Tuesday, 12 November 2013

I’m Sleeping With Darth Vader!

Over the summer, Bob realised his sleep apnoea had returned, so went to the GP in September, to sort out getting a CPAP* breathing machine. Last time this helped enormously and the GP agreed to refer him immediately to the Sleep Unit at the hospital. We finally heard a few days ago that the appointment to sort it out will not be till Christmas – but Bob’s been so unwell, we really couldn’t envisage waiting another 7 weeks. So on Friday, Bob began using a machine which we have had to hire. Already he is starting to feel better. You may know about this condition – here’s a chart explaining what happens to the sufferer when they go to bed

OSA cycle

Last time when he was wired up to the hospital’s meters, Bob registered about 45 apnoeas per hour [that’s classed as ‘severe’]. The ‘without ever fully waking’ only applies to the sufferer – not to their spouse! We were both feeling the effects of this situation. So now he has a machine by the bed, and a mask to wear [all night]


cpap machine

The machine blows air gently in a continuous stream, keeping the airways open and ensuring that breathing continues normally. [*CPAP = continuous positive airway pressure]

However this does make a noise. All the time! It sounds just like Darth Vader [especially if Bob speaks to me whilst wearing the contraption!]

Honestly, he sounds just like this!

It takes a bit of getting used to – but the benefits will be worth it. Sleep deprivation is a recognised method of torture, and is outlawed by the Geneva Convention!

darthvader apnoea

Above you see the evil lord Vader in his CPAP mask – below, photographs of Princess Leia and Han Solo in theirs. [which one of the Star Wars included these images? does anybody know?]

leia mask

hansolo mask

The arrival of the machine and mask has been 99% successful- the one downside [apart from the cost] is that the mask wouldn’t work properly with the Movember Moustache. Bob’s top lip is clean shaven again – and Gary is soldiering on alone at church with his ‘mo’.


  1. Hope you both get used to the machine and learn to live (and sleep) with it.

    The wait doesn't seem right especially when it is a recurrence of a known problem.

    1. I hope that the fact that Bob is having to wait means they are busy treating other people whose need is even greater - maybe newly diagnosed sufferers.

  2. Didn't realise that machines were available to hire - well done you for finding that out and getting Bob one in the meantime. The OH also uses a machine here, and although I have got used to the noise, I can't get used to the draft coming out of the top of the mask, and since he always sleeps facing me, I end up with a mini-barricade of a pillow between us so that the draft doesn't come over me! I don't mind it so much in the summer when it is really hot, but it is too chilly at this time of year... Hope the appointment helps and you get a machine from the hospital before too long xx

    1. I just discovered this website which is full of helpful tips and products for SA sufferers http://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/page/home
      [not that I would BUY a fleece tube cover if I was needed, I'd make one!!]

  3. Maybe Bob should do the sermon on Sunday wearing it!!

    1. That would be just too much! The congregation were gobsmacked by his wig- I hate to think of their reaction to the mask!!

  4. You must remember to remember it's Bob - otherwise you may be reaching for your laser mid sleep!

  5. I'm thinking the film is The Empire Strikes Back and am quite sad that I possibly know that.

  6. Oh, my, it sounds like a torture. But if it helps him sleep...

  7. One of my close friends has had a machine for years. I know what a benefit they are... but the noise takes some getting used to. Jx

  8. As long as Bob doesn't start saying "Angela (or Luke) ... I'm your father...."

    I do hope he continues to sleep and breathe better.

  9. My neighbour uses one or rather doesn't on occasions! His 'snoring' sometimes wakes me up and he sleeps in the front bedroom next door!
    I hope Bob and yourself get used to it soon, lack of quality sleep can affect folk in all kinds of ways, not good.

    Take care,

    Sandie xxx

  10. It was indeed Empire Strikes Back- good luck to Bob, and you xx


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