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Joined Dec 2014
Joined Dec 2014

It is expensive, and it is frustrating, and until we have custom 3-D printed masks, it is something many of us have had to just deal with. You are not alone in it.

I recently read someone was selling some sort of salve for leaks and to help reduce sores. Since I think the mask interfaces are silicon and I am not a chemist, I imagine some ingredients would help degrade that material. Having said that, I wonder about a mix of beeswax and coconut oil -- a nice mix of tack and slide...

Also -- machines HAVE alarms in them that can be activated or not -- in my experience, many DMEs forget to ask you if you want it on or off, and default setting seems to be "off." This may not be true for some of the less-expensive models, but every respironics or ResMed machine I have had did have the alert.

Leaks: I recently learned that machines tolerate a certain range of air leaks and compensate for them in their operating algorithms (which are different at each company). So while the air feels like the wind is all going in your eyes (not good!) or just not in your trachea, it may still be within acceptable limits.
I'd mention it to the doc, but mostly be concerned about keeping it out of my eyes.

Also, as I mentioned elsewhere, some people do well with "mask liners," which you can make yourself or buy online. I tried once but it didn't help me. These liners supposedly are helpful with maintaining seals and reducing sore spots.

Persist. Think of a cloud of your "apnea colleagues" hovering with you on the nights you want to chuck it out the window... We're with you!

Bhek, I envy your first post-PAP morning feeling better! It took me many months to begin to notice improvement in cognitive function and energy...at first I could barely make it to noon...then it was one o'clock...and so on.

Pressure sores -- often from sub-optimal strap fitting. Try slightly loosening -- and I mean slightly -- whichever strap is tightening that part of the mask. Be sure you have read the instructions: for example, the ResMed Quattro FX full face mask requires straps somewhat looser than others because of the particular engineering of that fit. I found it hugely helpful as the mask seals from the air pressure itself a great deal. Some people also benefit from the mask "liners" that one could make or else purchase online from somewhere like cpap.com (I always had good customer service there).

Hose management: I bought a bed with a curved headboard and sling the hose over that, so the hose travels smoothly along with my tossing about. Some have installed those swinging-arm plant-hangar thingies and rigged a smooth loop on it through which to pass the hose. That also moves with you when sleeping, but I figured I'd whack my head on it at some point, thus the headboard (concave, not convex curve).

I am utterly convinced that untreated sleep disorders are ONE cause of dementia -- anything is better than that. So I used to look like a fighter pilot and sound like Darth Vader with my full face mask -- at least I could think again. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes want to nuke the thing!