Saturday, 12 August 2017

Cpap Therapy was killing me

It is my hope that by sharing my story, others may be helped that are going through a similar experience, and maybe they can find some answers. I hope no one else has had to go through anything like this, though.

Here is the experience I had:

I went for my initial sleep over study in which I was hooked up to many things to monitor how I function while I slept. Not once, at any point during this first sleep study was I ever placed on a Cpap device. Within a week or two, I was given an appointment to see the doctor who was skyping in from another city. He informed me that I have severe sleep apnea and stop breathing 36 times an hour. The problem was I was not breathing about one out of every two minutes. This means any time I sleep I was going half the time without breathing, which is quite scary and explains so many of the health issues I've been having over the years. He gave me a prescription to get a Cpap machine with heated hose and a pressure of 12.

I took this prescription to Medigas, a Cpap supplier and they set the machine up, which is locked, so that I cannot change the settings they have placed on it, only they are able to. I can only change the level of heat of the hose and the humidity level of the machine. Having never had this therapy before, I assumed everyone knew what they were doing, as surely they had been doing this for years. I was given a constant pressure of 12 on the machine.

The very first night of using the machine, I woke up an hour or two later, completely dried out and having difficultly breathing. I turned the machine off and got up and got a drink of water to replenish my throat and mouth with moisture. I returned to my room and changed the settings by placing the machine on full humidity, rather than on half where it had been set at Medigas. Okay, no problem, it was a little jarring at first to wake up like that, but hopefully the problem was fixed. I went back to sleep and this fixed the issue.

The next problem I encountered was my stomach filling with air. I would wake up in the middle of the night because my body had been trying to burp out the air from my stomach but wasn't able to against the air pressure. I had to consciously make an effort to expel that air, as my body couldn't do it on it's own while I slept. I looked online for help and discovered this was a common problem and all I needed to do was create a wedge shape with my pillows to elevate my upper body, so this wouldn't happen anymore. It worked. Okay, great, problem solved, everything should be good now, I thought.

I had noticed some swelling of my eye lids when I woke in the morning, as well, but it was getting worse every passing day, until one morning my eyelids were swollen shut. I went to the Medigas office to explain this and find out what to do, but the person I spoke with looked at me like I was crazy. I told them that at first I thought the mask was leaking air, so I was continually tightening the straps to prevent that, but it wasn't the mask. It was the two valves on the hose joint itself that were blowing air at an angle that was directly hitting my eyes. They did not believe me and suggested I was sleeping with my hands in my face and causing this myself. I told them that I do not sleep like that, but they gave no help. It got to the point that I could not sleep due to the pain of the air blowing on my eyes, because of the swelling every night, my poor eyelids and surrounding tissue was over sensitive. I had to stop using the machine, because the pain was too great. I stopped for about three days, and since, this whole time on the Cpap therapy I hadn't really slept well, it seems my brain wasn't functioning at my normal level either. After three days of sleeping without the machine, I was functioning enough to come up with a solution on my own and that was to make an eye mask to cover my eyes while I slept. I couldn't understand, why I hadn't been able to come up with that simple solution earlier, as I am usually pretty good at resolving things normally. Anyway, the mask worked, and I could use the machine again.

Hopefully, the issues had been worked out and now I could finally get the proper rest I need to start feeling better on this therapy. You are supposed to start feeling better once you start using the Cpap machine. It is supposed to make you better. It might take a while if you have severe sleep apnea, I was aware of that because of what I had read online. However, I was feeling worse overtime, not the same and certainly not better. I tried to find help online and turned to a couple of forums to see if others were feeling worse after they started the therapy. I couldn't be the only one with these issues, could I? Anytime anyone wrote on these forums that they were feeling worse after starting the therapy, they were attacked by the other members. They were literally told to seek psychiatric help in some cases as it was impossible the machine was making them feel worse, it was obviously that they had mental issues. I was too afraid to post my issues on there for fear of being attacked like that.

I suffer from Fibromyalgia and all of my symptoms were increasingly getting worse the longer I used the machine. My entire body was screaming in pain. My fatigue was so great I was barely functioning during the day. I would suddenly and unexpectedly just fall asleep at different times during the day. I was having more trouble concentrating. I was having difficulty keeping track of time. I got a headache that never went away after weeks. The longer I was using the machine and I used it every night once I got the eye mask, and for the entire night and every time I took a nap, as I had been instructed, the worse I was getting. I was following orders, so why was I getting worse with every passing day? I luckily have helpers that come once a week to assist me with some of my different issues. They were getting more and more concerned with each passing week as they were witnessing my decline in health. It eventually got to the point that I could not finish a sentence as my mind would wander and I wouldn't know what we were talking about anymore. My mind would go completely blank. I would get help to get groceries and I would get lost in the store and couldn't remember where things were anymore. At this point, my careworkers asked me to stop using the machine. Every time I saw them they would beg me to stop using the machine. I kept saying that from what I read online, it was going to take time to adjust to using it, and it would get better after time. They kept insisting that I was worse and that I needed to stop using it. You see the problem was that I was not functioning at such a bad level I no longer knew what I was doing. I had had a headache for 6 weeks solid now.

I had been scheduled to go for another sleep over study about three months into my therapy. I went and wrote down all the issues I was having. Surely, if something was wrong with my therapy they would pick up on it at this study. This time they had me on a Cpap machine and tested out what level of pressure I needed. This was the first time this had been done. Three months into my therapy, they finally tested me to see what pressure I actually needed. I was sent home the next morning and told it could take a few weeks to get the results. I kept using my machine at home with the pressure still set at 12.

Christmas was coming and my headache never went away. I now had that headache for 8 weeks and had not heard from the sleep study, yet. My careworkers insisted I stop using the machine as they finally were able to convince me that I was far worse using the machine than I had ever been without using it. I stopped. That probably saved my life and I am thankful they were able to get through the fog of my mind and get me to stop.

Two months after my second sleep study, I got another appointment with the clinic. This means I would have been on the therapy for five months, if I hadn't stopped using the machine. At this appointment I was told by the local doctor on hand, that my pressure was to be lowered to 10. That after finally being tested on the machine, it turned out I didn't need to have the high pressure of 12 that I had been initially prescribed. By this time, I had stopped using the machine for over a month, although I would occasionally keep trying to use the therapy, but it would always result in me feeling worse. One of my careworkers attended the appointment with me, so she could verify what I had been going through when the machine was set at a constant pressure of 12. We explained to the doctor that I had stopped using the machine due to all the health issues I was having. He seemed very concerned and set me up with an appointment with the original doctor from the other city. I would not be given my new prescription until I met with him again. That appointment was set up for the following week.

My careworker came with me again, to support me and my claims of how bad I had gotten using the therapy. The doctor was furious with us and accused us of various things and told me all my issues were due to mental illness, not from using the Cpap machine. I'm not kidding, my careworker witnessed this. He told me to stop using the machine for two months and see if I felt better, which he doubted would be the case. He abruptly ended the call and did not issue my new prescription. I had to beg the staff on hand to please get it for me. As I explained to the assistant at the clinic all my issues, she said it sounded like a I had a faulty Cpap machine. I was a little shell shocked for being treated that way, as it was the local doctor that had set up the appointment, not me, so I had no idea why the this doctor behaved that way. My careworker and I left that appointment a little dazed and confused as to what had just transpired.

So, I stopped using the machine and wow, did I ever feel so much better. I was able to think clearly again and start to function at my normal daily level again. Everyone around me was so happy that I wasn't using the machine anymore and I started to become my old self again. There really was that much of a difference in my ability to function.

I went back to Medigas after the two months of not using the machine at all, to get my new prescription placed on my machine, as this is something I could not do on my own because it was locked. They were upset that it had taken me so long to get the machine adjusted, as the prescription had been faxed to them two months earlier. I explained to them that the doctor from the other city, had told me to stop using the machine for two months. They were shocked he had advised that. They admitted they had been having issues with this doctor with other people, as well. The pressure was lowered from 12 to 10. I explained some of the issues I had been having and they were concerned that I had not come to them sooner, as they could have helped me. The problem was that I was not functioning at all, so it never even occured to me to ask them for help, and since I had been there earlier with my eye issue and treated like I was making it all up, I wasn't in any hurry to be treated that way again. Mind you it was a different person that I dealt with for my swelling eyes. Not only did they lower my pressure, but they also adjusted the machine to ease off the pressure so that I could exhale. This was not done the first time I was given the machine and I did not even know this was something that could be done. Why this wasn't done automatically, especially for a first time Cpap user, I will never know. I told Medigas that the sleep clinic said I had a faulty machine and they tested it and said it was fine.

Since having my machine pressure lowered, I went online again and tried to find out what had been the cause of all my issues. If the machine wasn't faulty, then what was it? I found the answer. The problem was the pressure was set too high. With the pressure being too high it was forcing air into my body, that my body was trying to fight. Not only that, but because the pressure was constant and not set to ease off, so that I could exhale, my body was fighting to exhale against the pressure that was too high in the first place. All this added up to my blood pressure sky rocketing. However, I was not aware of any of this, until after the situation was fixed. It was the extreme high blood pressure that was causing the headache, the pain, the fatigue, the lack of ability to function properly. It was killing me and I had no idea at the time. If I had died, no one would have suspected the Cpap therapy as being the culprit, they would have just assumed it was me and my lifestyle.

So, to sum things up. The doctor just took a guess at what pressure I would need the first time, without testing to find out what the actual setting should have been. He would have killed me, if I had not listened to my careworkers and stopped using it. The added problem of not having the machine set, so that I could exhale made things even worse. If you have experienced any of these issues, you are not crazy as others would like you to think. Find out if your pressure is set correctly for you. And be very wary of any doctor that gives you a prescription without testing you on a machine first to find out what setting you actually need. Also, find out if your machine can be set to ease off, so you can exhale properly and not have to fight to get the air out of your body.

Well, now that my pressure is at 10,  and eases off so I can exhale, I am actually getting better and feeling like I have more energy. I still have days that I feel bad, but overall I am seeing an improvement. Every time I wake up with a headache, I panic that the therapy is killing me again. I have stopped using the machine to see if I feel better without it, since the lowered pressure, but I felt much worse, so it's good to know the therapy is now working as it should have in the first place.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Article on What to Wear with Black Leggings

This recent post on fashion has some great tips for the upcoming fall season if you are looking for ideas of what to wear with your black leggings...

Thanks for checking it out!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Repotting Plants (Indoor Gardening)

I have always found Spring to be the best time of year to transfer your plants into larger pots, as they will be starting into their growth seasons now. Most indoor plants grow year round, but they do seem to slow down in the winter months. As the sun is getting warmer and the days are getting longer, the plants will grow their most in the Spring and Summer months. I think April is the month to do repotting, as this growth season will just be starting and the roots will be expanding. I wouldn't recommend doing this in the winter, as your plant may not adjust to the larger pot well.

Clear an area on your table or counter or wherever you plan to do this. You can cover up the area with newspaper or a plastic sheet if you want to protect the surface. Have at hand some potting soil, water, an assortment of plant pots, pot holders (that hold the excess water) and a spoon or small hoe/trowel for digging. These are the basics for the task at hand.

Once you have all your tools together bring over the plants you want to repot. I have an Avocado tree that needs a larger pot and some cuttings that I have put in water to grow roots that are more than ready to be placed in a pot.

I started with the Avocado. This particular plant is a little less than a year old and is very hearty. I planted the nut (seed) and it didn't seem to grow at all. About a month later, I planted a second nut and they both sprouted at about the same time. I was surprised the first one took twice as long to sprout, but it grew thicker and taller than the other one. Back to the job at hand, you want to loosen your soil in the current pot that your plant resides. Take your trowel or spoon and dig around the edge of the pot.

Dig all the way around and as deep as you can, to completely loosen the dirt from sticking to the pot. I would not recommend digging just the plant out of the dirt it is in to replant it. Keep it in it's original dirt to cushion the plant and it's roots. This helps to prevent the plant from going into shock over the change, which can cause the plant to become sick and maybe even die. You might be lucky and it will survive, but this way seems gentler to me.

At this point, the new pot that you are planning to place your plant into should be partially filled with dirt. Fill it up to a height that would be good for the bottom of your plant to rest on, to fit into the new pot nicely.

Gently pull your plant and it's dirt out of the pot. Be careful not to yank the plant too harshly, you don't want to damage it. It should give way nicely if you have loosened it well. If you have trouble getting it out, dig around it some more and try going a bit deeper to loosen that soil.

So here is the plant and all the dirt now removed from the smaller pot. You can see that the roots have grown down and around the bottom of the old pot. This indicates that it is definitely time to repot this plant. The new pot is just underneath with a layer of soil to put the plant on. I also have some of the leaves that have fallen off the plant in there to compost and help nourish the roots. Be careful and check that this is a good idea for your particular type of plant, as some plants do better with the dead leaves taken away and thrown out or composted separately. Some plants can also be harmful and poisonous to pets and children, as they may chew on them, so choose your plants wisely.

Place your plant into it's new home and keep it as level as possible, so there isn't too much stress on the plant. It has to get used to it's new, larger pot, so try to keep any change as minimal as possible. You don't want it to have to adapt to too many changes at once.

Now take your potting soil and fill in the pot with enough dirt to hold the plant in steady. I have left the nut exposed a little bit at the top of the soil, as this is still a young tree and I want it to grow easily. I want to wait until it has a good trunk, before I cover over the nut with soil completely.

It is important to water your plant at this point. It may not be your regular watering day and it may not have been that long since you watered it. However, it is a good idea to water it after the transfer to help it adapt to the change. Be careful not to over water it, you want to sort of dampen the new soil your plant is exposed to. That kind of an idea. Get rid of any excess water that ends up in the pot holder. You can now move your plant back to it's normal location or if you are growing a tree, like this, you may need to find a new spot to keep your plant as it gets taller and larger.

Avocados are great trees to grow indoors for those of us in northern climates and can't get them to grow outside. I had good success with growing these plants when I lived in Southern Ontario, but I struggle with them here. The extremely cold winters combined with electric heat in my apartment, causes trouble. The electric heat is the worst, as it dries everything out. I know it's getting bad when I go to pet my cats and I get a shock from them. Poor things. It makes it difficult to regulate the amount of water to give my plants. They can get really dry between watering, but watering them too often can cause problems, too. I thought this tree was a goner when it began to turn brown at the top and shrivel up. But I kept watering it and hoping it would survive and low and behold it started to grow branches. I am so happy it looks like it will make it.

Now I just hope it will make through next winter. I'm not sure if the other avocado is going to make it all though. :-(

Well this is turning into a long post, so I will continue tomorrow with planting the cuttings. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Spring Feeding

Some people feed the birds in the winter and then stop once spring arrives, but this is an important time to continue to feed them. At the beginning of spring, there hasn't been any growth of plants yet, and it's too cold for the bugs. Well, at least up here in the Northern Hemisphere anyway. It is also the time of breeding, so food is vitally important for them.

So, to help our feathered friends get the nourishment they need, try sopping up any left over grease in your pots and pans with bread crusts. The birds really like this and it helps them after a long winter of reduced calories. If you tend to throw out the crust ends of your bread, please consider feeding them to the birds instead. This will help to slightly reduce the garbage you produce, the food won't go to waste and you'll feel good helping out the birds. After all, giving is a true source of happiness.

Soak up all the grease with the bread crusts and rip the bread up into smaller "bite" sized pieces to make it easier for the birds to grab. I ripped it up before I rubbed it in the grease. This is also a great way to get rid of the left over grease in your pots and pans, making it much easier for clean up later. Once all your bread bits are ready, simply take them outside and scatter them around on the ground in a safe location. You may wish to do this near a window, so you can watch the birds and maybe squirrels enjoying your offerings.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Article on Hairstyles for Strapless Dresses

Here is the latest article that Metromela has published that I have written:

Hairstyles for Strapless Dresses: Metromela

I hope you enjoy the article and that it is helpful to you. 

(Once again I am having issues with being given credit for writing the article, but hopefully that will be fixed soon.) 

**Note: The authorship has been corrected as of April 11, 2015. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress in 5 Minutes

Of course, with any of these you can do them for longer than 5 minutes if you wish. These are simple things that you can do and are easy to remember. Try doing at least one of them a day to help reduce your overall stress level.

1. Listen to Birds Singing

For many of us living in cities, we often miss hearing our flighty friends singing. Too much traffic noise or living in apartments and working in offices with closed windows keeps us from hearing them. Listening to music or watching t.v. distracts us. People that are more in touch with nature, that live in the country or forest areas can tell you that birds singing means all is good. Birds tend to go quiet when danger is around and this alerts the animals and humans in the area that something is up. So, when we hear birds singing it acts to soothe us and keep us calm because it lets us know there is no immediate danger. Singing birds means that the birds are happy, so we can relax. Try listening to just 5 minutes of bird singing every day to reduce your stress level.

Try this link on Youtube or find another one that you like:  Sound of Nature - Bird Songs

2. Meditate

All you need to do is just 5 minutes of meditation a day to lower your level of stress. Surely, you can find 5 minutes somewhere in your busy day to meditate. Some of the other benefits of meditating daily are that it can lower your blood pressure, increase your concentration, decrease your pain and increase your immune functioning. For more information check out this page: 10 Science Based Reasons to Meditate.

Don't worry, you don't need to contort your body into a weird posture to do this. Simply sit in a chair with your back as straight as possible without being uncomfortable and your feet flat on the floor or you can even do it lying down if sitting is difficult. Close your eyes and breathe. (If you want to increase your flow of energy while sitting, you may wish to place your left hand in your lap palm upwards, and your right hand on top of your left hand palm upwards as well and then gently touch your thumbs together and point your thumbs toward your belly button.)

There are two ways to do Breathing Meditation:

1. Feel the air enter and leave your nostrils or if your nose is stuffed feel the air pass your upper lip. Just concentrate on the feeling of the air as it enters your body. This can be a cooling sensation or a very subtle tickling sensation. Don't follow the air on it's journey, but keep your focus on the feeling that arises on your upper lip or the rim of your nostrils as you breathe. Now notice the feeling of the air as it leaves your body. This can be a similar tickling sensation as breathing in, but in the reverse direction or it can be a warm sensation. That's it. Just breath normally, you do not need to take big, long breaths. Spend at least 5 minutes concentrating on the feeling the air creates at the rim of your nostrils or upper lip as you breath in and out, in and out.

2. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your stomach as you breath. If your shoulders are raising and lowering, this indicates that you are breathing shallowly, which is usually created by stress. This shallow breathing is not as healthy for you as the deeper stomach breathing, so try your best to breath deeper while meditating. You don't have to take long, slow breaths, just breath normally, but try to feel the air expand your stomach when you breath in. And then notice how your stomach returns to normal when you breath back out. Again, that is all you have to do, just breath in and pay attention to your stomach pushing out and release the air and feel your stomach return. You don't need to follow the breath, just focus your attention on your stomach moving each time you breathe in and out. Do this for at least 5 minutes.

You can do either one of these simple meditations and switch them up from time to time if you want to.

3. Healing Breathing Technique

You may be familiar with the phrase "in with the good air and out with the bad". This follows along that path. The beauty of this stress buster is that you can do it anytime, any where and no one will even know you are doing it. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Just breath normally to start for the first few breaths. Then imagine that every time you inhale you are breathing in healing white light energy. You bring this healing, white, light energy breath down to your heart and from there it spreads throughout your entire body. You can imagine this white light healing any illnesses you have and reducing your pain, or just imagine it giving you beautiful healing energy. Do this for a few breaths and let yourself feel more relaxed and energized as you do this.

Now imagine that every time you exhale you breathe out all your pain, illnesses and suffering in the form of thick, black, smoke. Once this smoke leaves your body it instantly disappears. Try this for a few breaths. Allow yourself to release these physical, mental or emotional problems. Give yourself permission to reduce them and let them leave your body entirely. Once you have tried these out, combine the two for each breath. For every breath you take, inhale healing, white, light energy and exhale suffering, thick, black, smoke. Breathe in healing and breathe out suffering.

Once you get the hang of it, you can practice this any time, even standing in the line at the grocery store or bank. It is easy to learn and easy to do with very little practice you can master this technique that uses visualization with breathing.

I hope you find at least one of these methods for reducing stress helpful. Give them all a try and find your favourite one or use all three of them. Let me know if any of these work for you and which one you prefer in the comments below. Thanks.