Veteran, VA employee shares sleep apnea success story


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It’s always good to hear positive news stories about the health care being provided by VA caregivers. I want to share one with you because it involves me. VA health care providers have played a significant role in my well-being and for that I am truly grateful.

cpap mask and hoseA few years ago I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. I would wake up numerous times during the night and never seemed to get a full night’s rest. It was cause for concern.

Early in my marriage my wife, a VA nurse, expressed concern about my loud snoring and pauses in breathing during the night. She urged me to see a doctor because it was becoming increasingly unbearable for her and me to get a good night’s sleep.

I kept saying I would see a doctor but never did.

One night, in 1999, my brother and I were in Cooperstown, New York, for a week-long baseball camp. We shared a room for a week and one night he woke me up in a panic.

“Ozzie, Ozzie, are you okay?” he asked. “You’re choking man,” he said. “You had me scared.”

He relayed that message to my wife when we returned home.

My wife then demanded I see a doctor and SOON. She suggested I take part in a sleep study.

One week I was scheduled to go to Biloxi, Mississippi, to accompany then Biloxi VA Medical Center Director Chuck Sepich to serve as Master of Ceremonies at the dedication of the Pensacola, Florida, Joint Ambulatory Care Center.

In discussing my situation with Chuck, he arranged for me to do a sleep study in the facility’s sleep lab. It was an eye-opening experience and perhaps a lifesaving one.

I reported to the medical center’s sleep study wing. Prior to going to sleep that night the technicians hooked me up with all kinds of wires. I felt like I was going to the electric chair and jokingly asked the techs if I was entitled to “a last meal.”

They monitored my sleep that night and in the morning I was informed by the medical staff that I had stopped breathing an alarming number of times during the night.

With the test results in hand I returned home to Texas and my wife quickly scheduled an appointment for me to see the health care providers at the Dallas VA Medical Center to address my sleep apnea.

Dallas VAMCThey went over my sleep study results and quickly arranged for me to be fitted with a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The machine helps those, like myself, who have sleep apnea, to breathe more easily during sleep. It increases air pressure in my throat so that my airway doesn’t collapse when I breathe.

It took some getting used to. At first it felt uncomfortable. In talking with the VA doctors and others in my predicament they all said I would get used to it and that it would make a world of difference once I realized I was getting a full night’s rest without any interruptions. They were right. It has made a significant difference in my live. I even use the CPAP when I take weekend naps.

It has certainly changed my life. I feel more rested now and am no longer sleepy during the day. I actually look forward to going to sleep at night knowing I will get a full night’s rest and not having to wake up during the night. My wife no longer complains about my snoring and she too now gets a full night’s rest.

The CPAP machine now accompanies me in all my trips and my wife does not mind my new sleeping partner.

Editor’s note:  March 6 – 13, 2016 is Sleep Awareness Week.

Author

Ozzie Garza

Comments

  1. bob di falco    

    ANY MED OFFICER DEALING WITH SLEEP APNEA SHOULD CONSIDER THOSE SIMILAR TO THE
    ABOVE SLEEP APNEA VETERAN WHO IS OBVIOUSLY NEUROTIC NOT COPD AND THUS DO
    NOT EQUATE HIS SOLUTION AS A NEUROTIC WITH THE ISSUES OF SLEEP APNEA OF THOSE
    WHO ARE COMBAT.GRUNTS
    cheers
    bob d.

    1. Edward . Shay    

      I have had Sleep APNEA for years but really never knew it, My wife of 46 years kept shaking me over the years because she said I seemed like I stopped breathing and it scared the hell out of her. I was at a routine visit with my heart doctor (civilian, not VA) and my wife went into the exam room with me, as we were talking she mentioned to the doctor about this, he was concerned and sent me for a Sleep study and it was determined that I had sleep APNEA and now use a machine every night. I wish I would have known about this while I was on Active Duty and mentioned it to one of my Doctors but since I retired 19 years ago it’s to late now to even mention it to the VA. but if any of you are still on Active Duty make sure that even if you think you might have sleep APNEA you mention it to your Doctor, it could save your life.

    2. don viel    

      I got off my VA , APNEA machine by solving the problem directly. I got rid of my fat neck through a neck lift, where I had the fat lipo off and excess skin removed and tendons tighten. After years on the machine I was off immediately and have not returned after 5 years. VA also retested me and found me cured and I look a lot better with a neck.

  2. Paul Deutsch    

    I would like to share my story. Can someone at VA get in touch with me about publishing my story about my 35 year battle with the VA over my benefits? I think the American public would like to hear that VA finally got around to rating me and paying me last year but they are paying me at the unmarried rate. VA’s own computer records shows that I’m married. I’ve been married since 1967. Why are they paying me at the unmarried rate? I informed VA. They responded by telling me that it will take about 14 months for VA to get around to “investigating” my claim that I’m married. 14 months? That is outrageous. I could be dead by that time. So how about publishing my story about VA incompetence rather than all of these stories that make VA look good?

    1. Richard Blouin    

      Paul, Fill out a VA form 21-686c to add your wife as your dependent.

      Rich. B.

  3. timothy hooey    

    It help’s me that’s for sure but’i still wake up all hr.s of the night some night’s.I take a sleeping pill every night (VA) dream alot

    but only can Remenber them for a very short time.tresting and turing ..

    1. Richard Blouin    

      Fill out a VA form 21-686c to add your wife as your dependent

      Rich B

  4. Penny B    

    I was misdiagnosed twice as not having slept apnea by the military and that I had mental health issues instead. I put my foot down and the doctor relented and sent me home with a CPAP machine for 30 days. Low and behold, I quit breathing several times ever hour. Bottom line: get checked and a non diagnoses is not always accurate! I later found out the contractor who did the first study had been fired for misdiagnosis too many people for NOT having sleep apnea! Of course the Navy Hospital sleep study did no better….

  5. Caterina Pryde    

    Sleep apnea can also show up as a short term side affect after general anesthesia, so watch for signs after surgery!

  6. Michael H Solon    

    My story is a little different. Number one I have never had a issue with the Cincinnati VA. However I never pursued APNEA with the VA, never occurred to me to do so. My wife got me involved with APNEA, I insisted she go because she was waking me at night with her loud snoring and I heard her stop breathing many times. I agreed to a sleep study only to get her through a study. The University Hospital group identified her as a urgent need and placed her on the CPAP machine. Then it was my turn, I knew going in I did not need that machine I was just fine and it was just my age that made me tired by noon time. Brother was I wrong, the next morning they told me I was so off the charts in blood oxygen levels they wanted back the next night for a followup after speaking to the doctor. So I did the repeat study and came away with a preset machine level to correct the levels I needed but to my surprise they placed me on a BPAP machine which controls in and out air flow and the machine automatically sets itself during the night. If a power outage happens it will sound an alarm to wake us up so I don’t sleep without the machine running. My sleep deprivation has ended now as well for my wife. We have been on the machines for more than 4 years and when we do overseas business travel or vacation the machines go with us, they will automatically adapt to the local current. My grown son came in the house one night stuck his head in the door to say he was there but seen us both on machines to his surprise…Now he calls us aircrew members, flying all night as pilot and copilot.

    A vet told me I should go see the VA because he thinks they would add to my current disability levels that I already have?

    Mike S. USAF Ret 89

  7. Elizabeth Wells    

    At a recent visit to the Saginaw, Michigan VA facility, the Respitory specialist commented that my husband could bd a poster child for using his cpap machine. His numbers were great and the amount of “good” sleep was excellent. I am a believer that this machine has saved his life. I cannot even count the number of nights I’ve been awake making sure he kept breathing before he got his machine.

  8. Patricia B    

    Anyone having problems with the VA or its rating system needs to contact their STATE SENATORS. Be sure to document all VA contact dates, times, person, etc, so you can help them with their investigation. No Federal Agency wants a Congressional Investigation on their hands! You will be surprised how fast the VA moves after you file the complaint with your state representative. My husband fought for almost 10 years, never gave up, then he contacted his State Senator. He finally got his justified disability compensation. Remember, the VA wants to frustrate you and expects you to throw in the towel and give up on your claim. They repeatedly ask for the same documentation. Yes, in fairness, the claims adjudicators are short staffed; however, if they documented your claim properly the first time and quit repeatedly requesting the same paperwork, the backlog would be shorter. You can also get help from your local Veterans organizations (AmVets, VFW, etc) volunteers to file your complaint. Good luck:)

  9. Arthur Clinton Jr    

    I have had sleep apnea for a very long time. I have tried a C-pap 30 yrs ago and it didn’t work with me. In 2014 the VA gave me a C-pap and I had problems with this one. I quit using for about a year, then my primary doctor told me to try again. This did not work with trying different mask. I have finally gave up on this idea as it is more of a problem and nuisance than it is of help for me. I am tired of having sores and infections on my nose. Also I would wake up with a sore throat, dry mouth and burning in my lungs. I probably only used the C-pap over this entire time period about 2 weeks.
    I am scheduled for an appointment at the Lebanon VA Hospital Sleep Clinic, 3/18/2016, which I am cancelling and never rescheduling. I am thru with using this equipment.

  10. .ROBERT. B KNIGHT    

    I TWO SUFFER FROM SLEEP APNEA. I WAS DIAGNOSED BEFORE ENTERING THE VA SYSTEM BUT WAS TOLD I COULDN’T GET INTO THE TREATMENT PROGRAM UNTIL I GOT A SLEEP STUDY AND THAT WOULD BE OVER A YEARS WAIT BECAUSE OF THE BACKUPS. I WAS LUCKY IN THAT I KEPT A COPY OF MY SLEEP STUDY DONE ON THE OUTSIDE AND MADE THEM ACCEPT IT. I HAD JUST RECEIVED MY EQUIPMENT AND AFTER MY FIRST USE MY FACE BROKE OUT. (SEEMS I’M ALLERGIC TO THE LATEX MASK), THEY TRIED A CLOTH PIECE UNDER THE MASK BUT THAT WOULD NOT SEAL PROPERLY. I WAS THEN TOLD THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE THEY COULD DO AND AM NOW IN LIMBO, WITH MY BAD HEART (STINTS). IT SEEMS THIS LACK OF OXYGEN AT NIGHTTIME CAN BE A BIG LOAD ON THE HEART TRYING TO GET OXYGEN TO THE SYSTEM, AND MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE CAUSE OF A LOT OF HEART PROBLEMS IN THIS COUNTRY. THE VA AFTER DOING VERY LITTLE TO TRY SOMETHING ELSE ( I CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE WITH THIS ALLERGY). THE VA JUST DECIDED I SHOULD JUST GO DROP DEAD SOMEWHERE.

  11. Top Razor    

    Thanks for the story. I also alive because of the CPAP machine. Unfortunately I was stubborn like you mentioned and my condition went undiagnosed for over 10 years while active and a couple of more after retirement. The result was 4 heart ablations over a 3 year period and now a lifetime of heart medicine. Most people don’t know that severe sleep apnea can result in heart conditions like A-Fib or A-Flutter. I use my CPAP every night no matter where I am. When camping, I sleep in a zero gravity camping chair if there is no power for my machine, which only helps a bit, and I end up waking up constantly. I wish the VA would provide some sort of travelling, compact CPAP, or power packs for those of us that enjoy the outdoors. I encourage all veterans experiencing these symptoms to get a sleep study, the earlier, the better.

    1. Gary W. Thompson    

      Have you tried using one of those small gas powered portable generators? Some of them are not very loud like the bigger ones you’d use in a house and are very fuel efficient.

  12. John A. Bennett    

    WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS TODAY WITH THE CLAIM ADJUDICATION PROCESS AS 20 OR MORE YEARS AGO, CLAIM EVIDENCE REVIEWS, APPEALS (DELAY), WHAT IS AND IS NOT SERVICE CONNECTED, ETC. HOW CAN SOME VETS WHO WERE SIMILARLY SITUATED, SERVING IN VIETNAM, IN THE SAME AREAS, EXPOSED TO SAME CONDITIONS, HAVING THE SAME SYMPTOMS, ETC. ONE GROUP MEDICAL PROBLEMS IS SERVICE CONNECTED AND THE OTHER IS NOT? RULINGS OF THIS NATURE EVEN CONTRADICTS BOTH FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND VA OWN POLICIES FORMULATED TO EVALUATE AND RENDER APPROPRIATE DECISIONS DURING THE ADJUDICATION PROCESS.

    WHEN THE PUBLIC LISTENS TO THE TALKING HEADS, MOST OF THE POPULIST ASSUME THAT VETERAN ISSUES HAVE GOTTEN MUCH BETTER. A TRUE MEASUREMENT OF PROGRESS WOULD BE TO POLL THE VETERANS VIA TELEPHONE OF INTERNET TO GET AN ACCURATE PICTURE OF WHAT THINGS ARE LIKE. HOWEVER, THOSE CONGRESSMEN THAT SPOKE OUT WHEN SO MUCH ATTENTION WAS FOCUSED ON VETERAN ISSUES (DYING VETS, LACK OF MEDICAL ATTENTION, WAITING LINES , ETC) A FEW MONTHS BACK ARE TOO BUSY NOW WORKING ON THEIR RE-ELECTION TO CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH SUCH TRIVIAL ISSUES. I SURMISE MORE VA MONIES ARE SPENT FOR CONTRACTORS TO DISCOURAGE DISABLE VETS (THROUGH APPEALS, REQUEST FOR NON-EXISTING MEDICAL INFORMATION (HOW MANY VETERAN DEVELOP MEDICAL RECORDS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 20 40?) , DELAY TACKS, ETC. THAN ON ACTUAL VETERAN COMPENSATION.

    MAY BE WE SHOULD GIVE SOME THOUGHT TO WHY SO MANY VETERANS RESORT TO DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE, VIOLENCE TO THEMSELVES AND OTHERS AND HOPELESSNESS; MAYBE WE ALREADY KNOW AND JUST DON’T GIVE A DAMN.

  13. john    

    great story, BUT The VA gave me machines for 7 years and all of a sudden I have to take a 6 hr one way drive before getting myt old machine replaced and I cannot even nap without it at 70..why?

  14. John J. Loftus 2457    

    Please understand that my gripe is only with the VA bureaucrats who repeatedly fail to hire enough specialty doctors while paying themselves huge bonuses for depriving us of timely medical care. Most of the medical staff at Bay Pines VA are great. My primary care doctors and nurses are superb. But consulting doctors in specialist clinics were erratically staffed or non-existent.

    The National VA’s Inspector General refused to investigate my complaints concerning the lack of medical care. Several years ago, I wrote to the Justice Department to compel the VA to investigate the issue of delays, among other things. The National Patient Advocate’s office sent the order to investigate delays in my medical care down through the Patient Advocate system. After it got to the Patient Advocate’s Office at the Bay Pines VA, the order simply disappeared. The head of the Bay Pines Patient Advocate office had no clue that his own staff had destroyed the file.

    I have learned that the bureaucrats at Bay Pines have somehow been taught to enter the computer software “back door” to erase or alter a veteran’s medical files. To this day, digital notes attached by my nurses to my medical files sometimes just disappear. It makes it easy for VA staff to claim they were never copied or informed. This kind of criminal violation of HIPPA is very easy to prove: all medical software provided by the National VA has a hidden key stroke recorder to show exactly what was changed and by whom.

    The VA’s National Inspector General wrote back to me that the “alleged” illegal alteration of veterans digital medical records (even if it was being done at many VA hospitals across the country) was not even worth investigating.

    While our nation commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam Conflict, we should also recall that the VA bureaucrats of those earlier times falsely told most Vietnam vets that they could not even apply for VA Disability benefits because their military medical records had been destroyed in a fire at the St. Louis Archives. In fact, all Vietnam era files from 1964 onwards remain untouched. Only a few records in 1962 and 1963 were singed, but 99% of all Viet Nam era military medical records are still intact at the St. Louis archives.

    This phony fire story, whether through negligence or laziness, deterred almost an entire generation of veterans from ever applying for medical benefits. No wonder the suicide rate for Viet Nam era veterans has been so high. They never got benefits, so never got treatment. It meant less work for the VA bureaucrats though, and it seems that is all that counts.

    I am glad to see that the VA is finally emphasizing CPAP issues. It has taken the lives of many vets. My sleep disorder was misdiagnosed by two VA hospitals back in the eighties until one of the techs told me that the doctor did not know what he was talking about and I should see a private physician who specializes in nothing but CPAP. I did, and the private sleep study showed I had been suffering from severe apnea requiring the highest CPAP level: fifteen pounds of pressure. For many years, the VA refused to accept the private sleep study or pay for my CPAP machines. Finally, they did another VA sleep study, confirmed severe sleep apnea, and issued me a medium sized face mask, then a large mask. It was a little better but I still had leaks that woke me up twenty times a night.

    Back to a CPAP private doctor who said I had a very wide face, so none of the VA’s masks would ever fit. He gave me a script for a total face mask like the firefighters use. The VA sleep clinic had never even heard of it, so I had to buy my own mask once again. It was much better but still leaked, and I had a third sleep study once again confirming severe sleep apnea. The tech suggested I try the new Amara View Full Face Mask, large size. This is amazing. It hardly ever leaks, and is extremely quiet and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, the $36 soft plastic insert wears out rather quickly and needs to be replaced every four months or so.

    The VA sleep clinic refused to see me and sent me a nasty letter. In essence, since I had chosen to take a private doctor’s recommendations, I should stay with him. There is only one VA doctor for 11,000 CPAP patients at Bay Pines VA, Florida. I only met the gentleman once for three minutes more than a decade ago. The CPAP clinic is actually run by his secretaries and a nurse. They are always short-handed. Now that I have turned 65, I am trying to get medicare to pay for my masks.

    My fellow veterans and I deserve at least minimum levels of medical care. The primary care doctors and nurses are great, but the VA pays so little that the specialty clinics often have too few doctors or none at all. The Bay Pines administration is on record that they dislike the Congressional mandate to send veterans to outside doctors if we have to wait more than thirty days for an appointment at the VA.

    Thirty days? Sometimes at Bay Pines VA, I have had to wait for years. The last ENT doctor quit years ago and was not replaced until 2016. I am a 100% service connected, permanent and total, disabled veteran. My face was smashed in an Army parachute accident, and I was hospitalized for months at Fort Benning but the surgeries had to be done over at Walter Reed. I may hold the record for most ENT surgeries (27) and receive the maximum service connected disability for severe sinusitis (50%).

    I used to receive quarterly ENT appointments, but the ENT clinic at Bay Pines VA went for more than four years without any ENT physician at all. In 2015, I put my foot down and demanded the VA send me to an outside ENT physician under the new Congressional program for victims of VA delays. It took some fighting, but I finally got to see an actual ENT doctor. She said I had to have emergency surgery. The polyps had grown so large that they were obstructing drainage. If this persisted, I could develop a serious infection. I had been warned of the risk of Osteomyelitis at Walter Reed.

    I asked the VA to clear me as medically fit for emergency ENT surgery, but they took no action. I had to pay a private doctor to order the EKG, labs, etc. which I also paid for privately. I went ahead with the ENT surgery which indeed uncovered extensive and deep rooted areas of infection. We had caught it just in time. It was indeed an emergency.

    Then the VA refused to pay the doctor they themselves had selected for me. Bay Pines VA falsely told the federal VA clearing house that I was not 100% disabled, had no sinus disability, and omitted that the local VA had been notified of the surgery well in advance. I guess they wanted to punish me for using the Congressional program. I just got a bill for more than $6,000 for “non-emergency” surgery that had not been cleared in advance. The VA Federal Clearing Center said that since I was neither service connected for sinuses (untrue) nor was 100% disabled (I was) then I will have to pay the $6,000 towed to the ENT surgeon and the hospital out of my own pocket.

    Oh, and they continue to refuse to pay for my CPAP equipment.

    I am still proud that I volunteered to serve my country in time of war, and volunteered for hazardous duty parachute training. As OCS class President and Honor Graduate, the Pentagon offered me a regular army commission and choice of assignments if I stayed in service. A few years later, I finished law school and worked at Justice Department HQ under the Attorney General of the United States’ Honors Program. The Army wrote me that they would triple promote me from First Lieutenant, Infantry to Lt. Colonel, JAG if I came back.

    The reason I declined both offers was the same: I could not trust that I would receive adequate medical care. The government has never kept its promise to disabled veterans: malpractice was the medical standard of care for veterans of the Viet Nam Era. I feel so sorry for our wounded kids coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers of this generation do not deserve what they are about to receive from the VA. Neither did we.

  15. Edward OLTMANN    

    I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea outside the VA system. My insurance stopped the treatment. Can I request the VA continue the treatment? I’m 100% disabled in the VA system.

  16. Sam Wright    

    I was diagnosed with sleep apnea years ago and got a CPAP machine with a nostril only mask, hoping it would work as the least obtrusive type. I could never sleep with it on more than 3-4 hours and gave up. The insurance I had at the time covered most of the costs, but what I have now has such a high deductible that I have to pay it off pocket for a new mask.
    Not sure when I’ll come up with over $200 extra for one. I’m tired all the time and can doze off within a couple of minutes of sitting down. I can even fall asleep standing up! Driving is becoming dangerous as I have trouble keeping my eyes open sometimes.

  17. Larry Morris Hook    

    Hi Guys I am wondering if am eligible for a new Cpap machine mine is very old and the humidifier doesn’t work right. Iam a VietNam vet 1960 to 1964. Thanks Larry M Hook

  18. Gayle Glick    

    Okay .. finally convinced my husband to file for a claim .. we requested a copy of his military medical records and we got a ‘lite version’ with the comment if we wanted the whole thing we should let them know. Well .. okay .. there was at least in the lite version on his reenlistment physical ‘frequent heartburn’ .. acid reflux as we know now. And that acid reflux caused his throat to weaken, which made his sleep apnea worse. The reason I know he had sleep apnea while in the Air Force is 2-fold .. we were married while he was in the Air Force .. and I got statements from guys he worked with that he was always falling asleep at his workstation during the day, and that I was constantly griping he was snoring and snorting loudly during the night. EVERY night.

    So guess what .. I know .. you know .. no disability rating .. because Sleep Apnea was not a thing while he was in .. and frequent heartburn (requiring a jar of antacid a day in his desk) was considered Acid Reflux when he was in the military.

    I’m going to request his military medical record again .. and note I want a copy of the whole thing . and then we’ll start his over again. OH also .. his civilian primary care doc advised him that part of the sleepiness was ADD .. he saw a psychiatrist at his C&P physical who said ADD cannot be diagnosed by a general MD. He talked with my husband for 15 min .. and because my husband was able to repeat some of the things he wanted him to .. NOPE .. no ADD.

    Was I surprised? Not really .. but a lot was going on .. and I set it aside for a while. It will be a new claim when I get his full records. He’s 61 .. but he’s going to hang around for a long time! At least another 20 years .. so MAYBE his claim will be approved after a lengthy appeal and one or two board hearings.

  19. Edward Hunt    

    Be your own “watchdog” with your primary care doctor. I am a diabetic (type 2-basal insulin) with high blood pressure. My primary doctor made a appointment for me to have a “sleep study” done without my knowledge? This was never discussed with me during routine visits before the appointment. I had one overnight study done that was very uncomfortable for me. I tossed and turned all night because of the mask and plastic nose breathing tube in my nose all night that made me stay in one position: faceup all night which I cannot sleep that way! From 9pm to 7am, I got maybe one or two hours of sleep because of not being able to sleep on my side. Well, the study determined I had sleep apnea. The following week, the sleep center called to remind me of my next overnight sleep study next week. That’s when a red flag popped up in my mind! Why would I need another study when the first one found I had sleep apnea? I told them to cancel any and all future appointments in my name! I found out that the test cost at this civilian clinic was 2500.00. I received a bill from the clinic to pay $625.00. My local VA center has no department for sleep tests. I learned that the physician’s fee paid to the doctor who setup the study is $1200.00. I called my primary care office and asked why I was not told anything about this sleep study and why it was never discussed with me by my primary care doctor. They didnot know and advised to discuss it on my next visit. I smelled a “rat” and decided to write a letter to the VA operations staff about my primary care doctor’s personal behavior to this point along with this incident. I received a letter back the following month that I was reassigned to a new primary care doctor. The VA billing office is reviewing my bill to determine if I am responsible to pay it. If you ever have the sleep study, you will be found to have sleep apnea! I live alone and know I snore during the night over the past 20 to 30 years. I learned of a chin/head velcro strap on the internet that is used to closed the mouth to stop “snoring” in place of a sleep apnea machine! HOWEVER, I have learned to live my life the past 60 years to know how to take care of myself. So, I will get the sleep apnea machine from my VA center AND get the “Res Med Swift” sleep apnea mask to use as my primary cpap unit because it’s much smaller and easier to sleep with then the machine! Take Care and “SLEEP WELL”!

  20. David L Ward    

    The Cpap machine SAVED MY LIFE. If you are wondering if you have sleep apnea, PLEASE get yourself checked out. I have had my Cpap for 5 years now, and it has truly saved my life. I retired from the Army in 2005, and was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2010. I am truly grateful that I did see a Dr. about this condition. When I was in the Army as far back as 1995 I can remember my soldiers telling me, “SSG Ward, you are sucked the sides of the tent in and out when you sleep.” I laughed, and went on with my duties. I suffered with sleep apnea my Doctors said for 15 years. I was always tired, and at the end before my diagnoses I could not drive a car without falling asleep at red lights. I would set on the couch and would wake up some time later not remembering falling asleep. I stopped functioning. I would stop breathing during the night, and choke. I had heartburn so bad. IT WAS BAD. NOW I am fine, and I look forward to sleeping with my mask every night. The bottom line is, If you are wondering if you have sleep apnea, PLEASE get yourself checked out, and if you have it WARE your mask!

  21. James Botonis    

    Mr Garza
    Thank you for your story. I have just been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea after fighting the doctors for years about taking a sleep test. I have the results here at home and was not going to give them to my VA doctor until reading your story. I will deliver them today. Thanks again.

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