I don’t know how you are but sometimes the obvious is not at all obvious to me. I use a CPAP machine faithfully and have for several years. Honestly, I do not sleep well at all without it. With that said, I never thought about what I would do if I didn’t have it available or if I lost it.
Recently I had a small stroke. My main concern was taking two baby aspirin and getting to the emergency room. I did grab my phone and charger (like any wise person would) and my insurance card but that was all. There was a flurry of activity in the ER; explaining my symptoms, inserting an IV, going for a CT scan and talking with a neurologist about taking the TPA clot busting shot. Before I knew it, they were transporting me by air ambulance to another hospital. There I had another CT scan, was taken to ICU and was pretty much out of it. Thoughts and words were there—just very slow.
My family got there only to be told that I needed silence and rest. Before they left they asked what I needed for the next day and I told them nothing yet. Here’s where the first obvious need wasn’t obvious to me. I didn’t have my CPAP. My family knows I need and rely on that machine but they didn’t think about it either. In fact, I didn’t think about it until almost midnight when it hit me that another reason why I was so restless and uncomfortable (besides nurses coming in to poke and prod) was that I wasn’t using my CPAP. In fact, my lovely CPAP was almost two hours away!
Fortunately, the hospital was able to get one for me to use. Unfortunately, it wasn’t MY machine or MY mask. It didn’t fit well and the humidifier was set too high. It made noises mine didn’t. The hose was too long and got tangled in my IV lines. Plus, I knew it would be one more expensive expense.
Even more recently, we took some time off to regroup and restore by taking a trip with our camper. I made sure to take my CPAP along and all was going great until a storm hit and we had to evacuate the camper. Again, I grabbed my phone and charger. Silly me. Once we were safe, I remembered my poor machine left behind in the camper, sure it would be blown away to Oz. It wasn’t and all was well except again the obvious was not obvious to me. Here are the obvious things I intend to do for the future:
- Write down the kind of mask I use and the machine information. Keep one copy in my purse (next to my insurance card) and give one to my husband. This is in case they are stolen, lost or destroyed.
- Make sure my family knows that the main thing I need (if ever in a situation like the hospital again) is my machine and mask. I found out that the hospital charges less for toothpaste, toothbrush and funny underwear than for CPAP machine use.
- Think about investing in a necklace or bracelet that lets emergency people know I use CPAP. It may never happen but there could be a time when there is no one (including myself) that can tell anyone that I need CPAP.
- For everyone, remember just how important using your CPAP is for your overall health. This is even more important if you find yourself in the hospital with other health issues. I’m sure other have good, obvious suggestions for situations like these and others. Share them please, so we can all learn!
** This post was originally published on https://myapnea.org/blog/obviously-not