January 16, 2016

Diabetes and Sleep Apnea - P2

After Max and I worked with three recent new members, Tim called and asked us to meet with him. When we arrived, there were the two that had been asking us questions before and five other members. Tim told us we had the floor for any questions they wanted to ask. Questions we received and Tim asked that they take turns.

I said that I should start with the experiences that I have been through as all seven would be 65 years of age in a few years. I said that Max and I had each been to separate doctors and thus our experiences are different. Both of us needed to use a sleep study lab for the first time we changed equipment under Medicare. I went to Mason City and Max went to New Hampton.

I said that even my first sleep study was a sleep study lab. A sleep study lab means that you will arrive about 7:00 PM and then you will be fitted with a harness of wires attached to sensors on your head, neck, and chest plus a few on your lower legs. Then you are expected to sleep while cameras watch you. Yes, you have covers over you. I actually had two sleep study labs for Wellmark. The first determines that you actually have sleep apnea and the second to determine the pressure settings. When I had the one for Medicare, I was set up like the first sleep lab and when I had satisfied the first requirement, I was changed over to the second part of being on a CPAP machine.

Max stated that his first was a home sleep study that determined he had sleep apnea and the second was a sleep study lab to determine what pressures would be best. Max then stated that the Medicare was the same as what I experienced, just at a different place.

Everyone wanted to know why the two times and Max said that the first is to determine the degree of sleep apnea and that you have sleep apnea. The second sleep study is to determine the upper and lower pressure settings as now most CPAP machines do operate in a range and this is important for you to get the best sleep.

Max stated that his lower pressure is set on 12 and the upper pressure is 18. When asked I said my lower is set at 10 and the upper is set at 15. My average during sleep is 12.4 and I have lows at 10.3 and upper at 14.8. Max said his average is about 14.4 with lows at 12.8 and upper level is at 17.

Several more questions followed asking if we had a favorite doctor. Max and I both agreed we liked our doctors, but I stated that this should be up to each of them. I said that three others could answer that question after they finished their in home tests. I said home tests are becoming more acceptable and are being used more than the sleep study labs.

I stated that my sleep doctor is from India, and for several years showed his heritage by ignoring women until he encountered my first wife. When she asked a question and when he did not answer, she got up in his face and asked him why he could not answer her question. She told him that in the U.S. women are considered equal to men and just because I was the one being treated, she felt her question was important and if she was to help me, she should receive an answer. I said since then he has always answered questions from my second wife and not hesitated.

Max said his doctor is from Tennessee and talks more to my wife than he does with me. She, like Bob's wife, does not like the noise from the CPAP machines and complained about the first two machines, but the last one is quiet. Also, some of the earlier CPAP machines had masks that expelled a lot of air and you had no control over where it was aimed, which makes the position you sleep in miserable for a spouse. The newer masks are somewhat better, but still can blow air on your spouse if you sleep in the wrong position. Max said this means that you will be the one adjusting to be kind to your spouse.

We talked for another hour and answered many questions, but everyone seems ready to be tested and asked for the phone numbers of our doctors. We said we would be available to answer future questions and would ask the other three if they would be willing to answer questions once they had their CPAP machines.

Max said he would send out an email showing some of the machines available and they needed to be aware that their insurance might only cover one or two machines. As is was all had the same insurance that Max and I had and so they would have at least four different CPAP machines available.

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