Brand new to CPAP (and this forum), and have just gotten the machine set up and myself ready for bed. But I'm not at all sure that I'm ready for bed with CPAP.
Ah, I remember that feeling all too well ... Sometimes still comes back 9 months into therapy. As others have said, though, attitude is part (but not all) of the process of making CPAP work for you. One thing I do on the bad nights is remember that I only have to worry about TONIGHT. I can deal with tomorrow night (and the night after tomorrow and the night after that ...) once it gets here. Focus on tonight and hope that tonight will be the charm.
What if it doesn't work? (What if it does work?)
That does seem to sum up all the trepedation of starting therapy doesn't it? Something to keep in mind: CPAP therapy is a process. While a few people see immediate improvement of their symptoms right from night 1, most people don't. For most new CPAPers the adjustment to therapy requires some real work and often some discomfort, which raises the "it doesn't seem to be working" fears and often magnifies them greatly. Fortunately most CPAPers start to see improvement terms of how they feel sometime in the first couple of months.
Some CPAPers, however, are unlucky and don't see any improvement for many, many months. Take me, for example: Severe insomnia set in almost immediately and the insomnia sucked out of me every thing the xPAP was trying to put into me. Add chronic migraines and vetigo were already getting worse just before xPAP and now need to be treated
and stir thoroughly to get even more serious problems with sleep deprivation while trying to adjust to CPAP. And cap it all off with a nice dose of can't tolerate the migraine med du jour
just to make stuff even more interesting. Almost 9 months into therapy, I can tell xPAP is doing something POSITIVE for my body on about half the days. And on the other half? Well I'm now up to feeling as well as I felt before starting therapy instead of feeling many times worse. But I've stuck with therapy anyway. Why? In all seriousness, I sometimes do ask myself that question. My usual answer is: There are too many things that untreated OSA can lead to for me to NOT give xPAP my very best shot AND at least now I am beginning to see some subtle signs that the CPAP is geniunely working for me.
As for the flip fear of What if it does work?
I think the root of this fear is the fear of acknowledging the OSA diagnosis is real, is valid, and that this condition is a life-long condition which requires daily therapy to properly mange it---in essense the fear of having to confront your own mortality. And it also brings up a primal, unwelcome, and negative image of being chained to the mask for the rest of your life. The only way I know of dealing with that is one night at a time
. And remembering there are lots of other less than pleasant things you do for your health on a daily basis. The idea is to adjust to CPAP well enough where it becomes a daily habit---one you don't need to think about all the time. I'm not there yet, but I think I am making some progress.
What if I screwed up all the humidifier connections and it winds up drowning me? (AFAIK, that isn't possible; but that doesn't stop me from being nervous about it.) What if I roll over in my sleep and break that shiny new $200 mask? (I sure hope that one's not really possible either.)
More charming newbie fears
I don't mean to tease you, because again, I've got plenty of strange fears of my own at night. These fears share something in common with my long standing fear concerning the crack in the ceiling in my bedroom that lies right above my head: I know that crack is a surface crack in the plaster. I know that it has not changed one iota since we bought the house (with the crack visible) almost 14 years ago. And yet, on a restless night, my unconscious mind will still concoct elaborate scenarios of that crack suddenly opening up and the entire house suddenly falling down and burying my husband and me in all the debris ...
Like I do when my fear of the crack raises its ugly head, the best thing to do with these fears is to first of all acknowlege that they are stuck there in your mind, but that they are coming from the primitive and irrational parts of your mind. And so remind yourself that the fears are irrational. And even allow yourself a bit of levity in acknowledging the cleverness or the stubborness of your unconscious and irrational mind to let go of the fear that you know is ridiculous: There's no way that anybody will drown from the condensation from the humidified air---anymore than you'd drown if you fell asleep face up outside and it started to rain. Any "rainout" from the humidified air condensing in the hose will wake you up the same way that rain falling on your face would wake you up if you fell asleep outside with your face up.
Breaking the mask or pulling the equipment off the night stand are pretty common fears among newbies I think. But many won't admit that they're worried about these things. But do keep in mind: The designers of this equipment designed the equipment to be used by people while they are asleep and NOT fully conscious. And they know that folks with OSA are often very restless sleepers who toss and turn a lot---particularly at the beginning. And all that tossing and turning does pull on the hoses and "crush" the masks and hoses beneath various body parts of folks weight well over 200 pounds at times. It's actually pretty sturdy equipment.
Pulling the equipment off the nightstand, however, is a somewhat rational fear depending on how you've got things set up. So make sure the CPAP is as far away from the front edge of the night table as possible. A hose management system where the hose is tethered to the wall or headboard above your head not only may make the hose easier to deal with, but it may also make it much harder to pull the CPAP off the night stand. As an added bonus, it will also make it harder to get tangled up in the hose and thus reduce the irrational fear of the hose somehow getting wrapped around your neck.
I've embarked upon plenty of new adventures in my time - just never any where the challenge and excitement were an integral part of the process of drifting dreamily off to sleep. But I can't stay awake forever just out of nervous trepidation, right? So I guess I'm off to medical-technology-assisted bye-bye dreamland - we'll see how it goes.
Keep your wry sense of humor intact. It will help you tremendously on your new adventure into hosehead land. And the best of luck!