Just Breathe; When Life Hands You Lemons…

This has been a stressful few days. To a lot of people it won’t seem like much, but for me, let’s just say I’m doing a lot of deep breathing and praying. So here is how it goes.

Saturday

Saturday I was doing something with my computer and pop! my monitor went out. So joy of joys, I go shopping for a new monitor on Amazon. No big deal, just two days. MY COMPUTER IS MY LIFE!! Not entirely true, but I do use it for almost everything. It is my blog, my TV, my entertainment, my art courses. But it wasn’t bad, I did some reading, I did some painting, I didn’t feel very good anyway so I spent a lot of time in bed.

Sunday

Not so bad, actually got a lot done. I felt better (finally), I did housework, it was going to be okay.

Monday

Finally my monitor gets here! Yea! Not so much. I get it, I put it together with no instructions (who doesn’t send instructions?). Then I go to hook it to the computer. It fights with me first about the video settings. It came set to 75hz x 60hz and it wants it to be 19 something x 1080 maybe, and not hz. I hit buttons left and right. Buttons that were hidden from view I might add, and don’t really look like buttons. 30 minutes later? I finally have it. But then it was just a blank screen and a cursor for the mouse.

So I call HP and wait for another 30 minutes, okay maybe 20. And it says let us email you a link to our assistant and I think okay fine, “I’ll try that, but I am not hanging up and losing my place in line!” As soon as they send the link, click, they hang up on me. Big SIGH. So I use the assistant and I go through a very short list of things to try (all having to do with the computer NOT the monitor) and it says do you want to talk to someone? YES! Please!! I look, there is a number and it is a different one from what I had called before, Yea! Maybe this one will go faster. I call it and it is a line for business customers. Another SIGH. So finally I am completely fed up, I’ve put in about an hour and a half. I think I will send it back and try a different one. I start to go through the process of returning on my tablet and it asks me “do you want someone to call you?” I think, okay, I really want back on my computer so why not. I say yes and almost immediately the phone rings. I’m like yea! Then I find out it is a Prime technician not somebody from HP and I think, here’s hoping. So I am on the phone with him for another 30 minutes and we get nowhere except wondering if it was the computer and not the monitor, more really good news. I give up and am going to send it back. The guy sends me a return code and I hang up.

So then starts the repacking mess. I hate repacking things. So I pull out the various pieces of packing materials and lo and behold! Instructions! I decide to go ahead and look at them to see if there is anything else I can see that I did wrong. Right there in pink, black and white I see it. I should only be using one cord. Either the HDMI cord they sent, or the VGA cord I already had. Out of habit I had plugged in my old cord, I didn’t know what their cord was for so I plugged it in too. WRONG. I take out one cord and POOF! I have video. So all is well right? Nope.

Now supposedly my monitor has a built in speaker but looking at it I wasn’t seeing it. There was just no place for the sound to come out. So first thing I go to a video, play it and just as I had suspected there was no sound. So I start troubleshooting that. I went to several sites about it, including HP who supposedly had a solution. I tried to go through all the steps, but they were asking me to go through steps that weren’t possible. Push buttons that weren’t there. Click on things that never came up. Another 30 minutes goes by before I decide to plug in my old speaker even though it won’t go on my monitor like it did the old one. All in all I spent around 3 to 3 1/2 hours on the monitor, maybe all the 30 minutes were really 45, sigh. What ever happened to “plug and play?”

Tuesday (and early Wednesday morning)

So finally a day of enjoyment. I was going to a friends house, and did go, and going to have a wonderful day and it was! 5 1/2 hours of fun. Even if we had to stay in the house. I got a few things done while I was there that would have been more stressful for me if I had done them at home. Just being with my best friend sends stress sailing. She is the most positive person in the world. But she never belittles any bad feeling you might have. She just buoys you up. So we have a lovely time. I fix a few electronic things for them, much less trouble than fixing my problems. We watch a movie, do some letter writing, chit chat, eat lunch. Great day. Then I head home. On the way I see my nail salon and think, “Maybe they have room for me today” I pull in, walk in, and they are packed, but yes one girl is almost done and I can get my pedicure and my color change on my fingers. Ah, bliss. Then I leave there and have some ice cream. This day just couldn’t get any better. But I get home and lo and behold! My “mask” for my CPAP is here and that is good news too.

Now it’s Tuesday night and I get to try my new “mask.” I have been waiting for this for a month. For years doctors have wanted me on CPAP but I could never tolerate the masks. I would start out wearing them for 3 or so hours and then my ability to keep it on would get less and less, instead of more and more. But now, I’m getting so little oxygen to my brain at night that I am seeing real symptoms that could be a real problem. So more positivity. I get ready for bed, get it on, and fade in and out for a few hours. It’s loud, but I can’t find a leak anywhere. So I figure that is just the way it is. But then I hit some buttons and it gets quiet but still seems to be going and I think, “okay I’ve got it going right now.” I sleep for a while with no problem until I just wake up raring to go at 430a. I look at the machine and it says I had bad air leakage. So all that noisiness was leakage after all. Okay, no problem, we’ll try again tomorrow night.

Since I was wide awake I decide I’ll get up for a bit. Then I hear it. That awful sound of my dog chewing on something he isn’t supposed to have. The connector to the “mask.” NO!!!!!!!!! So I get it away from him, chastise him, and go to see how much damage is done. Just the little piece he has is damaged but without it I can’t hook up to the nose things that go against my nostrils. So then I spend about a half hour trying to find where I can order just that, as waiting for the VA to provide it could be another month. Finally I find it and order it and will now spend another week waiting for it to arrive.

Now I am here venting. And breathing. And trying to remain calm. Tomorrow has to be better. I have acupuncture, then I am free to rest and relax all day. And I’m going to do just that.

This is my “mask” it doesn’t even go in my nose, just goes against my nostrils. Even though I can’t use it for a week now, at least I know I can keep it on for up to 7 hours. Maybe it will work.

Sleep Apnea and Mental Health

What One Has to Do with the Other

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Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing while you are sleeping. There are different things they look at when they test for sleep apnea. The three I know of are how many times you stop breathing, how long do you stop breathing and then what your pulse ox is at different periods of time while you are sleeping. When I was tested I stopped breathing 8 times in the night. That isn’t great, but it isn’t bad. My problem was my pulse ox. That is how much oxygen is saturating your blood. I drop down to 62%, which is bad, really bad.

When your blood doesn’t have oxygen, neither do your organs, including your brain. So everything suffers. And if you have mental health problems the fact that your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen means it can’t function properly to help you cope with your mental health problems.

Some of the really annoying things about sleep apnea are the headaches every morning, the inability to think straight, the fatigue. I mean there are lots more, but those are the ones that keep me completely befuddled everyday.

Treatment

Sadly there is only one treatment for sleep apnea and that is a CPAP machine. What it does is it goes on your mouth and or nose and when it senses you have stopped breathing it gently pushes air into your mouth and or nose and you start to breathe again. There are 3 masks that I know of, the mouth, nose and full face. I have tried them all and have not been able to keep them on.

The masks are great unless the seal between the mask and your face breaks, then you are in a wind tunnel. In my case that happens constantly. So I get no sleep at all. Well, I start out at 3 hours and then each night it gets worse. Eventually I can’t even keep the seal for the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep.

Now I am to be introduced to a new apparatus. I don’t really like to call it a mask, it doesn’t cover your face. It’s called the Bleep. It has two plugs that go in your nose. You are supposedly able to move, supposedly you don’t lose the seal, supposedly it is loads better. We shall see I guess. I know I really hope it works. A drop in blood oxygen affects every organ in your body. So my liver and kidneys that are overloaded with medicines are attacked even more so. My pancreas is affected, so my diabetes is affected. My lungs are affected so heaven forbid I should get Covid-19 at this point. My intestines are affected so my IBS-C is affected, I am also more likely to get a stroke…I think you get the idea.

My doctor has managed to scare me half to death now, and I was scared before she went on her rant that I had to make this work. So here is hoping. And if you have sleep apnea, please take it seriously. Truly, there is nothing it doesn’t affect.

My Sleep Apnea Struggle

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I have had doctors trying to get me on CPAP for ages. Lots of doctors, PCP, Rheumatologist, Neurologist, Psychiatrist, Physiatrist, Accupuncture/Internal Medicine! Too many. And many attempts have been made. I was put on a face mask, couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours. At the 3 hour mark the seal would be lost not to be regained again until the next night. Then the nose mask, same thing, though not necessarily 3 hours. Then a full face mask, that was worse.

This latest go round with the neurologist was different though. I have gotten to a point that I forget everything. I make an appointment and don’t remember I did it. I go to a room and I don’t know why I am there, now that isn’t so bad. I pick up a pen and I don’t know what I had intended to write. There are things I can’t remember for 5 seconds. No exaggerating. I am honestly thinking of getting a journal to make notes of what I have done and what I need to do throughout the day. And it is different in another way. I am tired, extremely tired. The gravity wells are almost constantly there. But I can’t always sleep. So I just muddle by hoping I don’t forget my own name.

So I believe them, I need to be on the CPAP. I remember when I was first tested they said that while I don’t stop breathing as often as many, my oxygen level drops so low that if I were in the hospital I would be put on a ventilator! So something has to give.

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Today I got a message back they do have a new option, it’s called the bleep. Funny name I thought. So I went online and looked it up. I am afraid to, but I almost hope with this thing. No straps or mask to get out of place and put me in a tornado, talk about a horrible way to wake up…especially without munchkins and a yellow brick road. So maybe, just maybe I can get this taken care of. Maybe if I can get some decent sleep things will really get better.

Oh please Jehovah, let things get better.