Tag Archive: cpap

“living” with sleep apnea

I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a condition where, during the night, my throat/airway closes up and I stop breathing.  Usually, a person notices the obstruction, wakes up, coughs and falls asleep only after the airway has reopened.  

It is the frequency and duration of these obstructions that are the key.  Right now I’m at about 15 apneas, with up to 50 seconds “toleration.”  That means my body lets me go 50 seconds before it jumps me awake.  My blood-oxygen level also drops to 60% at it’s low point, but only 1-2 times a night (doctors usually get worried if it’s less than 95%).

I am not going to say how bad that is because I’m not up to date on what is “bad” or “really scary.”  But I do know that 2 years ago, during my last battery of tests, I was at 11 apneas and 25 seconds, with a blood/ox of 75%.  My very first test, in 1997, I had 0 apneas and a blood/ox low of 80%. 

As I said, I am not saying how bad of a trend this is, but I do know that I’m 30, and that many don’t experience the effects of apnea until they are significantly older.  So I’m kind of “starting” young on this one.  Young by most any standards (I’m 30 now, but when I was diagnosed I was 18).

I have always been torn about how significant to make my OSA sound. (more…)

compound sleepiness

A compound growth problem is an exponential one. Instead of things just doubling or going up by, say, 5% over time, where if you mapped it out you’d get a nice straight line that just goes up and up, exponential growth curves upward at a steeper and steeper rate. So instead of it growing at 2x (2, 4, 8, 16, 32), it grows at x^2 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64).

Right now, I’m dealing with the usual apnea baseline. I keep my CPAP mask on for maybe 2 hours a night (though I have managed 4 hours 3 out of the last 7 nights, which isn’t bad). Throw in allergies, and I have congestion problems during the night, which makes it even harder to breath in general.

Then, during the day, allergies make me fuzzy, which adds to my existing sleepiness that I have everyday.

So my sleepiness curve is compound.

And it really, really stinks.

It’s amazing how something as “simple” as sleep deprivation, little by little, day after day, year after year (and decade upon decade now) just wears a person down.