Archives for posts with tag: Breathing

It has been almost a week since I started getting help breathing at night, and all the adjustments are SO WORTH IT!!

I no longer feel like I’m plodding through a thick, murky fog each day. I still get headaches, but my mind is starting to work again and my stamina is improving. My energy is returning, and I can actually process what people are saying to me (well, as much as I ever have anyway).

There’s a sign on my street that flashes the speed you’re going, and if there are no cars around me, it will clock my bike. I used to round the corner at 12-14mph. Over the past year or so, it’s been 6-8mph while feeling like I’m working just as hard – if not harder. Friday, on my way home from a Soiree concert, I got clocked at 8-10mph. Not where I used to be, but definitely an improvement.

I’ve also stopped falling asleep while sitting down to eat something in front of the television. My dog is not so happy about this. He is ecstatic, however, about my new charcoal grill. Today, I whipped up some food for the week:

organic chicken thighs from Trader Joe's

organic chicken thighs from Trader Joe’s

hamburgers from Omaha Steaks (thanks, mom!) and steaks from Trader Joe's

hamburgers from Omaha Steaks (thanks, mom!) and steaks from Trader Joe’s

potatoes speared on cast iron skewers

potatoes speared on cast iron skewers

Yes, Boo gets samples. He also gets to lick the plate I carry the cooked food in on after I’ve transferred everything to the fridge.

mini peppers, onions, beets, and (hiding underneath) baby bok choy

mini peppers, onions, beets, and (hiding underneath) baby Bok choy

pineapple - tried slices instead of spears this time, not sure which I like better

pineapple – tried slices instead of spears this time, not sure which I like better

The grill can hold a lot of food and the charcoal I got from Trader Joe’s stays hot for quite some time. I’m starting to have fun experimenting with it  – today I made a marinade to brush on most of the food instead of just throwing it on. It helped immensely that the weather stayed sunny and the rain/wind stayed away. (I’m still amazed that I spent all afternoon grilling and enjoyed it after spending the morning at Barnes & Noble and Trader Joe’s … )

There are so many things I want to do, and now I’m getting the energy back to do them. I’ve even started thinking about (key verb: think) cleaning the house, inside and out.

OXYGEN AND SLEEP ROCK!!

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Last night was my first night at home using my new CPAP machine. Wow. There’s a bit of a learning curve.

First, the machine wants me to breathe more than I want to. It wants me to take more and deeper breaths, and it signals it’s displeasure with my slow shallow breathing by making the mask quiver: that is going to take some getting used to. Last night, I’d go along with it for awhile, but then it’d just get to be so much work. It’s easier to be still. So I’d start “fighting” it. (If I didn’t have a mask over my nose and mouth, I would have yelled at it about cooperation and playing nice … I know. It’s supposed to make me breathe, that’s the whole point. Still. It’s going to take some time for us to feel like partners.)

Then there’s the humidifier. Did you know that you need to fill the tank with water for the humidifier to work? Otherwise, morning brings a very dry nose and mouth. It felt like I’d been up all night shouting myself hoarse at a video game. (Yes, I speak from experience. Both staying up all night and making myself hoarse by yelling at a video game I’m playing.) I need to integrate the CPAP into my morning and bedtime routines. Fill the tank and clean the tank and mask every day.

I also rediscovered that I drool when I sleep. Not much of a problem, wipe it away with your hand or on the pillow when it starts bothering you, right? Except that THERE’S A MASK IN THE WAY! So it doesn’t automatically get wiped on the pillowcase. No, you need to remove the mask (or lift it up if you’re feeling daring), wipe it away, and replace the mask, making sure you get a good seal or the CPAP doesn’t work. (Of course, without a good seal I wouldn’t have to fight about breathing rates, but I’m trying to be a good patient.) Then, just as you start settling in again … more drool!

The last thing I’m going to talk about today is my dog. He’s a 10-12 pound Yorkie-Poo with a very cute face and short little legs. Meaning: he can’t jump up on my bed by himself, but I’m a sucker when he steers those puppy-dog eyes my way. I have an ottoman next to my bed for him to jump onto and from there he can get on the bed. Usually. Last night, he woke me up twice by yipping and pawing at my arm. He’d gotten down, the CPAP hose fell across the ottoman, and his way up was blocked. Yes, I picked him up. Yes, I moved the hose for him. He also woke me up a few times barking and growling so much I thought there was a stranger in the house. There was – the CPAP hose.

I’m going to try routing it a different way tonight. Wish me luck!

I live with two cats and a dog, so I like to think I am the boss. Think is the key word in that sentence.

Boo, my YorkiePoo and Butter, my tuxedo cat, had about a week of struggle after losing Buttons in daily life. The hierarchy had been messed with and boundaries needed to be reset. Butter would get in my lap and Boo would growl/bark and chase her out of it (and no, he was not trying to play). Boo would go to get a drink and Butter would hiss and the claws came out. Fur went flying ,although no blood was shed. Eventually, they came to an understanding and everybody could move around the house without (too much) fear. Delilah just camped out on the porch, taking it all in.

Yesterday, anticipating the use of a CPAP machine, I rearranged my bedroom so there would be a place to put the machine. There are new shelves in there, the bed is perpendicular to where it was, and a table was moved to the adjacent wall. While I was doing this, Butter sat in the doorway, watching. Boo was holed up in the living room. I finished, happy with the arrangement, and all hell broke loose. Boo went after Butter, she escaped into the garage suite where she likes to hang out. For the rest of the day, if Boo was in the living room and Butter stuck her head out, he’d go after her. Same thing this morning. I started thinking about moving one of the litter boxes into the garage suite. But things seem to have calmed down now, so we’ll see if Boo can get back to a truce and I can get back to pretending I’m the boss.

I mentioned when I started this blog that I was thinking about getting rid of my scale. Well, I did. I finally put it out to the curb, where somebody picked it up. I figure I go to a doctor’s office enough that they can keep tabs on my weight and I can have a “checkpoint” of sorts to see how it’s doing. With the scale out of my house, it’s much easier to concentrate on healthy habits rather than a number. I have enough numbers in my life between checking my blood sugar and figuring out carbs to be consumed and the units of insulin needed. As much as I like the idea of using my weight as a daily/weekly barometer for my behaviors, in reality it was too much on top of everything else. I want to feel like the boss of my numbers, and the scale was even more recalcitrant about it than the blood sugar numbers are.

Another thing I want to be the boss of? Flip turns in swimming. They fascinate and horrify me at the same time. I have yet to figure out how to do them. The problems? First, water up my nose. Yes, I know you’re supposed to blow out to keep it from coming in. I understand the science and theory behind it. But I can’t make it work. I always end up with water in my sinuses, and it hurts! I can’t even jump in a pool without holding my nose, let alone do a somersault in the water. I did order some nose clips, and they just came today. I’m going to try them out tomorrow – maybe they can help me be boss. I also came across a tip about humming while researching flip turns. I’m going to try that, too.

Second problem: my sense of proprioception sucks. As in, I get extremely disoriented doing a backbend. Those physical field tests for sobriety? I’d fail even if I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol in a month. Tai chi has helped with this, but I still get turned around both in terms of direction and where my body is in space. (Yet, I can do weights while kneeling on a balance ball. Go figure.) I’ve attempted half somersaults in the water (mostly while holding my nose :-)) and I intellectually understand that I just want to flip so I’m looking at the sky, but … wow. I probably shouldn’t be doing it without a lifeguard present. I can’t even tell you what I’m doing. Let alone what I’m doing wrong.

But I’m persistent, so I’m going to keep at it until I feel like the boss.

I got the results of my first sleep study: I stop breathing 11 times an hour when I’m laying awake watching television; when I finally fall asleep, I stop breathing 41 times an hour and my oxygen levels go down to the 70s. I always did like to pick and choose which rules to follow – I guess the one where breathing is an automatic bodily function is one I don’t like.

I have to wait for the results of my second sleep study; my doctor is on vacation and I don’t see her until the 9th of September. I know they’re hoping to get the oxygen up to the 90s without supplemental oxygen, but I won’t find out for another week+. Until then, I’ve given myself permission to nap if I feel like it, without guilt. (Okay, so I have been napping. But with guilt.)

Next up will be figuring out the CPAP mask. I was okay with the one that covered my nose and mouth until I got home the next day and realized that the skin on the bridge of my nose was compromised by just the one night. It’s healing now, but I’m a little worried about the long-term – I have no desire to fight MRSA again. Time for some research. Amazing how the internet has made it so much easier to find things out.

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