And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Healthy, Wealthy and Wide

Or something like that. It's been a while since I've done a health update. In general, I'm doing okay.

On the weight side of things, there hasn't been much progress. Okay, there was, but my week at an Indian Casino and sitting in a seat most of the day lead to a major rollback. I had been down to 301 in the middle of November (last weigh in with doctor), but as of monday I was at 315. Not good. And unfortunately my regular exercise (15 minute fast walk at noon, and walking up 3 stories every Monday and Wednesday for class) is no longer happening. On top of that I'm taking Claritin as a prophylactic to keep my nose clear. Allergy medicines are becoming known for helping put on the weight. Since the was smoking at the casino, I was taking a pill several times a day. I need to get back to using the Wii. It's been over a year since I've been able to use it regularly. the good news is weight goes up, but weight goes down too. That's good news, because as long as the weight is moving it means I can still lose weight (without severe dieting). The other good news is that when I can control the snacking at work (we have free snacks, it's a poisonous thing) and drink my own tea, I lose weight.

The big D has been at bay this year. There's been a few little d episodes, but those are normal. Given the levels of stress this past year, I think that's somewhat of a miracle. There have been two weeks when I haven't had Welbutrin (scheduling issues with getting refills and having most evenings scheduled). And each time I haven't felt the edges of the big D. I would have stretched the experiments longer, but both times were high-stress moments (see not being able to stop at the drug store on the way home because of being busy). Maybe in the New Year we'll try to go off for a long time and see if the big D comes stalking at my door.

It's now been about two months with the CPAP machine. I'm definitely sleeping better. In fact, there has been dreaming (of the normal type). But now I have some experience with the machines, so here is what I've learned. The different companies that produce machines and masks have very different products. Between the sleep tests, my wife's CPAP, and finagling samples, I have been able to try out a lot of equipment. IMHO, Philips Respironics is leading the pack (and I would avoid Fisher & Paykel - just my advice). I have their CPAP machine (with warm mist - technically a BiPAP - which means the machine adjust pressure as I breath out), and have pretty much stayed with their masks. I didn't think with my allergies and nose problems I'd be able to use just a nose mask, but I really love my ComfortGel Nasal Mask (large). I don't have much of a "red line" problem, or nasal soreness with it. There have been a few nights where I've had to switch to a full mask (I have a couple of those). Even with the warm mist, I get dry mouth very quickly. And if I have to breathe through my mouth with the mask, I feel like those guys doing the G testing in centrifuges (with the lips and checks flapping). the full face mask I like to use is a ResMed. Between the two masks I have more leak problems with the ResMed. I have more issues with the Fisher & Paykel.

There are several things to keep in mind with the masks. They should fit comfortably. I typically wear them higher than I think they're supposed to be worn, but then I also don't have a sore nose bridge either.

Another thing to think about with masks is how they come apart for cleaning. This may not seem like a big thing, but trust me on this one. And, again, the Respironics has the engineering advantage. The ComfortGel mask easily separates into components that are easy to wash and easy to put back together. The ResMed is a little less easy. The F&P is the worse. Also, cleaning the machine shows the same breakdown (in fact, the F&P machine that my wife has is a pain in the arse to clean). While the manuals say to clean everyday, I do it about once a week and we're doing fine (if I go longer, I'll add a little vinegar to the dishsoap mix).

Another thing to keep in mind is how to adjust the mask. You might be tempted to make the mask as tight as you can stand to keep the seal. I would advise you to adjust your mask to be as loose as possible, but still not leak.

So there it is. Lots of ups and downs, but pretty well averaged over the year.

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