A Medical Equipment Upgrade

As many longtime readers of this blog will already know, I use a CPAP machine when I sleep. It’s a very nice, quiet machine that we can’t even hear over the fan that we have blowing in the bedroom at night. The mask is a version called a nasal pillow mask. The plastic and silicone part of the mask goes under my nose to create a seal against my nostrils, the hose comes out from the center of the mask, and the wings stretch up along my cheekbones to connect with a foam-back fabric and neoprene series of straps, one going across the top of my head, and one – the neoprene part – going across the lower back of my head, just above my neck. This piece of headgear is attached to the wings of the mask using something of a hook-and-loop attachment, like Velcro, only there’s not much of a loop system there. The hooks simply connect to the fabric and stay there. Unfortunately, this means that over time the fabric deteriorates to the point that the hooks don’t want to stay fastened to the fabric without some considerable effort to secure the connection between the two.

Insurance will cover a new headgear every six months, but it seems that the fabric is going to be lucky to make it that far. Last night, at some point in the evening, one of the connections came loose, which in turn broke the seal of the mask against my nostrils, resulting in the CPAP machine blowing air useless across my nose and face. I don’t know how long it was like that, but I’m gathering that it was a fairly long time. I slept off and on – mostly on – until nearly 2 pm today. That tells me that I didn’t sleep well last night and that the mask was off for the majority of the time that I was sleeping.

There’s a new mask called the Dreamwear (pictured above) that’s now available where the wings of the mask themselves act as part of the hose system, which feeds down from the hose attachment at the top of the head into soft silicone chambers that feed the nasal pillows. There’s a minimal strap holding the contraption in place and it looks to be a significant improvement over the mask I currently use.

Fortunately, I can switch masks later this month, I believe, and I’m looking forward to using the new mask, especially since it appears that failures of the headgear won’t be as likely with this mask.

I’m always nervous using a new mask that I’ve never tried before, but I hope that my experience with this new mask will be beneficial. It’ll take some getting used to having the hose at the top of my head instead of on my face, but I’m sure that won’t take long to adjust to.

My biggest worry is that I’m remembering my timeline correctly. I’m not sure now much longer my current headgear is going to hold up, and I really need my CPAP machine to sleep well. If I’m right, it won’t be many more days before I can order the new mask, and I can put this problem – excuse the pun – to bed.

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