Hi there. I have my first appointment with a pulmonologist/sleep specialist in another week. In addition to sleep apnea, I have both chronic insomnia and delayed phase insomnia – which seem to have gotten worse after I found out I had sleep apnea and after I totally cut out an OTC medication that I kept reading could make sleep apnea worse: Benedryl. I am also on a low dose of Ativan, which I have also read can exacerbate the sleep apnea (though I cut the dose half, and afterwards, more than that; now the dose is .25 mg.). Just to add a very important point, I also have a history of both concussions and post-concussion syndrome (and PTSD) – which makes me an EXTREMELY complicated patient; I have been told that I am like an onion in the sense that one layer after the next has to be peeled in order to help me and to actually get to the “root” of the problem.
As I mentioned above, I have delayed phase insomnia and chronic (“typical?”) insomnia – so whenever I would try to use my CPAP, I would be totally awake and simply NOT be able to get to sleep. It seems that I have an overactive mind due to my concussions, PTSD, etc. – and having the mask against my face (and the constant noise and pressure emanating from the CPAP machine itself) does not help in the least. On top of this, I was never given a CPAP “desensitization session” like I recently read that the respiratory therapist was supposed to give me. I wound up complaining about this to my pulmonologist’s office, and they said they were glad I let them know. All of these things, as well as exacerbating ear pain and pressure from using the CPAP, have forced me to totally STOP using the CPAP machine. When I reiterated all of these things to the pulmonologist’s office, they told me that perhaps it was a blessing in disguise (re: my being unable to be “compliant” for the insurance company, etc.) – and that I may need BIPAP instead of CPAP (for all I know). I am presently at a pressure setting of 8 cm, but even THAT was too much for my ears, etc. – and they didn’t want to lower the pressure setting until I saw my ENT first. Now I am on Flonase, for dust allergies, and for an eardrum that is not moving and may have fluid behind it. They also told me that I would probably need another sleep study/titration done. Needless to say, I am having a really difficult time processing the fact that I have to deal with a whole bunch of problems at once – and this (alone) is also keeping me up at night.
Does anyone here have any suggestions for me, as well as useful comments on approaching the sleep doctor when I see him next week? Also, would anyone know of any useful medications that could help with my specific problems while allowing me to actually get to sleep? Of course, I would consult with the physician about the med (s) first. Believe it or not, it really seems as if my chronic (and delayed) insomnia is the “worst of the two beasts” as far as insomnia AND sleep apnea are concerned. Although I DO want to be thoroughly treated for my sleep apnea, I realy need my debilitating insomnia to be addressed; my quality of life is very low, as it is, with this one problem alone (and has been for at least the last twenty years now). I tried biofeedback with no results; herbal teas with only limited success; tryptophan and 5-HTP (etc.) with limited success; hypnosis (and I believe even “self” hynosis) with limited success; etc.
Sorry to be so tangental here, but you can see that I have become a “nervous wreck” over this entire ordeal. I would appreciate any and all help you can provide me.