Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Gadget Reviews, Humor, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Preparation & Readiness, Technology & Camping, Traveling Tips
CAMPING WITH A CPAP
It is a mode of respiratory ventilation commonly used in the treatment of sleep apnea.
Ten years ago, very few individuals owned or used CPAP machines at home. Now, the numbers of people using CPAP have risen quickly as sleep study technicians and doctors are prescribing them to their patients.
It all started for me last winter.
I would awaken in the morning feeling as if I had never been to bed. I was tired and took frequent daytime naps. My wife, and bed partner, noticed one night that I appeared to stop breathing (she was still awake – reading a book). It really scared her because she thought I had a heart attack and was dead. Fortunately, I was not dead – I apparently had an episode of sleep apnea.
I made an appointment with my primary care physician to see about my chronic fatigue. After he did the customary exam, he told me that he would set up an appointment for a sleep study.
I arrived at the sleep study lab a few nights later. The technical attached a gazillion electrode patches to my head, chest, and legs and told me to go to sleep. A few hours later, she woke me up and put a soft plastic mask over my nose that was blowing air. I then went back to sleep.
I met with the doctor a couple of days later. He shared a report complied from the sleep study that showed that I stopped breathing for periods up to almost a minute 19 times during the study. He explained that each time I stopped breathing my body would supply Adeline comparable to my running a mile to get my breathing going again.
Unknowingly, I was running 19 miles during the night – no wonder I woke up feeling tired!
The doctor prescribed use of a CPAP machine. They checked my insurance coverage and sent me to a home medical supplier to pick out my CPAP machine.
I was given the choice of three different machines. Each was a top rated unit with a humidifier. Only one of the machines offered would work off of 12 volts DC – a power source that I would need when camping in places that had no electrical hook-ups. Of the other two, one only used 120 volt AC and the other needed 24 volts DC from the power block – a voltage not readily available in a RV.
I selected the Phillips Respironics REMstar Pro C-Flex+ only because it could be operated directly from a 12 volt DC source. This required replacing the 120-volt power pack with an optional 12-volt DC cord that had a cigarette lighter plug on one end ($23.00 add on cost). Having a 12-volt DC outlet beside the bed in our camper made this choice a no-brainer.
If I had chosen one of the other two CPAP machines offered I could have still used them in a power outage or dry camping situation by adding another layer of electronic equipment. Both would have needed a battery-powered inverter, which supplies 120 volts AC. These are OK, but lack the efficiency you get with a directly connected battery device because some of the energy is wasted by the inverter. The needed optional equipment can range from under $50 to several hundred depending on your availability of an existing 12-volt DC source.
Perhaps the better option for CPAP machines that cannot be directly powered by a 12-volt DC source is a portable power pack that contains a battery and an inverter. The batteries in these power packs are sealed gel cell or AGM type and are safe for indoor use.
Campers that must use CPAP machines will not be without options for supplying the needed electricity for operation. But, simplicity and being able to reduce the additional hardware, batteries, and inverters needed makes for more reliable and efficient operation.
BTW – I absolutely hate the mask I must wear at night. After three months of use, I am slowly getting comfortable with it being strapped on. But, the biggest benefit is I no longer wake up in the mornings feeling like I just ran a marathon.
Thumbnail photo of a camper in a sleeping bag with a CPAP machine courtesy of Sleep Resources – http://sleepingresources.com/cpap-sleep-apnea-machine/
HAPPY CAMPING TRAILS TO ALL!
Sleep Resources http://sleepingresources.com/cpap-sleep-apnea-machine/