Don’t give up on breathing mask, you’ll feel better in the long run

To the Editor: 

I read with interest the article by Frank L. Palmeri about CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines because I also look like an "elephant" when I sleep. (Yes, even women can snore and be susceptible to sleep apnea.) I experienced the same weird, almost otherworldly tests to diagnose the condition.

I am writing this letter to encourage Frank and anyone else who is new to this contraption to give it time. I have worn a CPAP at night for many years, and of course it's not all fun and games, but I do know that on the rare occasions when I don't wear it, I feel absolutely terrible the next day. I am so used to it now that I pack it up and take it with me whenever I travel.

I have also tried the dental device that Frank describes. I would switch on and off between wearing that and the CPAP at night.

This worked for quite a while and was very convenient when traveling, but, after a few years, the dental device no longer worked (my husband told me I was snoring even when wearing it). So now I'm completely dependent on the CPAP. However, the dental device might be a good solution for someone else, and I think it is worth trying if you really can't stand the CPAP.

So I urge Frank, and whoever else may currently be struggling to get used to the "elephant,” to allow yourself some time (in my opinion, it can take more than three months) before you give up on it.

And, even after you get used to it, you may still have some nights, like I do, when you just can't adjust the mask quite right and end up throwing it across the room in total frustration (my husband can attest to those moments). Expect moments like that, but don't give up! You'll feel better in the long run.

Kathi Reynolds

New Scotland

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