CPAP Followup

Back in August I wrote that I was getting ready to start using a CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. In general, it’s a machine that helps people sleep better so that they’re less tired. Or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen. I’m going to tell you the real deal and give you an update on what’s going on with me.


by Robert
Anthony Provost

I guess the most important thing for you to know is that I’m still using it. This must mean that something good is happening for me. Here’s the truth. I still feel tired at some point throughout the day, and still have those times when I just have to take a nap. Sometimes it’s within a couple of hours after waking up, even before I’ve eaten something, which tells me it’s not related to eating the wrong thing, although it’s still possible that it’s related to diabetes.

But here’s a truth. When I sleep with the CPAP, I wake up actually feeling better than I do if I don’t wear it. The proof once again came to me two weeks ago, when I was out of town for a couple of days on a consulting assignment. I decided to leave the CPAP at home, worried that I might not hear the alarm going off each morning. I won’t be making that mistake again.

The CPAP actually helps me sleep better during the night. What I think it does is keeps me from shaking or moving as much because I stop breathing. Not that I don’t move or even wake up, because that still happens. However, I wake up and I’m breathing, and fairly deep as well. And I’m not always in the same place I was when I fell asleep, which can sometimes be scary (my wife and I don’t keep the same hours; I think that pleases her some lol).

So I wake up and have energy. Often it’s enough energy that I can head to the gym without being tired and I’m alert. It’s a pretty good feeling, one I’ve not had in my life. However, it doesn’t always last a long time. As I said, sometimes within a couple of hours I feel like I need another nap, and often it’s before I’ve eaten anything, since I rarely eat within the first hour I’m up. If that’s the case then I’ll set myself up to take a nap, but I’ve learned to take naps with the CPAP as well. I think it must be a breathing thing because every once in awhile I just need the mask on for maybe 10 minutes and I’m fine. Other times I do fall asleep, but when I awaken I feel pretty good.

Now, there are some other issues as well. I didn’t talk about it last time but I had this issue for the longest time with air blowing in my eyes. I tried 4 different masks until I settled on the one I have now, which blew the least amount of air into my eyes. Then my wife got me a sleep mask, and that’s taken care of that problem. Yes, it’s weird waking up all the time in darkness until I take the mask off, but that’s easy to get used to.

Another issue is how one breathes. I have what’s called a full face mask, which means it covers both my mouth and nose, so I can breathe either way. However, if you breathe too much through your mouth your throat can get really dry.

My CPAP has a humidifier, and the settings on the humidifier can be interesting to figure out, especially if you can’t stop breathing through your mouth too much. Too much humidity and you’re coughing a lot. Too little and you might as well not even be using the humidifier. And then there’s the temperature in the room. If it’s hot, it negatively affects using the humidifier, no matter what it’s on. The humidifier actually heats up the air you’re breathing, so if it’s cool you breathe the best, but the rest of you might not be too happy.

And of course there’s the noise. Initially you hear almost nothing, which works okay because I run a fan to help me get to sleep anyway. Later, once the pressure gets to maximum, you have to hear noise because the machine is making sure there’s no build up of carbon dioxide; wouldn’t pay to have the machine kill you when it’s purpose is to help you live longer. If you’re breathing properly the noise is minimal; if not, it’s much louder, and if you don’t like the sound you’ll go nuts. I like the sound so I always fall back to sleep like a baby.

The two major signs of sleep apnea, which the CPAP addresses, are that you always wake up tired, or you snore really loudly when you sleep. I was the first one, although my wife said I had times when I did snore loudly; that is, if I slept at all. If you have either of those on a consistent basis, go see someone for it and at least get tested. So many people said they couldn’t imagine wearing a mask while trying to sleep. Well I said the same thing about that as I did about injecting myself. You’ll try whatever you can to feel better.

Yes, I’ve gotten used to it; and I’m never going back from it again.

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Twitter Numbers; What The Hey?

I’ve been on Twitter almost 3 years now. When I first joined, if a person had a lot of followers they had just under 20,000 people. Now if you don’t have followers into the hundreds of thousands, you’re pretty much considered a loser.

I guess I’m a loser. I have around 2,700 followers, and I’m following just over 1,000 people at the same time. In general, I’m thinking that’s not a bad ratio, and for the most part I’m okay with those figures.

For the most part, that is. I get a lot of requests each day from people I’ve never heard of saying they’re following me and giving me the option of following them. Actually, I guess it’s more accurate to say Twitter sends me these messages. What I do is look through almost every one of them to see what these people are all about, and how they communicate with others.

You know what? For the most part they’re junk. I mean, sometimes you have a profile that had lots of messages with fewer than 10 words. Sometimes they’re only quotes; often they’re just sales messages. Most of the time they’re links or retweets. That’s certainly a lot of Twitter blather.

Nothing really wrong with that, I guess, but is it, well, social? Actually, let me go back and say there is something wrong with it. Something I don’t like is that I know that most of these people are automatically signing up with each other and not looking at anyone who’s following them. They may not ever even go to Twitter and read any messages; they may not ever respond to anyone who sends them a message. Instead, they just hook up with everyone else and end up with some fantastic numbers.

What kind of numbers? I regularly am being contacted by people with at least 5,000 people following them. Often I have people with more than 20,000 others following them. And you know what? Some of those have never even posted a single message; what the hey?

I’d be jealous if I really thought these people were popular. One of those interesting things is that these people end up with very high Klout scores, and maybe that’s one reason I’m not trusting Klout at all. I wish I could remember who did it, but one guy actually set up a false account with software and did an experiment where it automatically not only went out searching for people to follow but automatically followed anyone who followed the account. Within a week his new account had over 5,000 followers, and it hadn’t send out a single tweet. And that account’s Klout score was over 65; it was amazing.

He then set up the account to automatically start posting messages, which were all links, and within 3 days the follower count increased to 7,000, and at the end of the week the Klout score was around 75.

Frankly, if it’s that easy to game the system, I’m not sure I want to deal with it. Sure, I want more influence, but at what cost? Is one being influential if they’re actually talking to no one? And if one’s posts are being retweeted but none of those people are ever stopping to check out the links, then are you really influential or just feeling a false sense of the word?

By the way, this isn’t a Twitter bash. I have lots of fun on Twitter, and I know that by posting my blog links to it from time to time that I’ve encouraged people to stop by my blogs for a quick visit here and there. I will say, though, that I lament much of the technology that’s made it kind of a mess here and there by people who could care less.

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Are You An Original?

I’m not always up to date on everything, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. I read and listen to a lot of interviews with people on various subjects, but sometimes it takes me awhile to get to it. A couple of days ago I finally got to a recorded interview Willie Crawford did with a guy named Paul Evans, who runs a website called Nicheology. It helps people learn how to make money through internet marketing, but this guy’s got a real world pedigree of creating and still owning regular businesses as well. He actually had a lot of good things to say during this interview, which took place in November 2008, but I came away with one thing in particular.

Willie asked him what were 3 reasons he believed most people fail at internet marketing. His first answer was the biggie for me: “being a complete copycat.” That’s it, short, sweet and simple. He goes on to say that many people buy a lot of products seeing how someone else did it, or goes to see what someone else did as far as creating their website or marketing their product online and tries to copy it, and then it doesn’t work and they blame whatever it was they read or just find that it’s not working as well for them. He believes that we learn from others by taking things they’ve done and finding new ways of applying them to whatever it is we do or want to do, because even within the same niche nothing is ever the same from person to person or business to business.

I found that an incredible statement and true as well. My wife and I were in the car a few nights ago and she was saying how many of the songs today sound the exact same. I thought back on disco and how, after awhile, you could tell the junk from the good stuff because the junk sounded exactly like something else you’d already heard. And let’s not even get into that European electronic music of the late 80’s and early 80’s; you could have put a monkey in front of the mike and not known who was singing a particular song.

Are you an original? I like to think I am, but at the same time, I acknowledge that I probably could have made things a lot easier if I hadn’t gone into so many things with so much skepticism. I mention Willie because he’s the guy who put together that book I market to the right about 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day, one of the few books that I’ve actually ever gotten something out of, which is why I’ve listened to some of the interviews he’s done and given over the years. True, he’s always marketing, yet there’s something about him that just comes across as original and authentic.

I think that for the most part most of you who visit this blog are extremely original, and I love that. I still feel somewhat cheated when I go to see a blog post and I see the same exact things spouted about how to be successful in internet marketing or blogging that I’ve seen time and time again. I mean, some concepts are what they are; commenting on other blogs will help your blog to grow and there’s no debate about that. But telling people that it’s a new concept is not only a lie, but it’s not original.

Originality is a great thing to strive for; being contrary isn’t. Contrarianism for argument’s sake gets you nothing except a little bit of attention. Taking the opposite side of something you don’t believe in just wastes people’s time. Sometimes it’s way too transparent as well; if I started saying I support efforts of… no, I don’t want to give anything I hate negative attention so I’ll let it go there. lol

Back to the original question; are you original? And are you happy with it? I hope so; that’s when you’re the most interesting.

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Why You Need A Comment Policy

You know, ever since I added the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin a few weeks ago, the amount of spam this blog was getting dropped a lot. However, it hasn’t killed spam entirely. What seems to be coming now is a lot of one line messages that read like spam, and thus I treat them like spam. I figure that some of it are people who are thinking that they can just write any ol’ thing and I’ll let it pass; nope. However, I’m thinking some of it is automated to some degree; I just don’t know how they’re doing it.

I said I treated one line messages like spam; that’s from people who haven’t shown that they’re legitimate commenters on the blog yet. I have that in my comment policy, which is not only at the very top of this blog but listed right above the comment box on every single post. People who comment on blogs a lot and are going to write authentic comments definitely don’t have to worry about it, but for the others, I have no idea if they’re ever really coming back, so I don’t feel the same kind of loyalty to them.

I think it’s important to have a comment policy so people who come to your blog know what you expect. For instance, I really only have a couple of things in my comment policy. The first is that I need a legitimate name to call you. If you write a post and your name is a keyword phrase, but it’s not a bad comment, I reduce it all to the initials on the post. It looks ridiculous, but so be it. And I’ll refer to you either by those initials or by the first name in the email address if one is there. I stated the reason a long time ago in my post against fake commenter names. I don’t mind nicknames because it’s still something you may be known as.

The second is of course the one-line rule. I think that’s fair. After all, leaving a comment that says “nice post; I learned a lot” and nothing else could apply to almost anything. It doesn’t further the discussion and, well, just looks spammy, which it probably is. The big boys, who don’t moderate their comments, can play with that one; since I give dofollow links, I’ll handle it another way.

Anyway, if you expect certain things from people, you should let them know up front so there’s no surprise if you do something with their comment later on. Now that I think about it, I need to modify mine just a little bit more.

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Sunday Question – Doing Anything Special For Valentine’s Day?

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and if you’ve forgotten about it until now, at least you’ve been warned. If not, I hope you’re able to do something with the one you love, whether it’s something special or not.

My wife isn’t really one of those overly romantic people. That actually works in my favor because if I just give her a card she’s a happy person. If she didn’t work with other women she’d probably never even know there was a Valentine’s Day; I tend to be the one that remembers dates in this household.

I’ve gone some of the traditional routes in the past. I bought her jewelry a couple of times. I bought chocolate once; she doesn’t eat chocolate all that often. I once bought her one of those Pepperidge Farms cheese platters, since she doesn’t eat meat, and she ended up saving it for a mini party she had. And I did the flowers thing a couple of times as well; it went over well with her co-workers, but she’s not really a flowers type of person either.

Probably the best gifts I’ve given her were gift baskets. That’s because she makes gift baskets herself, and loves all the little foods and gifts and such that could be contained within it. She thoroughly enjoyed the fruit basket I sent her one year, and another year I sent her a gift basket with lots of smelly stuff. She liked that one so much that she’s still using it as a decoration in her bathroom (we have separate bathrooms; hers is much, much larger than mine).

And we’ve done dinner, though we probably won’t go out to dinner on a Monday night. It works really well if you don’t go out all that often, but we do go out to dinner a lot so to me it’s lost some of its specialness.

Anyway, I’m unsure what I’ll do this year, but at least I have it on my mind. What are you doing? Go ahead, share; your significant other isn’t reading this blog. 😉

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