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Lost My CDL and my Job due to Sleep Apnea....

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Lost My CDL and my Job due to Sleep Apnea....

Postby pattongb » Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:51 pm


Heres my story..sorry if it gets long.

As a teenager i was always really really tired. Had attention and focus problems. My parents thought i was lazy, my doctors thoght i had ADHD. The drugs for ADHD just made me more tired.

I joined the army in 1989 right out of HS. I was in the infantry and slept outside in the field alot with my fellow soldiers. They always complained about my snoring, i had to sleep away form everyone, which in a combat situation would have been impossible and dangerous. Finally my first seargent sent me to the Dr to get a sleep study done. What do you know it came back i had Sleep Apnea.

1 month later I had surgery to remove my tonsils. The Dr's said i was cured and my wife at the time said i didnt snore anymore. I really did feel better for several years. (Although the Army never did do a follow up study to see if i was actually cured).

In 1994 (2 years after being out of the Army) I started having Depression and fatigue problems again, and people told me I snored really bad again. The VA paid to have another sleep study done for me and they told me I was fine. Although looking back at it now, I didnt even sleep during that study i was so uncomfortable (the VA's sleep center was terrible). So they put me on anti-depressents. Ive been on them ever since. The AD's worked for a while but eventually all failed and for the last 13 years my Dr's have been switching my AD meds to try and find one that would work.

So finally 4 months ago while up north at my parents cabin, my Dad told me "you know you sleep so terribly, you cant be sleeping at all, you should see a Dr about that."

So I went to my Dr and he ordered a sleep study. The place they sent me too was so nice, it was like a nice Hotel and not a medical clinic. After 3 hours the nurse woke me and had me put on the CPAP. At a pressure of 9 I slept like a baby I guess and entered REM for the first time all night.

Now to my job. For the past 2 years I have been a Proffessional truck driver. I had found a new job paying real good money, and put in my notice at my current job. On the last day of my old job my Dr called me with the results of my sleep study and told me "I have to pull your CDL (Commercial Drivers Lisence)." I was devasted. I called my new job and they said they couldnt wait the month or 2 it is going to take to get my treatment and clearence done, so I lost my new job.

Now im in limbo. This week the CPAP clinic is supposed to call me and get me set up with my CPAP. I have to be on CPAP for 3 weeks before my DR will reevaluate me and even consider giving me my CDL back.

At first I was like "no way" im not wearing that damn thing every night. But after reading these forums today, I have to wonder if so many of my problems over the last 10 years: irratibility, depression, fatigue; have all been due to OSA instead of depression (which is what I always thought was the problem). So im gonna due the CPAP. I have some hope that my life may change for the better. I know my wife would be so happy if I could change those things about me that she has endured for the last 10 years.

For now we have to find a way to pay our bills till i can find other work. It will all work out im sure.

Im so glad this forum is here to help me and inspire me.

Hoping for a life changing few months.
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Postby jpezz » Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:04 pm

Good luck and at least you found the probable cause of many of your problems. Have you considered going back to the VA for assistance? While your sleep study there was not the best, my local VA uses a nearby hospital's sleep clinic rather than an in-house one as they don't have one. In addition, supplies are free. Assuming your sleeping improves with cpap use, you may find even the previous clinic better since your sleep will be better.

I have found pretty decent cooperation between the local VA and outside doctors. So when going to an outside doctor using private insurance for kidney stone work since the VA had no ultrasound lipotripsy, the VA did the CAT scan at no cost to me and sent the results to him. When the ultrasound didn't work, he recommended laser lipotripsy and since the VA did that, I went back to them for the work.

Talk to your doctor and the VA about working with each other.

Oh and yes, not only are many of your problems likely caused by apnea but for many of us, the cpap treatment has been an amazing therapy, resolving innumerable associated problems. While your mileage may vary, some of us have had unmitigated success.

I am not a doctor but play one in these forums.
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Postby Mrs Rip Van Winkle » Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:26 pm

So sorry to hear of the job loss and the possibility of losing the CDL! I understand the $$ part due to not being able to work..SA is only 1 of my many problems.

I wanted to reply to your post because it was so eloquently written it made my mind travel...From your post I think you would make a great speaker/educator on sleep disorders and the trucking industry...can even include all heavy equipment operations. I would think OSHA or corporations would benefit from your life long experience with this. Hey, when you get the SA under control with your CPAP you could book speaking engagements along with your destination hauls (that is if your trucking is long haul) to not only bring further awareness but to also deepen your pockets.

My DH drove a Miami to Alaska route for a few years and his biggest issue was the sleep.

The CPAP will help and you will soon be back on the road...SAFE and sound for you. your family and all others on the road. Best Regards.
Mrs Rip Van Winkle


Postby harborlights123 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:39 am

I have almost the very SAME story.... wow it's kind of good to know someone else is going through same thing..

Postby lynn321 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:27 am

fatigue from sleep apnea is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression it was for me, the doctor never asked me if I snored
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Just an Update.

Postby pattongb » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:34 am

Been on the CPAP for about a month now. Its going OK i guess. I have the nose pillows, and an excellent machine that has the Bridge, Humidifier, and the option to releave pressure while exhaling (forget whats its called). My DR says its one of the best machines you can get.

I do feel better, definetely more energy in the morning, and it seems to last longer throughout the day. However im really only able to use the CPAP about 4-6 hours a night due to how uncomfortable it gets after 4 hours or so. Doesnt help that i have to wear a chin strap to keep my mouth shut, and that my nose gets sore. I do use the nose gel to help with the soreness and thats probably what gets me through the 4 hours.

As for my job outlook, well i blew my knee out playing football about 1 week before i was to be retested to see if the CPAP was helping my sleep problems. So I cant drive a truck now for at least 6 months anyways. So ive decided to look at other career options, including working in the medical field.

So overall the experience has been ok, though I do have some complaints. Primarily why the make the stupid air hose on the cpap so stiff and unwieldy. Its fine when im laying on my side facing the machine (i am a side sleeper), but when I turn to my other side, the weight of the hose often pulls the nose pillows away from my nose enough to cause pretty good leakage. Also my chin strap while tight when I put it on, becomes loose when i sleep on my side (from the releif of pressure when laying on it), again causing leakage.

The place that gave me the machine was supposed to call me for a follow up but never has. I guess ill be calling them back shortly.
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Postby virginia57 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:39 am

Call them back. You may need a full face mask, if you are a mouth breather, its almost neccesary. And get a lightweight hose. My DME place supplies me with a pretty light one, almost weightless. I have to replace it every couple of months, but the insurance pays for it. They don't cost much at all on-line, if you need to go that route. Virginia
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