ShelJT wrote:He's not a sports fan of any kind, he's far from a macho kind of guy. He USED to be a big ol teddy bear. When I met him, he was trying to get his elementary education degree so he could teach little kids. Chuck Norris, he isn't. I think it's the fact that his mother has to use a CPAP machine AND he knows my mom cured herself by losing 100 pounds so he thinks he just needs to suck it up and lose weight. Well, if it were that easy, we would both be skinny by now!
First thing---congrats to your mom. She's one lucky woman and I sincerely hope she keeps the weight off and that the apnea doesn't redevelop.
But hubby needs to understand that treating his OSA is NOT an issue of just "sucking it up and losing the weight."
You see, both you and your hubby need to understand that for most folks with OSA, losing the weight does not cure the apnea:
For most of us the problem is in our physical anatomy---in other words, it's how our upper airway is put together and not our weight. For example, I'm a 5'1" female who weighs 107lbs and I have moderate OSA. Most certainly I can't cure my apnea by losing weight. And for many overweight folks with OSA, the question of whether the weight caused the apnea or whether the untreated apnea lead to the weight gain is not an easy question: It is known that untreated OSA can lead to metabolic changes that make it easier to put excess weight on and make it harder to take it off. And so there is growing evidence for a large number of overweight OSA sufferers that it's the untreated OSA that leads to the weight gain, which then worsens the apnea, which leads to more weight gain, which worsens the apnea, ..... A truly vicious cycle that for most folks only ends once they start treating the OSA with a CPAP.
So hubby needs to not compare himself to your mom. And since his mom is on CPAP and OSA tends to run in families, you should keep telling him (over and over and over) that his OSA problem is NOT his weight, but rather it's the anatomy of his upper airway. HIs upper airway is simply too small. Or his soft palate is too long. Or his uvula is too long and large. Or his tongue is too large for his mouth or perhaps his tongue is simply attached too far back. Or his smooth muscles in the throat relax too much when he is asleep and allow the airway to collapse---and it's important to understand that these smooth muscles are not like biceps or hamstrings---there's no way to exercise them and make them less likely to relax during sleep. And that regardless of which of these potential anatomy issues are the most significant problems in his case, the fact remains that he's not responsible for the structural problems in his upper airway's innate anatomy.
My point is that since he's feeling "less of a man" because of this diagnosis and therapy, he is probably blaming himself for developing OSA. And he needs to understand that he may very well had OSA back when he "skinny" and that even if he did manage to lose a significant amount of weight, he might still have the OSA because it could just be caused by the way his upper airway is put together. In other words, hubby needs to quit beating himself up about having OSA and needing a CPAP.
One thing that might help hubby come to grips with his diagnosis is finding out that there are a significant number of OSA patients (including those on CPAPs) who are of normal weight or even down right skinny. Some estimates say that as many as 40% of all OSA patients are NOT overweight. And understanding that fact may help him realize that he did not cause the OSA by simply gaining too much weight. And once he quits blaming himself for the disease, he may become more willing to accept therapy.
I find it odd that he's more willing to do the O2 therapy than the CPAP just because his mom is on a CPAP. Supplemental O2 is serious stuff---at least that's how it seems to me when I'm visiting my mother-in-law who does not have apnea (as confirmed on a sleep study) but does have COPD and has had to use O2 at night for years. Her O2 set up is significantly harder to travel with than my BiPAP is. And, of course, with the O2 you have to extra careful with any potential source for sparks or flames, neither of which is an issue with PAP therapy.
Many CPAPers are not able to articulate just how unsexy they perceive themselves to be---particularly when they know they have to mask up after the fun and intimacy of making love is over. It helps to have a spouse who is willing to tell you directly to your face when you are masked up that the spouse still finds you attractive and sexy and that the spouse is still happy that y'all got married all those years ago. I know: I've had to tell my hubby more than once that I need to hear him sweet talk to me when we're curled up at bedtime and I've got my mask on. I really do need to hear him say that he's still crazy about me when I have the mask on
each and every night night. And when he tells me these things on his own, it makes me feel that the machine really is not such a huge issue as I tend to believe it is.
So you will need to remind him on a daily basis that you
still find him desirable (and sexy!) even when you see him with the cannula in his nose. I'd strongly recommend that you waltz right into that bedroom when you know he's masked up and give him a great big kiss his cheek or forehead and tell him that to you, he's the sexiest man around and that it means so much to you that he's willing to do this night after night in order to treat his apnea. (And continue doing this if/when he's finally switched to a PAP macine.) Yes, he's embarrassed to be seen in the mask---in part because he's worried that you will recoil and think that he's only a shell of a man if you see him with all that medical stuff on his face.. So you need to convince him that you are not appalled by the sight of him in his mask and that with or without the mask, you find him desirable. In other words, you will need to give him some plenty of meaningful reminders of your love for him even though he wears a mask at night and how much you appreciate the fact that he masking up every single night in order to stay as healthy possible for you and the kids.
And of course, what could possibly be more manly
than putting your wife and kids first and doing what you know is the right thing to do
for your health by masking up each and every night even though you don't want to. A real man, after all, wants to be around and be healthy
for his family for many, many years to come. And untreated OSA rather dramatically increases the risks for all kinds of nasty things that are far harder to live with than a CPAP machine. Things like strokes, serious heart disease, type II diabetes, drug-resistant hypertension, and even depression. Not to mention problems caused by the excessive daytime sleepiness, including a much elevated risk of causing a car crash because of momentarily falling asleep at the wheel.
I would like to know if it is normal with sleep apnea to just fall asleep unless being mentally stimulated.
Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of untreated or under treated OSA. Many successful CPAPers look back on their pre-CPAP days and describe them as "sleeping through life." Many successful CPAPers remember a time (pre-CPAP) when they were literally terrified about falling asleep while driving. Many remember a time prior to their diagnosis when they could fall asleep at a the drop of a hat, anywhere and anytime, but never waking up from all these daytime naps feeling any more rested. And yes, with enough mental stimulation (and caffeine), these folks would manage to not fall asleep---for at least a while.
Other successful CPAPers remember the exhaustion of untreated OSA as making it a chore to get through any kind of activity that they were not particularly interested in---and worrying about falling asleep at inappropriate times such as in class or in meetings at the job. But many of these same CPAPers can also remember that staying up at night doing something that was interesting and mentally stimulating to them was not all that difficult. You see, some untreated OSA sufferers develop a kind of unconscious resistance to going to bed each night because the unconscious mind realizes in way that the conscious mind does not that going to bed and going to sleep is going to start cycle of repeated mini-suffocations that make sleep so unrelaxing and non-restorative. And some folks with untreated OSA can develop insomnia even while falling asleep in micro naps (and real naps) throughout the daytime.