Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sleeping In Limbo

I've now been off sleep meds for 14 weeks, but my sleep habits haven't improved noticeably in the interim, despite the fact that I do feel I've become more accustomed to the various physical discomforts or environmental issues that I've discussed in previous posts. In other words, I don't think the bulk of the problem lies in my sleep environment, nor do I believe it's primarily a psychological issue, as I don't have any particularly crushing psychological concerns or burdens at present. All of which leaves me wondering if my "VPAP Adapt SV" breathing machine really is fully remedying my problems with complex sleep apnea.

Adding weight to my suspicions is the fact that the results of my last sleep study indicated that I might do better with increased minimum/maximum pressure settings on my machine. However, when I tried to enter those settings, I quickly discovered that the unit I have is an older model that won't go above the levels at which it was originally set when I got it in February. (In contrast, the machine I used at the lab for the sleep study was a newer "Enhanced" model that provides higher pressure levels.) That obviously could be a major problem, given that my insurance company and I have already made payments for ten or eleven months on the thing: (1) the medical-supply company wouldn't simply hand me a new "Enhanced" unit out of inventory; (2) my insurance company won't start all over, paying for a new machine from scratch; and (3) the manufacturer, Resmed, might not accept a trade-in, with or without additional consideration.

I'm informed, however, that the doctor's office and the medical-supply company are negotiating with Resmed to try to get it to trade out my machine for an "Enhanced" unit. They seem pretty optimistic that it will happen, although I don't yet know if any strings will be attached. I can't say for certain that the "Enhanced" model will solve my residual night-time breathing problems, but at this point it looks like my only chance to start sleeping all night without resuming regular use of hypnotic medications; thus, right now I'm in wait-and-see mode. However, something has to happen soon, because I'm actually feeling more run-down and miserable now than when I was taking combinations of prescription and OTC sleep meds every night!