I just discovered my husband has sleep apnea. Now what?

“But only obese people get sleep apnea.” That was my first thought when the doctor had told my husband and I that he suffers from sleep apnea.

I always thought he was just a loud, obnoxious snorer. It was difficult for me to sleep next to me, but I sucked it up for 2 years because that’s what marriage is isn’t it? Sucking it up.

But as of a couple months ago, I had noticed that he would make strange noises at night. I was getting concerned, and after enough nagging, my husband finally made an appointment to see a doctor and figure out what was happening.

I dropped him off one evening for his appointment to do a nocturnal polysomnography test. Basically, they hooked him up to equipment that monitors all sorts of things: lungs, heart, brain waves, sleep patterns, blood oxygen levels, and movement. He slept there for the night and I got the first good night’s sleep in years.

Two weeks went by before we were contacted about a follow-up appointment. It was then where we told that the cause of his snoring and weird noises was due to the fact that he has sleep apnea. It was very unexpected.

My first guess was that he had a deviated septum but sleep apnea? Neither of us really knew what that was or what it meant going forward.

Our doctor was very helpful in explaining sleep apnea and in giving us all the necessary informative we needed to help my husband go through these changes.

He suggested that my husband start sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Honestly, the image that popped into my head was pretty scary. I didn’t want to wake up to him wearing this contraption on his face for the rest of my life.

But what choice did I have? The doctor gave us  suggestions for CPAPs and we went home to do more research about sleep apnea. My husband ordered a CPAP and, in three days, my scary nightmare came true, although I imagine it was a lot scarier for him.

For the whole week, I never really thought about how this was affecting HIS life, only how it was affecting mine. So, before the first night of using the CPAP, I sat my husband down and asked him how he was coping.

He confessed that the whole situation gave him anxiety, but he was playing it cool so that I wouldn’t worry about him. He never expected to be diagnosed with a condition like this.

He even apologized for being such a burden, which of course, I told him he never has to apologize for something like this. His health is #1 to me, and I would do anything to help him adjust to this change as easily and comfortably as possible.

The first few days of using the CPAP were a struggle for him. He spent hours trying to figure out why he was having all these problems and how to fix them.

He would toss and turn and have trouble falling asleep from uncomfortableness. Some nights, I would wake up and he wouldn’t have it on. I would wake him up first most because

I was scared he wasn’t breathing. When he would wake up, I would nag at him to put it on, doctor’s orders. It took a couple weeks before he got use to sleeping with it on.

But then came another struggle: he was too lazy to clean it. Me, being the loving, caring wife I am, would clean it for him, because I read about the importance of keeping your CPAP clean.

Again, my husband would apologize and kept assuring me that he would do better, but he didn’t seem all that concerned about it.

So, I took to the internet to try to find a solution for cleaning his CPAP quicker and easier. I searched forums and sleep blogs before I came across a CPAP cleaner that looked promising. We decided to give it a try and it worked absolute wonders.

Purchasing a cleaning machine is a huge time saver and now I can actually get back to doing things I love in the morning like make breakfast or watch the morning news before work. Plus, my husband feels a lot better now that I’m not wasting my own time slaving over his sleep apnea problem.

It’s been an interesting couple of months but I can gladly say that we have fully accepted his sleep apnea and have figure out how to move past it.

Yes, sleeping next to him is still a little strange, but I’m glad to have had my husband get diagnosed this early on so that we can take steps like having the CPAP and CPAP cleaner to make sure he stays healthy and alive.

Melissa Artobello

Melissa Artobello is a married women living in California with her husband who suffers from sleep apnea.