Today is day 6 of my UPPP recovery and I am pretty confident in saying that my short-term experience with my sleep apnea correction is over.
I read a lot of horror stories on the internet which almost convinced me not to move forward, but I am glad that I did. This is just my experience. Every doctor is different. Every procedure is different. People heal differently. I suggest that you do your own research and make your own decision obviously, but I am hoping that my experience will help you with what to expect.
First of all, don’t try to be a hero and not take your pain meds. The nurses will ask how you are feeling and give you medication based on that, they don’t automatically give you anything. As soon as you wake up, tell them you are in pain and try to keep an eye on the clock. Take note of when you start feeling pain and how long after you take the medication you stop feeling pain. For me, the morphine only lasted for about an hour. The “elixirs” they gave me worked a lot better. They lasted about 4 hours and took about 30 minutes to peak. This means at about 3.5 hours I was asking for it.
The saline sprays are important to keep your nose lubricated, otherwise your nose will produce it’s own form of lubrication by way of mucous and really clog things up. I learned this the hard way because the night nurse didn’t force me to take them the way the day nurse did.
I did not speak a word the first day. I don’t know if this helped, but I didn’t want to cause any extra pain. I’ve read stories of people talking too much and causing pain. I also didn’t eat anything the first day either, and I stayed on soup, jello, pudding, and water until the doctor said my throat was healing fine. I wanted to make sure everything was ok in there before I started forcing solids.
Once I got home, sinus rinses kept me open. I used an ear syringe to suck up any extra mucous I had sitting around in my nose. At the doctor’s recommendation, I gargled with half water/peroxide just to keep my mouth clean. This helped a lot as well.
I lay in bed with a lot pillows so that I can sleep at an incline. Even though the doctor said I should try my CPAP machine once I got the stents out, I haven’t had a need for it because I have been sleeping very well. He said it was ok, as long as I monitored my energy levels and my wife watched my breathing while asleep. I will probably need to do another sleep study in about 6-8 weeks, but he didn’t want to get to ahead and say I was healed. I suppose that’s a safe route, but I can honestly say I feel healed. My wife has not noticed any apneas and I am sleeping straight through the night.
Getting my sleep apnea corrected was very important, not just for better rest, but to avoid any permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen. Studies have shown that long-time apnea sufferers have shown up to 20% brain loss on the left side. The left side is the analytical side of the brain, and very important for my line of work. I’m not a model, athlete, or artist. Sleep apnea also increases the risk of strokes and high blood pressure/ heart attack. For me, it also made me very cranky and hard to deal with sometimes.
If you have sleep apnea, I suggest you get it taken care of as soon as possible. It is a very serious condition. Hopefully your path to recovery is as blessed as mine.