Thursday, May 2, 2013

My New Machine


Any motivational speaker worth his salt will tell you that your attitude determines your altitude, or something like that. In other words, how you choose to think about something goes a long way towards determining how you feel about it. Is the glass half empty or half full? Is that a light at the end of the tunnel or a train? Does that envelope you just got in the mail from the IRS contain a refund check or an audit notification?

I am the new owner of a Phillips Respironics Remstar Pro C-Flex+ with a System One Heated Humidifier and the Resmed full face mask, deluxe model 2. I have been avoiding this purchase for over 15 years but was recently lured back into the CPAP world with promises of newer, sleeker designs which were much less “intrusive” than older models. One advertisement I read, while waiting to be fitted for the above device, claimed that its product was so comfortable; I might forget that I was even wearing it! Unfortunately for me, that particular model didn’t work for my particular “face shape”, which was a very polite term my technician used when she meant to say, “ginormous nose”. So, I am stuck with a full face mask that I feel certain I will never forget that I’m wearing.

The physics behind this contraption is rather straight forward. To prevent you from snoring and gasping for breath all night, the machine forces air at varying degrees of pressure through your mouth and nose. The pressurized air forces your nose and lungs to stay sufficiently open all night which allows you to sleep peacefully and quietly through the night. Think of that Golden Retriever with his head out the window of a car driving down the interstate, jowls flapping in the 70 mph breeze and you’ve got the picture. Or at least that’s how they drew it up back at the lab. The problem is…getting comfortable with the mask. If the fit is too loose, air rushes out all around the fit, making a noise something like a level 5 hurricane and waking you and everyone within a two mile radius up 7-10 times a night. But, if the fit is too tight you wake up with deep red lines imprinted in your face, making you look like the psycho villain in all those slasher movies. This is where this attitude business comes in.

When I put the mask on and look in the mirror, I have to decide who it is that I see. I am either a dying asthmatic, Hannibal Lecter when the cops first arrested him and slapped that thing on his face to prevent him from eating his guards, or a brave and heroic B-17 pilot braving a sky full of flak, flying day time bombing missions over Berlin in WWII, or even a Top Gun pilot flying an F-14 Tomcat somewhere in harm’s way. It’s all about attitude.

Last night, I fell asleep with scenes from “Memphis Belle” playing in my head, and slept straight through the night. This morning I feel well rested and energetic. As a bonus, that ammunition factory on the outskirts of Berlin is a smoking pile of twisted metal baby!!