Impressive Numbers

 Posted by at 12:53 am  Nick's Blog
Mar 222022

Yesterday I had my first appointment with my sleep doctor since I got my CPAP machine in early January. Since I’m a bit claustrophobic, I really wasn’t sure how well it was going to work out for me, but the mask I have does not cover my full face, it just goes under my nose, and instead of the hose being in the front, it comes out at the top of my head, which makes it much better. I surprised myself with how quickly and well I adapted to it.

To be in compliance with Medicare to cover the CPAP machine, patients have to use it at least four hours per night for the first 60 or 90 nights, depending on Medicare and your supplemental coverage. Since the first night on the CPAP, I have been averaging 7:36 hours per night, which is very good.

Sleep apnea is rated by the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI). An AHI is when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more while asleep. We all do it to some extent, and a normal AHI is fewer than five events on average per hour. Mild sleep apnea is rated at 5 to 14 events per hour, and moderate is 15 to 29 events per hour. Anything higher than that is considered severe. My AHI was 27 per hour during my sleep study. After reading the reports that the machine sends to my doctor every day, he said that since starting CPAP, my AHI has been less than one on average. Those are pretty impressive numbers!

One thing I have noticed since starting using a CPAP is that I have had the most vivid, convoluted, multi-layered dreams, but usually, within a half-hour after waking up, they fade away. The doctor said this is good because it means that I am getting more REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, besides dreaming, your eyes move around rapidly but don’t send any visual information to your brain. REM sleep is very good for you because it restores your brain and helps with memory and learning. Under normal conditions, a person can experience about three to five periods of REM sleep a night, with each period lasting around ten minutes, with the last one before waking up going on for up to an hour.

I wasn’t the only person seeing a doctor yesterday. Our daughter Tiffany had a fast-growing cataract develop that took most of the sight in her right eye. This happened to me years ago and led to me getting cataract surgery. It was the same for Tiffany, and she had her cataract removed yesterday about the same time I was at the sleep doctor. She sent me a picture last night and told me she’s doing well.

They will be doing her other eye in a couple of weeks because the vision in the two eyes is going to be so different now. The same thing happened with me, although it was months before the VA would do the second eye, which meant I had 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/300 in the other. That is not a comfortable experience, and it was too much to be corrected with glasses. I told Tiffany that I’m sure she will be just as happy as I was and am once both eyes are done.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day Sometimes, not saying anything is the best answer. Silence can never be misquoted.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Impressive Numbers”

  1. Glad you are taking care of yourself.

  2. Glad you are finding your CPAP Machine beneficial to your sleep. Both Kathy and I are on the Severe end of the scale. If we lose power the sleep we get is useless. Interesting about the REM because neither of us hardly have dreams we can remember.
    Being able to see clearly is worth the discomfort of the Cataract Surgery.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  3. Great share Nick. Been wondering about these sleep apnea machines for years. Now in my later 80’s I am surprised by all the unplanned health events of just growing older. Geez! They never prepared me for these things in college. Just got word that after 85 healthy years I have PMR. Polymyalgia rheumatica, which can change your body chemistry in 24 hours. Problem was finding a doctor who could actually identify it. This will be a major change of life taking steroids when needed. Sunny Florida sounds better every day as Oregon has been cold and bitter this winter. It’s coming to the point where sitting in a chair to greet the morning sun is a major accomplishment with wonderful benefits. Congrats to you for continuing your writing!

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