
  • Normally I am a nose breather, but I did find between the pressure from my mask on the bridge of my nose, and the congestion from my virus, I was just mouth breathing like nobody’s business last night. I’m hoping as this virus passes/I get used to the mask I’ll go back to nose breathing but in case I don’t – any tips?

According to the app that comes with my machine, I got 5 hours of usage overnight, and my events per hour are down to around 2 just with the one night of using it. I did have 8 mask on/off events, but I feel like a lot of that was when I was coughing and I just had to take my mask off.

I only woke up to the point of needing to get up to use the bathroom once, where in an average night I might end up doing so four to six times (or more).

I won’t say I woke up feeling magically refreshed and bright and sparkly and bouncy, but I did wake up feeling different. Normally on a weekend, getting myself out of bed can take anywhere up to lunchtime (or early afternoon), involves several attempts at getting up and just going back to pass out, then finally crawling out under protest when my husband finally hassles me to get up.

This morning I woke up at about 8. I still felt like I could sleep more, so I went to the bathroom, then got back in bed, put my mask on and tried to relax. But I didn’t feel sleepy. I ended up just lying in bed, relaxing and getting used to breathing in the mask for about an hour and a half, before I got up and went to have a shower. What’s most impressive for me though is that during my time in bed this morning, I told myself I should get up and tidy the kitchen some, and unlike most other weekend mornings, I actually did.

I got up, had a shower, got dressed and went to do some dishes and tidy up the kitchen, all before noon. I won’t say I was jumping for joy to do it, or dancing around the kitchen, but I told myself I should do it and it got done.

So I’m feeling promising. It’s mid afternoon now, and I’m feeling a little like I could do with a bit of a nap, but I’m also wondering whether that’s somewhere between habit (I’m a champion napper) and the fact that after all, I am still sick. I’m definitely going to keep using my machine though, because the change in just one day has been fascinating, and I am actually looking forward to how much improvement I might feel once I’ve kicked this virus.

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