I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea back in 2010 (although I realise now I had suffered from it for many years before that), as a result of my problem being recognised by a very concerned anaesthetist. This happened during an operation to replace my left knee. Because I struggled to breathe and gasped for air during the operation she, the anaesthetist, arranged for me to have more tests. At that stage, I had never heard of Sleep apnoea, let alone realised the consequences.
Sleep Apnoea is a condition where your breathing pauses during sleep. These pauses last for 10 seconds or more and are called an Apnoea. I was referred to a Sleep Clinic and had a series of tests. These included wires up my nose and down my throat that was linked to a monitor. This recorded my sleep pattern over a period of two weeks. As a result, it showed that I was experiencing 69 Apnoea’s every hour. This meant that I was told of the need to use a CPAP machine and mask every night.
What Happened Next
Worse than that though, I had to sign a form for the DVLA and my driving licence was rescinded. Suddenly after having been a driver for nearly 50 years it all stopped. However, you have to “always look on the bright side of life”.. as the song says. Then for a while, I couldn’t drive – but it meant if we went out socially I could drink and my lovely wife drive!!
Changes since I was diagnosed
Fortunately, the DVLA rules have changed for the better since then and it is very rare for people to lose their licence as long as they are well treated for their sleep apnoea. Even I, because my Sleep Apnoea is under control and regularly monitored, have got my licence back – but I so kind that I still leave all the driving to my wife!
Over the years since I was diagnosed, I have had several different types of machine and now I am a Ventilator type. It is surprising during the 11 years of wearing masks just how they have changed and become more comfortable. Or am I just getting used to them?
Since 2010 I have been looked after by a wonderful team at the Sleep Clinic at Ysbyty Gwynned Hospital at Bangor in North Wales. I hear that others are not so lucky as I have been.
If you think you are possibly suffering from Sleep Apnoea but don’t know where to turn. Never fear Hope2Sleep is here! When I was first diagnosed I was looking for more information and by chance came across Kath Hope. She was also a Sleep Apnoea suffer and had set up an information service that has now grown into a full-blown charity. There is so much clear advice available there. As well as lots of products to make your life with your machine so much more bearable.
I can only offer advice from my perspective but if you want to discuss the possibility of you having Sleep Apnoea, please feel free to call me. My business line is 01492 548102 and I am Robert Winchurch of mobilityproducts4u.org.
Sleep Apnoea can affect your life dramatically and can cause long term heart problems and possible damage to the brain. This because of the lack of oxygen to the heart and or brain caused by the Apnoeas during the night. Your daytime can be affected by feeling drowsy at times and even dropping off to sleep. How many accidents in the home or more importantly on the roads are caused by people with undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea? A good nights sleep is vitally important and it may be that you need a Sleep Apnoea machine. As a result of being confirmed with sleep apnoea, it may be a good idea to consider using an adjustable bed. Sleeping with your head slightly raised can help with your breathing whilst having your legs raised will help your circulation.
Watch this YouTube Webinar for great insight and information about Sleep Apnoea from Kath Hope and others and see Dom Joly tell his story regarding Sleep Apnoea;
Struggling to sleep, think you might have Sleep Apnoea? Call me for information that I gained through my experiences or contact hope2sleep. Their helpline is 0300 102 9711.