Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SCUBA, Anyone?

I've been snorkeling, even though it's on the edge of what my claustrophobia can tolerate. All I have to do is lift my head and I'm back to oxygen through my nose and nothing pressing down on me.

I've always said that I could never go SCUBA diving, though, because I'd be too freaked out by the weight of the water over me, and the regulator, the sounds of my own breathing, and the need to ascend slowly if I should panic and want to be above water. SCUBA diving has been pretty easy for me to avoid, though. It's outrageously expensive and usually most readily available in tropical areas, and my budget has kept me away.

I go SCUBA diving every night now. I got my CPAP machine. I wear a mask. Head gear keeps it in place. I have to keep my mouth shut or the force of the air pressure gags me. I have to take deep breaths or I get all out breath and can't get enough air. The mask moves around a bit if I do, and then the condensation from the added humidity drips on my face adding to the underwater sensation.

I dream water dreams. Boats, ships, dingys. They all sink. Swimming. Water skiing, only I can't get up so they drag me under water instead. I float in a womb (a very large womb) of some alien creature and try to use sign-language to communicate with the people I see waving to me, only they never respond. I wake up. Still imprisoned by my gear.

(looks innocent enough, right?)


All those water dreams make me need to use the bathroom. Off comes all the gear and the whole process starts again. I can't go back to sleep for a while, so I lay there, breathing too fast, feeling like I'm drowning, and there's no escape. It's hard to get comfortable with all those pressure points poking your head. I wake up with red marks striping my face. (If I loosen the contraption, it leaks and makes an awful rattling noise it took me 45 minutes to fix the other night.)

(here's me being ultra-brave and putting this on the internet for you - almost as scary as drowning every night - but I trust you not to put it on your facebook page of alien creatures your children are frightened by)



They promise me wonderful health benefits: lower blood pressure, an increase in the hormone which allows weight loss, more energy from a “good” night's sleep, higher oxygen levels (mine dropped to below 72% during the sleep study), and general better well being. Not sure my psyche can handle it, because so far it's claustrophobia, stress, nightmares, and sore spots on my face.

I know Jo (see my sidebar - Jo on Food, My Travels and a Scent of Chocolate) has a CPAP and has been blogging about it.  She seems to be doing well.  Anyone else?  Any advice?  Tough it out?  Give up?  Take sleeping pills or tranquilizers?  Or just double my wine intake?  All advice welcome.  Not all will be followed...

25 comments:

Brian Miller said...

its not easy...had a kid i worked with that had to wear one or he would die...when he slept his heart would not keep up...make sure its adjusted right so that it fits as comfortable as possible...the tech at the store can do that for you...

JoJo said...

Wow Tina, I'm not sure i could use one of those, esp. being a side sleeper and a toss & turner. How long have you used one?

Jo said...

Tina, sorry you are having so much trouble. I have gone to a mouth and nose mask as I find it less trouble to keep from leaking. I sleep like a baby these days. I have never had problems with condensation. I do get marks on my face. You don't have to remove the mask to go pee. Just disconnect the hose.

Side sleeping is no problem, especially if you get a CPAP pillow.

Jo said...

Hubby suggested maybe you need to talk to your doctor and the CPAP machine provider about this. I don't see drugs will help you.

I believe once you get used to it you will find you feel so much better, but...... or you could try circular breathing with a didgeridoo - did you see that post of mine? Apparently it works.

Andrea said...

I didn't realize all of the hoops you had to jump thru to experience the benefits of a cpap machine. Now I know why some people don't use them religiously.

Silvia Villalobos said...

Just know you're very brave ... and continue on. A lot braver than a lot of other people. You've taken the first few steps, give it a few more tries. I'm sure it's not easy.

Andrew Leon said...

I have absolutely no advice. I don't sleep on my back, so I'm not sure how something like that would work for me.
However, can I get something like that for my cat that would allow me to sleep better? Because, man, if he keeps waking me up all night, we might only have a cat skin.

Jo said...

No, the circular breathing is nothing to do with the CPAP machine. According to the people in CA who sell didgeridoos, to play it you have to learn circular breathing which ends up strengthening your lungs.

People, you DON'T have to lie on your back, you can lie on either side, don't think you can lie on your stomach though.

Tina I do hope you can persevere because I certainly find its making a difference. Good luck. I got back to my machine providers several times, ask them about nasal pillows, you might find that better.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tina, I'm really sorry you have to use that thing. It might just take some time to get used to. Although after a week or so, I'd tell someone it's not working.
Sorry it took me so long to visit today. Still drowning in IWSG posts.

Jenny said...

I'm claustrophobic in that way, too, and this sounds really awful! I hope it gets easier very soon and you start seeing some of those benefits.

Jenny at Choice City Native

Al Diaz said...

I'm sorry you have to use that. I cannot imagine how is to sleep with one of those, although Jo seems to be doing very well. I do hope you get your good night sleep!

LD Masterson said...

My hubby has a CPAP but he opted for the full nose and mouth mask. He says it's more comfortable than having the pressure point across his upper lips and he can breathe through his nose and/or his mouth. Don't know if that would work for you but he sleeps so much better now.

DL Hammons said...

I learned how to scuba dive when I was 17...and I use a CPAP now. It takes some getting used to (and you never really get 100% used to it), but it did make a dramatic difference in my health. I used to wake up with headaches at least once a week, and now I haven't had a morning headache in over a year.

PS. I use a inhaler that's less invasive than the one you picture.

Jo said...

Funnily enough, met my husband at a British Sub Aqua Club, he was an instructor there.

I too find the full mask better than the nose only, but with claustrophobia, it may well be too much.

I do agree you should try one of the nasal pillows Tina, this very long link is to a page of pictures of them, as you will see there are many different ones, you need to talk to your providers. https://www.google.com/search?gs_rn=19&gs_ri=psy-ab&tok=lZptvK4zNiPUmjWkwin-Mw&cp=8&gs_id=x&xhr=t&q=nasal+pillows&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48705608,d.aWM&biw=1440&bih=744&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=29HUUeeVF8iPqwGs4IDwCQ

criticalcrass said...

oh, tina, i'm so sorry that this is what life looks like right now for you. i hope it gets back to good soon.

Lucy said...

That does not look like fun at all.
Lucy

loverofwords said...

I am trying to adjust to the nose tube which I use at night at a low level. Not the sleep mask yet. The machine makes a lot of noise so we have it in the lower level of our house and then cannot hear it. At first I could not sleep, then was instructed to drop it to 1.5 from 2. It helps. I try and take deep breaths and imagine wonderful scenes. Good luck with it, Tina. I think we have to remember your motto, "Life is Good."

Jo said...

Don't understand what you are saying loverofwords. My machine sits on my bedside cupboard and I can hardly hear it.

Romance Reader said...

It doesn't sound fun, so sorry that you have to use that.

Nas

klahanie said...

Dear Tina,

The ordeals you have endure. I know you do your best to tolerate. I know, despite it all, you keep moving forward and continue to embrace that life is good.

Your friend who blogs about CPAP, has that gift of experience to share, of empathy. May I suggest you check out others who are going through what you go through and what coping strategies they use.

All I can do is offer encouragement, support and friendship. You have my respect and admiration, dear friend.

In kindness,

Gary

Jo said...

Actually Gary, I have only had my machine for about 5 weeks or so.

Carol Kilgore said...

I couldn't wait to go snorkeling. Then I couldn't wait to get out of the water. I'm a bit claustrophobic, too, and I hated it.

Husband is also a bit claustrophobic. He has used a CPAP for a few years now. It took him about a month to get comfy with it. It's made a huge difference for him, so I highly recommend toughing it out.

His mask fits over his nose and mouth. So you may want to check in to getting a different mask. Also, he does not put water in that compartment. He did it once, and he said it felt like he was drowning. So maybe check into that for yourself, too.

Good luck!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. looks like some extra advice from friends .. I do hope you can get it to work for you ..

Patience is a virtue by the sound of it .. sleeping poorly is not something I'd want to experience ..

My thoughts go out to you .. and have a happy Fourth of July weekend .. cheers Hilary

shelly said...

At 4:30 this morning, Sweetman, my daughter, No-No and I were in a car. The streets around us were flooded. People were wading in the pools of water. As I drove close to one, I decided to put the car in reverse. While doing a three point turn the car slipped back into the puddle causing the car to flip and be fully submerged in water. I woke up wondering how we would ever escape.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Jo said...

I'm assuming that was only a dream Shelly. I hope so anyway.