Conquering Sleep Apnea Part 2

My last post ended with me finding out that I did indeed have sleep apnea and that there were a few options available to me for treatment. This post is a lot more technical in nature but I feel it’s necessary for those who are about to go through the process. It’s a sticky situation and if you go into it with more knowledge than ignorance, you’re more likely to have a smoother transition than I did. I knew nothing and that meant I’d have to do my research.

I’m always uncomfortable looking into something I don’t understand in the slightest bit. And for me, health care and insurance is well out of my comfort zone. The first thing I had to figure out was what would be covered by insurance. How much was this all going to cost me? Before I had ever even taken that test, I had learned that my insurance would only cover at home tests. Now everyone’s coverage is different but this was a specific stipulation of mine. I had already taken one at home test but I was worried about anything in the future. What if my doctor refused to acknowledge the test I had just shoveled out $300 for? What if they demanded me to take a test in a lab, something I wasn’t covered for? I knew this issue of not breathing in my sleep was important enough to combat but there was a lot of fear of the unknown so I prayed, and made a doctor’s appointment.

Remember those options they presented me with for solutions? Well, the oral device came with cons. It could get your jaw out of alignment with regular use and I wasn’t sure if it would be covered by insurance since it was in the dental realm. The CPAP machine was covered but there were some details I didn’t really know about. I figured I’d go for the CPAP and cut to the chase. In order to do that, I needed a referral from my doctor. That part was easy enough but I’d have to go to a ear, nose and throat doctor to get my actual prescription for the machine. While all of this may have been necessary, it was frustrating to be bumped around from one doctor to the next, all the while missing critical hours in my work day that I would later have to make up. The new doctor that was going to give me my prescription wasn’t the warmest man I had ever met. He was actually fairly abrasive and seemed ready to shuffle me on as soon as he could. He said with my level of apnea, I really didn’t need a CPAP. He recommended I get an oral device and lose some weight. (What a gentleman huh?) I told him my concerns with the oral device manipulating my jaw. He assured me it wouldn’t be a problem and sent me on my way. So, as if I didn’t have enough doctors appointments under my belt, I had to go back to the dentist to discuss this oral device.

I learned that I would need to get a check-up before progressing with this oral device. They’d need to see if any work would need to be done before they custom made my device. You see, this device was very expensive at $3K to be exact. That meant I wouldn’t be getting a new one anytime soon. If any work needed to be done to my teeth, it would need to happen first before the mold was made for the device to perfectly fit. Upon my exam I learned I needed sealants and my wisdom teeth out. Each came with its own hefty price tag. That meant lots of money spent, lots of work done and lots of time passed before I’d get any treatment for my sleep apnea. It just didn’t make sense. This option was not the one for me. So, again, I called my doctor’s office and asked for a new referral to a new ear, nose and throat doctor. I was not going back to that other guy again.

Ugh! I know what you’re thinking… yes, it was a lot of back and forth. Trust me, the last thing I wanted to do was to continuously go through this loop of never ending insanity. I had to get help though and this was the only way to do it so I went to my new referred doctor. He was much kinder and I really liked his nurse. Shout out to nurses, they have often been the reason I have stuck with a doctor. I told him EVERYTHING I had been through and it wasn’t long before he put in a prescription for me to get a CPAP. Finally, I would get what I needed. I was getting somewhere! Now I only had one more place to visit before I would be sleeping comfortably. I’d need to iron out the details for my CPAP but I was so very close! Stay tuned for Part 3 coming soon.

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