The Average Joes

By Stephiya S,

John is an average American man: he loves baseball and football and he has a loving and supporting family. He also has a well-paying job that has allowed him to give his family the best. Despite all this success and fortune in his life, John has a problem: he snores a lot. John had been snoring for a while, but because his dad had snored too, he did not think much about it. His kids, a 16 year old daughter and 14 year old son, noticed it, too. They would tease him by saying things like, “I heard the train come into the station last night,” or making jokes like, “Why do female black widow spiders kill the males after mating? To stop the snoring before it starts.” This upset John very much, but he went along with the jokes.
The first person to notice that the snoring had gotten more severe was his wife Cassie. She knew that John had been snoring, but she noticed that her husband frequently stopped breathing during sleep and she became concerned. The situation became more urgent when he began to choke in his sleep. His wife became very worried so they paid a visit to their family physician. The doctor concluded that John had the symptoms for sleep apnea, but to be sure, he sent John for a sleep study. The tests showed John stopped breathing during sleep 125 times per hour and that he had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The doctor recommended CPAP therapy since the choking episodes were more frequent than usual and since John suffered from OSA. “Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy uses a machine to help a person breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe in,” the doctor explained to them. However, John, being the manly man he is, did not like the idea of having to sleep with a machine attached to him because he thought he would lose his dignity. Eventually, Cassie convinced John to wear the machine by saying that she would not know how to live without him and told John to think of the kids’ lives.
Because of his wife, John forced himself to look past the inconveniences of sleeping with the mask and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, and within a week or two, he was sleeping much better. For John, using CPAP is also a lot easier now because he sees the results of staying committed. In follow-up sessions with his doctor, John has said, “I feel so much more rested when I wake up now. I’ve always been a high-energy guy anyway and now I feel like my old self again.” The choice that John made to wear the mask and use the machine saved his life and the lives of his family.

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