26 February 2011

Full Face Mask

This gigantic mask is going to be Vera's lifesaver.

It's a full face one, meaning it covers both her mouth and nose. It looks similar to the first one she tried 2 years ago.

Her current mask only covers her nose. For the air pressure to enter her lungs, Vera's mouth has to be closed.

The problem is, Vera sleeps with her mouth open. So whatever air pressure the BiPAP is giving is escaping through her mouth. And because she breathe mostly through her mouth instead of her nose, the machine is not detecting those 'mouth breaths' and mistakenly thinks that she only take very few 'nose breaths'. It therefore does not 'kick in' as much as required, and is under-supporting her.

To illustrate more clearly, previously Vera was taking 30 breaths/min. But the machine was only supporting 10 of those breaths. Now she's taking 34 breaths/min and the machine is supporting 30 of those breaths. It's a closer match.

Finally, ANSWERS to her sleep perspiration and fitful sleep.

It's not the machine, it's the mask!

With the full face mask, her sats improve. It's clear that this is what she needs. Managing the mask - positioning, leakage, dealing with condensation, dry eyes, shifts in position are things we have to readjust to.

But it's Vera who has the most adapting to do. From a weightless silicone mask, she now finds a huge hard plastic THING on her face. She can no longer touch her mouth. She taps the plastic, still trying to figure out what it is.

As there is no full face mask designed for kids (correct me if I'm wrong), we have to look for an adult nasal mask, and hope it fits her nose and mouth. The hospital offered us the one in the picture from Respirionics, but we are searching for others to see what fits Vera best.

New stuff to get used to again. Just when I was looking forward to going back to cruise mode.

Vera, you sure keep us on our toes all the time.