How to Sleep Easier With Your CPAP Machine By John Donovan (WEB MD) Part Three

Learning to Appreciate CPAP

Continued

For most people, these devices are the best way to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The challenge for doctors and sleep specialists is to convince the wary that they’re better off with one than without it.

Aside from poor Zzz’s, though, people who don’t get treatment for the problem face a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other health problems.

But most of the time, Rapoport says he tells his patients they can’t knock CPAP until they’ve tried it.

“I would tell people, ‘Try it. Use it part of the time. Let’s get you to the point where you see the benefits. You don’t have to believe me. You’ll see it,’” he says.

Parthasarathy says many of the people he points toward CPAP do see the benefits, some more quickly than they imagined.

 

“I had a patient tell me that he felt like he walked across a desert and finally found water,” he says. “I get comments like, ‘This is the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long, long time.’ Or, ‘I have dreams now. And it’s been a long time since I remember having a dream.’”

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How to Sleep Easier With Your CPAP Machine By John Donovan (WEB MD) Part Two

CONTINUED

Your doctor and sleep specialist can help you make sure everything works and fits as it should.“It’s like wearing shoes. You buy a new pair of shoes, they’re initially going to chafe or hurt you. Or a new pair of glasses — you become very conscious of them,” says Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at the University of Arizona. “But after a while, it becomes second nature. You put it on without thinking.”

Noise: In the old days, CPAP machines were clunky and loud. Instead of a whoosh, it was more of a WHOOSH. Some made metallic, clicking sounds.

But that was then. Machines today are smaller, quieter, and much less noticeable. Many brands are near-silent. That’s a bonus not only to CPAP users, but to their bed partners too.

Pressure: Machines have different air pressure settings. Some of them vary it depending on whether you’re inhaling or exhaling. Your doctor will help you figure out the level that’s comfortable for you and helps you the most.

Dryness: Some CPAP users say all that forced air dries out the nose and mouth. Many machines have humidifiers to fix that. Some even heat the moist air.

Trouble breathing through your nose: If you feel stuffed up from allergies, sinus problems, or a physical issue with your nose, you may have trouble using a CPAP machine. But the problem usually goes away when you treat your congestion, whether with medicine, allergy treatments, or sometimes surgery.

“A lot of people have nasal obstruction or congestion and they don’t even know it.” Parthasarathy says. Treatment for those problems makes CPAP work much better for them.

 
 

How to Sleep Easier With Your CPAP Machine By John Donovan (WEB MD) Part One

I want to share the following article written by John Donovan and published on Web MD. I have found that using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine has honestly improved my quality of life. My hope is that this article will help my fellow Sleep Apnea victims to better adapt to CPAP Therapy.

Your doctor wants you on a CPAP machine to help your sleep apnea. You might worry you’ll be tied to a noisy gadget all night with tubes there, a mask here, and straps going every which way.

It can seem overwhelming, says David Rapoport, MD, the director of research at the NYU Sleep Disorders Center. 

“We work very hard to try to get people to be more open to the idea,” he says. “What’s remarkable is, when they try it, they often say, ‘That’s not so bad.’”

There may be some hurdles at first, but they don’t have to be deal-breakers. Once you know what to do, you can sleep well with a CPAP machine.

Get to Know Your Gear

When you have sleep apnea, you can stop breathing, briefly, up to 30 times or more an hour when your airways close or get blocked. CPAP, short for continuous positive airway pressure, pushes air into them to keep them open. 

The machine has a pump that controls the airflow, a tube that carries the air from the machine to you, and a mask that goes over your mouth, nose, or both.

Some things about it may take some getting used to:

Masks and straps: If you’ve never slept with something on your face, it’ll probably take some time for you to wear the CPAP mask without thinking about it.

Most modern ones fall in one of three groups:

  • A nasal mask that goes over your nose
  • A “nasal pillow mask” that fits under your nose
  • A full mask, which covers your mouth and nose 

Among those three main types, there are kinds including:

  • Full-face masks that go over your eyes as well
  • Nose masks with prongs that go into your nose

As long as the mask is sealed enough so that the air pressure from the tube stays constant, the CPAP will do its job. It’s up to you to find out which type is most comfortable on your face, and which straps are best to hold it in place. You may have to try a few different types before you find one you like.

 

At Last

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So you know how when you move to a really cool place you think you will have a lot of visitors from home. Well, when we finally quit begging, we have finally started having guests. Actually Purgatory Ski Resort has started to have guests but we are taking what we can get.

Sadly, after our guests head back to Texas, it tends to snow. Go figure. Yet that doesn’t
stop us from boring them with our favorite sites and events. We get so excited to show off things we love about living in Colorado until we see that their eyes have glazed over. Yet we are thankful that they took the time and effort it takes to travel so far.

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We loved sharing all the wildlife that we feed with our grandchildren. It is amazing if
you aren’t accustomed to seeing squirrels bicker and tussle on your deck. There are so many different birds with all their crazy needs and antics.
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220px-Raccoon_climbing_in_tree_-_Cropped_and_color_correctedWe have raccoons that sneak in onto the deck at night and eat theIMG_0153 bird and squirrel food making sure to destroy the bird feeders. We have resorted to using metal pet bowls for feeding both birds and squirrels. In the past, Rocky Raccoon helped himself to the cat treats in the rounder cabinet. He came through the kitchen window after removing the screen. I supposed the cats revealed the location. They are fascinated but not afraid.

 

s-l225We gave away all the grandchildren’s toys when we left Texas so the three visiting kiddos had no toys to play with. Kids are resilient though, they played with some vintage glass candy that I had in a dish on the end table the entire time they were here. We also have 9 small aquariums with fish, frogs, and shrimp so that had an entertainment factor. Snow and skiing were an added plus, of course. For the adults we have great restaurant’s and micro breweries. We also hit the hot springs for leisure and relaxation.

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Our youngest daughter is pretty darn amazing. She and her husband were in sync and orchestrated the kids care, entertainment and even cooked and cleaned up after. I do have to give their oldest daughter and her friend credit here for helping with the kids and dishes. They all made everything so effortless.

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P3 is here for a month and his mom will be coming to pick him up so we will get to spend a week with her. If we could just get our son and his family here but life keeps interfering. However, it is something more to look forward to.

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Among the Missing

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Wow! It has been a really, really long time since I have posted.

My sabbatical started out as working from home as a law enforcement transcriptionist. Loved the work but got tired of donating my time and stress for very, very little money. I am sure there are many people who make the bucks because they are fast and experienced. and although I have law enforcement administration experience, my transcription skills were rusty. I think I will stick to my volunteer work, that should keep me busy enough.

I have missed blogging so it will be good to get back to it. In my absence, I have gained new followers with some interesting blog sites that I am excited to visit. I should advise that in checking out the list, I have deleted some followers from it.

Among the deleted are those advertising a good or service, empty email addresses and the blog sites that Word Press is unable to locate. I also deleted the blog sites that Word Press has found not to be following the guidelines set out by them and have been booted out. I feel compromised by those using Word Press for advertising or other or hidden agendas – but that’s just me. I have been notified of many new followers @outlook.com which peaked my curiosity. Still not sure what that is about.

Anyway, I am glad to be back and am looking forward to revisiting old friends and developing new ones.

I am on a journey to improved mental and emotional health. I am also experiencing fun and adventure so lots to share. And as always, I remain….

Open-u-nated

 

On Being Self-ish Part Two of Two

45686418-vintage-slogan-with-motivation-vector-illustration
There is a saying,
“God only helps those who help themselves” and it is a saying that I try to live by. Often we think we are helping someone but we are actually enabling them. We can also be robbing that person of an opportunity to gain “strength thru adversity”.  When we overcome an obstacle or solve a problem, it gives us sense of pride and confidence as well as developing reasoning and problem solving skills. The very best things we can offer someone is encouragement and emotional support.

When I left my abusive ex and moved into my mother’s house, she told me that she was Family conflictin a position to financially support me but to do so would cripple me. It was one of the most loving things she could say to me.  What I heard was that she would not let me give up on life. I didn’t need her money but I did need a home even if temporarily and she needed  my help in recovering from a serious illness.

stock-photo-20604007-young-woman-looking-through-red-curtains-rear-viewI had always been independent but now I found myself emotionally broken with little confidence and it would have been too easy to disengage from life. Little by little, a network of supportive people stepped up with encouragement, assistance and helpful information many of whom had just come into my life. Not one of these people would take credit for what I accomplished because it was all done selflessly and with no enabling. I became stronger day by day, regained confidence and got my feet back on the ground. Every step of the way, my mother was in my balcony cheering me on along with many others who I met on the path to wholeness.6610590-Mother-and-teenage-daughter-relaxing-at-home-in-white-living-room-Stock-Photo

All this being said, as much as I would like to jump in with both feet to help this14296015-3d-render-of-a-person-helping-another-man-3d-illustration-of-human-character-people young woman, I would be tapping in to my past experience rather than her present. I am grateful to her for giving me an opportunity to see that I am still a work in progress. I need to come to terms with my abuse by doing my own work before I can become involved in helping someone else.

20638912-young-couple-arguing-in-the-kitchenBeing self-ish is not always easy because we have to put blinders on to others’ perception of who we should be and how we should live.  We will always be responsible for the outcome of our decisions and actions regardless of others’ opinions. Giving consideration to others’ opinions and suggestions can be helpful but in the end we have to do what is best for us and only we know what that is.

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On Being Self-ish Part One of Two

20612432-la-violencia-dom-stica-y-el-abuso-como-un-resumenAs a survivor of domestic violence, I have advocated not walking away from someone who is being abused but instead to do what you can to help. I have complained in my blog that the two people I turned to did not want to be involved. So now I find the shoe on the other foot and wonder if I should have done or should do more.

In order to help others through crisis situations, I have worked for and volunteered for popart-comic-retro-woman-talking-phone-vector-illustration-36967984Crisis Hotline. I am currently on hiatus from Crisis Textline in order to determine where I want to go from here. Assisting domestic violence victims via the Hotline and Textline was something I had the ability to do with no residual affect, becoming personally involved is not in my bag of tricks.

I recently met a young woman that I thought I might enjoy having lunch with from 5939322-a-portrait-of-a-happy-mother-and-daughter-drinking-coffee-outdoortime to time so we exchanged phone numbers and set up a lunch date. Upon arrival at the agreed upon restaurant, I found that she was not there.

 

 

I texted that I was at the restaurant and soon thereafter received an apologetic phone call from her telling me that she couldn’t make it. She said she didn’t want anyone to know but that she could gallery_1_4_8533tell me that her boyfriend had beat her up the night before and one side of her face was badly bruised. I felt a responsibility to offer emotional support so I offered my strength, hope and experience. When she said that she had never been beat before this badly, I asked if it was a pattern and she said it wasn’t. Yet, several times she repeated that she had never been beat like that before.

She also became confused about where her purse was and offering that she had several9610217-young-caucasian-woman-in-a-kitchen-weeps-while-on-the-phoneinstances of head trauma from sports and recreational accidents. She said she had PTSD from being raped as a child. In the beginning I asked if she wanted to accompany me on my errands but she claimed she was too embarrassed. I suggested that she might need her family’s support but she said she had disappointed them too many times. She said she might take her dog and go to a motel for the night and it didn’t occur to me that she might be hoping that I would offer to have her stay at my house. As the conversation proceeded, I saw more and more red flags warning me that I needed to distance myself. She suggested we could have lunch at a restaurant in her apartment complex and I pled off saying I didn’t know where it was though it wouldn’t have been hard to find since I knew where the complex was located. She questioned that I didn’t know where it was and I became exasperated and insisted that I didn’t.

Eventually, I said though I hated to I had to go because I needed to get my errands12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundcompleted and told her to call me later so I would know she was okay. She agreed insolently and we ended the call. I thought a lot about the situation and what I would do if I heard from her again. I knew in my heart that I did not want to get any more involved but on the flip side, I felt a responsibility to help. For the next few days I found that the situation was a trigger for me. I started having disturbing thoughts and feeling trapped.

I decided pretty quickly that I had to be honest and let her know that having 15817148-heart-and-brain-that-dance-concept-of-physical-wellbeingfriendship with her would not work for me. When I was in counseling for the domestic violence I was told that I needed to cut ties with my ex and any and all mutual ties through others. It was like they were a combination of hook and trigger. My trauma was triggered by this encounter to the point where I decided to go back into counseling.

Sleep Apnea (Part Three of Three)

My sister takes very good care of her health but has constant dark circles under her eyes and gets tired and sleepy along with other symptoms. My brother also has dark circles and so many symptoms that it is a no brainer. He recently had surgery and his condition deteriorated to the point where it appeared he wouldn’t live. Doctors could not understand what caused it because the surgery wasn’t major enough to bring it about. He has always been slow to heal but this was very serious. I’m no doctor but knowing what I know now, I would bet that it has to do with his sleep apnea. However, as I have written before there comes a point where you just have to let go and allow people make their own decisions and experience consequences.

I had a lady tell me that her husband has obvious Sleep Apnea but is too macho to use a CPAP machine. Using a machine for a minimum of four hours a night for the rest of your  life seems to be the main deterrent. Yet, many have become dependent on sleep medications that don’t last more than four hours and do not supply restful sleep. I thought I was sleeping good after we moved to Colorado from Texas but in actuality I was getting very little restful sleep. In my opinion, most of us don’t give enough credibility to how important sleep is to our overall health.

Once I overcame many of the obstacles to sleeping comfortably with the CPAP, I have come to truly enjoy using it. I love the feeling of fresh air blowing into my face and have added aromatherapy to keep my sinuses clear. I have had a need to have air blowing in my face for quite some time thinking it was helping me breathe and it was. It’s nice to no longer have to lie awake for 2 hours before getting to sleep or dread going to bed knowing that sleep won’t come easily.

I now fall asleep easily and pretty much sleep through the night. I previously would get up sometimes 10 times a night to empty my bladder. While I would go a little, it was not enough to justify getting up for most people. But I could not sleep because I was obsessed with the urge to go. The truth of the matter is that often I would worry that I would have to get up which triggered the power of suggestion.

Getting adjusted to using the CPAP is not a walk in the park for most people but the suppliers know this and have come up with products that make using it more tolerable. There are many, many people who are dependent on CPAP therapy and most experience or have experienced common issues. By sharing what works for each of us, we all benefit. There is even a forum for CPAP users.

I have found cushy covers to pad the straps and liners for my mask that keep me from having air leaks and increases comfort. I add aromatherapy to keep my sinuses clear negating the day to day sinus cleansing and I have a hose management aid. Medicare pays for new masks complete with headgear and filters every 3 months and per my doctor’s  prescribed that I be provided a mask of my choice and I have been through four before I found the one that is right for me. I no longer have the whooshing sound of the air coming in and out and don’t hear my breathing magnified. Being diligent in my therapy has improved my lie immensely after just four months.

Physically, mentally and emotionally I feel much more healthy. I have more energy and feel more alert, and I find it easier to manage my anxiety and impulse control. I still get sleepy during the day but it is getting better.

If you suspect or if someone suggests that you have sleep apnea, please at least get tested or suggest that they be tested. It is much more important than you might think.

 

In Defense of Truth and the Media

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake gave a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, delivering his message to President Trump that assaults on the media and freedom of speech have the potential to cause damage beyond America’s borders. The speech comes on the same day that Mr. Trump says he will announce a set of “Fake News Awards,” addressing what he sees as bias in the mainstream media.

The full transcript of Senator Flake’s comments, as prepared for delivery, appear below.  


Mr. President, near the beginning of the document that made us free, our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” So, from our very beginnings, our freedom has been predicated on truth. The founders were visionary in this regard, understanding well that good faith and shared facts between the governed and the government would be the very basis of this ongoing idea of America.

As the distinguished former member of this body, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” During the past year, I am alarmed to say that Senator Moynihan’s proposition has likely been tested more severely than at any time in our history.

It is for that reason that I rise today, to talk about the truth, and its relationship to democracy. For without truth, and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts, Mr. President, our democracy will not last.

2017 was a year which saw the truth – objective, empirical, evidence-based truth — more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government. It was a year which saw the White House enshrine “alternative facts” into the American lexicon, as justification for what used to be known simply as good old-fashioned falsehoods. It was the year in which an unrelenting daily assault on the constitutionally-protected free press was launched by that same White House, an assault that is as unprecedented as it is unwarranted. “The enemy of the people,” was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017.

Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase “enemy of the people,” that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with the supreme leader.

This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president’s party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements. And, of course, the president has it precisely backward – despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him “fake news,” it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

I dare say that anyone who has the privilege and awesome responsibility to serve in this chamber knows that these reflexive slurs of “fake news” are dubious, at best. Those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones and other troubled areas around the globe, encounter members of U.S. based media who risk their lives, and sometimes lose their lives, reporting on the truth.  To dismiss their work as fake news is an affront to their commitment and their sacrifice.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, 80 journalists were killed in 2017, and a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists documents that the number of journalists imprisoned around the world has reached 262, which is a new record. This total includes 21 reporters who are being held on “false news” charges.

Mr. President, so powerful is the presidency that the damage done by the sustained attack on the truth will not be confined to the president’s time in office.  Here in America, we do not pay obeisance to the powerful – in fact, we question the powerful most ardently – to do so is our birthright and a requirement of our citizenship — and so, we know well that no matter how powerful, no president will ever have dominion over objective reality.

No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not. And anyone who presumes to try to attack or manipulate the truth to his own purposes should be made to realize the mistake and be held to account. That is our job here. And that is just as Madison, Hamilton, and Jay would have it.

Of course, a major difference between politicians and the free press is that the press usually corrects itself when it gets something wrong. Politicians don’t.

No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions.  And Mr. President, an American president who cannot take criticism – who must constantly deflect and distort and distract – who must find someone else to blame — is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.

Now, we are told via twitter that today the president intends to announce his choice for the “most corrupt and dishonest” media awards. It beggars belief that an American president would engage in such a spectacle. But here we are.

And so, 2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it. In this effort, the choice is quite simple. And in this effort, the truth needs as many allies as possible. Together, my colleagues, we are powerful. Together, we have it within us to turn back these attacks, right these wrongs, repair this damage, restore reverence for our institutions, and prevent further moral vandalism.

Together, united in the purpose to do our jobs under the Constitution, without regard to party or party loyalty, let us resolve to be allies of the truth — and not partners in its destruction.

It is not my purpose here to inventory all of the official untruths of the past year. But a brief survey is in order. Some untruths are trivial – such as the bizarre contention regarding the crowd size at last year’s inaugural.

But many untruths are not at all trivial – such as the seminal untruth of the president’s political career – the oft-repeated conspiracy about the birthplace of President Obama. Also not trivial are the equally pernicious fantasies about rigged elections and massive voter fraud, which are as destructive as they are inaccurate – to the effort to undermine confidence in the federal courts, federal law enforcement, the intelligence community and the free press, to perhaps the most vexing untruth of all – the supposed “hoax” at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

To be very clear, to call the Russia matter a “hoax” – as the president has many times – is a falsehood. We know that the attacks orchestrated by the Russian government during the election were real and constitute a grave threat to both American sovereignty and to our national security.  It is in the interest of every American to get to the bottom of this matter, wherever the investigation leads.

Ignoring or denying the truth about hostile Russian intentions toward the United States leaves us vulnerable to further attacks. We are told by our intelligence agencies that those attacks are ongoing, yet it has recently been reported that there has not been a single cabinet-level meeting regarding Russian interference and how to defend America against these attacks. Not one. What might seem like a casual and routine untruth – so casual and routine that it has by now become the white noise of Washington – is in fact a serious lapse in the defense of our country.

Mr. President, let us be clear. The impulses underlying the dissemination of such untruths are not benign. They have the effect of eroding trust in our vital institutions and conditioning the public to no longer trust them. The destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated.

Mr. President, every word that a president utters projects American values around the world. The values of free expression and a reverence for the free press have been our global hallmark, for it is our ability to freely air the truth that keeps our government honest and keeps a people free. Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler. And so, respect for freedom of the press has always been one of our most important exports.

But a recent report published in our free press should raise an alarm. Reading from the story:

“In February…Syrian President Bashar Assad brushed off an Amnesty International report that some 13,000 people had been killed at one of his military prisons by saying, “You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.”

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has complained of being “demonized” by “fake news.” Last month, the report continues, with our President, quote “laughing by his side” Duterte called reporters “spies.”

In July, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained to the Russian propaganda outlet, that the world media had “spread lots of false versions, lots of lies” about his country, adding, “This is what we call ‘fake news’ today, isn’t it?”

There are more:

“A state official in Myanmar recently said, “There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news,” referring to the persecuted ethnic group.  

Leaders in Singapore, a country known for restricting free speech, have promised “fake news” legislation in the new year.”

And on and on. This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President. Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. This is reprehensible.

We are not in a “fake news” era, as Bashar Assad says. We are, rather, in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself, to challenge free people and free societies, everywhere.

In our own country, from the trivial to the truly dangerous, it is the range and regularity of the untruths we see that should be cause for profound alarm, and spur to action. Add to that the by-now predictable habit of calling true things false, and false things true, and we have a recipe for disaster.  As George Orwell warned, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Any of us who have spent time in public life have endured news coverage we felt was jaded or unfair. But in our positions, to employ even idle threats to use laws or regulations to stifle criticism is corrosive to our democratic institutions. Simply put: it is the press’s obligation to uncover the truth about power. It is the people’s right to criticize their government. And it is our job to take it.

What is the goal of laying siege to the truth? President John F. Kennedy, in a stirring speech on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America, was eloquent in answer to that question:

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

Mr. President, the question of why the truth is now under such assault may well be for historians to determine. But for those who cherish American constitutional democracy, what matters is the effect on America and her people and her standing in an increasingly unstable world — made all the more unstable by these very fabrications. What matters is the daily disassembling of our democratic institutions.

 We are a mature democracy – it is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring – or worse, endorsing — these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost. 

 I sincerely thank my colleagues for their indulgence today. I will close by borrowing the words of an early adherent to my faith that I find has special resonance at this moment. His name was John Jacques, and as a young missionary in England he contemplated the question: “What is truth?” His search was expressed in poetry and ultimately in a hymn that I grew up with, titled “Oh Say, What is Truth.” It ends as follows:

“Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first,

For the limits of time it steps o’er.

Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst.

Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,

Eternal… unchanged… evermore.”

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

CBS NEWS

Sleep Apnea (Part Two of Three Parts)

When I told Dr. Washburn that I was sleeping well at night, he explained to me that my apneas (breathing stops) would cause my brain to shout, “Wake up, wake up and breathe” I would start breathing and be right back to sleep without even realizing that I woke up. There were times that I probably woke up without realizing why and thought I had to use the potty explaining why I would go up to 10 times a night.

Having the apnea documented in order for insurance to pay for the therapy is a hoop jumping process. I went through a regimen of tests which included x-rays and blood tests to rule out everything else, a home sleep study, a lab sleep study and four pulse Oximetry’s.

The first test was pulse oximetry I had that showed a significant drop in heart rate when I slept. I don’t recall the numbers but the pulmonologist explained that I woke up 94 times. I was in denial because I certainly didn’t remember waking that many times. He explained that when my heart rate dropped or I stopped breathing, my brain would alert me to wake up and start breathing. He said I wouldn’t be conscious of being awake for the periods of time it took to start breathing again because they were very short. A technician also explained to me that we can be awake without being conscious of it which explains my being awake for two hours without it seeming like it. As if that wasn’t scary enough, I did a home sleep study that showed that I stopped breathing 699 times in about 6 hours.

I was put on a trial 30 day CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. The CPAP provider monitors my sleep and breathing activity by transmissions from my machine directly to them and the provider keeps the Pulmonologist apprised.

I had to have an in-lab sleep study done after the 30 day trial period to show that the therapy was working. My apneas were greatly reduced though my heart rate still drops enough that the pulmonologist wanted to add oxygen titration to my machine. The study showed that it wasn’t much under the satisfactory minimum so Medicare said no. Heck, I was just happy to have them pay for the machine and supplies. I had been fortunate in that I had turned 65 right before the therapy was prescribed so I had to go on Medicare in addition to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Medicare has less stringent requirements than Blue Cross. I am sure I would have qualified even for Blue Cross since my tests showed the Sleep Apnea to be severe.