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Emergency mask repair?

2 posts
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HoseHead +0 points · almost 6 years ago Original Poster

I've been on CPAP for about 2 years, 9 months. I use a Resperonics System One with a Resmed F20 full-face mask. Up until now, I've gotten the equipment from my doctor (not counting trial masks, that's 2 masks, 1 machine and a handful of filters) but now I have to get any more through a DME company. I've gotten so I can get about 6-8 hours of sleep (according to my FitBit) with 10-12 hours in bed with CPAP and waking up reasonably alert. I'm not real pleased with that but it's been a lot worse in the past. Over those 2+ years my compliance has been pretty good; less than 10 days missed in over 2 years, and 5 of those were during the initial mask-fitting trials. This includes bringing the CPAP machine to the hospital for unrelated surgery.

The first time I tried a nasal mask during a sleep study, I fell asleep in about 15 minutes, my efforts to breathe went WAY up, my oxygen went down, and one of the techs started putting a full-face mask on me. I might be able to handle a nasal mask awake, but apparently not asleep. Suddenly I could breathe, and I hyperventilated and passed out. The tech did something odd like putting a pillow over my face and pressing down, which helped get my CO2 levels under control (as opposed to killing me). In a few minutes I woke up. sleepy but OK. I really didn't remember much of this except what the tech told me afterwards. I have gotten used to convincing people I really want a full-face mask by closing my mouth, breathing deeply, and letting them listen to all the noises coming from my sinuses or whatever.

Things were going well, then the mask tore. It held no pressure at all. I'm not quite sure how that happened, but I was probably trying to adjust it. I had been using this one about 3 months. I contacted my doctor who said I had to go through this DME company. So I contacted them and ordered a replacement mask cushion, gave them my insurance info, etc. They let my order sit for 3 weeks because they forgot to ask me some questions intended to ensure that I DO NOT have a "spare mask". (without trying to call me). It is now 7 weeks and counting, and they haven't shipped anything yet. From the number of times they've lost parts of the order several times during the same phone conversation, I have little confidence I'm getting a mask this year.

I got about 3 weeks of use out of that mask with a very crude patch with plastic tape, glue, and smearing Vaseline on my face in an attempt to seal leaks. Anyone know a GOOD way to do this? It failed because the glue is too stiff and caused more tears. Does Vaseline ("petroleum jelly") damage the mask material? If not, it may have more use at stopping leaks with the cost of some cleaning.

I went back to the previous mask, which had been in use for over 2 years and leaked a lot. It turns out that the "arms" which hold the straps to the mask had been torn about 80% through. Crude attempts to patch that lasted about 2 weeks.

I now have no usable mask, and I've discovered that without CPAP, I can get about 4 hours of sleep by spending 16 hours in bed. I really shouldn't be allowed out of bed without more sleep. I think this qualifies as "addicted to CPAP". If they declare me cured and try to take away the machine, I'll be in a world of hurt.

The doctor won't write a prescription for another mask until I can convince him that the mask which may never arrive has worn out.

I'm leaving instructions to bury me in a CPAP mask, because it won't be long before I wake up.

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snuzyQ +0 points · almost 6 years ago Sleep Commentator

Hi HoseHead,

Dealing with the DME can be a real pain. Here's what worked for me. I found out where mine was located (Apria) locally. And then I made an unscheduled visit, explained my problem and that I needed a new mask and that being without a mask is an emergency for me. I also told them that I would call 911 if they didn't produce one for me right then. By golly, it worked! I walked out of there with a new mask. Hope this helps you.

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Sierra +0 points · almost 6 years ago Sleep Patron

I have attempted to fix my wife's Mirage FX mask which broke at the strap attachment clip. I first tried silicone as I thought that would be flexible and not break. However, it was not strong enough, and did break almost immediately. Also it takes a long time to set up. Then I tried Gorilla crazy glue, and it was relatively successful. She wore it for a while, and now keeps it as a spare.

You might want to consider buying some F20 parts yourself to keep as emergency spares and not tell them about it. While it seems in the US you need a prescription to get a full mask, you are able to buy parts without one. Some apparently just buy all the parts and put them together themselves to get a complete mask. There are many places to go, but here is a link to CPAP.com. The silicone mask cushion is $54, while the complete mask assembly without headgear, is $118. If you added the headgear it would be another $31, and you would have a complete mask. However it sounds like all you really need is the cushion...

AirFit F20 Assembly Kit

One more thought. The F20 comes in two versions. The AirFit version uses a silicone cushion. The same mask frame can be used with the memory foam cushion, and then I believe it is called the AirTouch. Some like the memory foam, and some do not. Many report it is not durable and easily tears. If you have the memory foam type, you may want to go with the silicone cushion for better durability.

The manufacturer recommends against using stuff like Vaseline on the mask, and claim it causes the cushion to deteriorate. I just keep mine clean. I have the F20 with silicone, but was not able to get it to stop leaking, so I am afraid I am not a good one to give advice on that aspect...

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wiredgeorge +0 points · almost 6 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

How is the mask leaking? I used a Simplus for a couple years and it leaked just a bit where air got in my eyes. I then started using mask pads which are tee shirt type material cut in the shape of the mask cushion and these kept air out of my eyes and reduced the noises from leaks.

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