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Breathing easier isn't always easy

I’ve been a CPAP user for over 10 years, and I’ve learned that it is easier to buy marijuana in Oregon than the CPAP supplies that help me breathe.

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea breathe more easily during sleep.

Last year I was in need of a new mask to replace one that I had been using for several years. I contacted my local supplier to make a request. I scheduled an appointment for a fitting. After selecting a mask, I was told I needed notes from my doctor proving that I used my CPAP machine regularly. Done.

Then Medicare required a new prescription from a doctor stating that I needed and used my CPAP machine. My doctor sent one to fulfill their need. Done.

Then I was told that I had to take an at-home sleep test to monitor my breathing at night and prove I needed a CPAP machine. I spent the better part of two nights strapped to their machine sleeping in a chair (the only way that I can breathe). Finally they agreed with me that I needed and should use a CPAP machine. Done.

There it is, it took only five months, but I got a new mask, but what may lie ahead of me?

I can see where one may have to justify need if it is to be covered by insurance or Medicare, but what would happen if I were willing to pay for it myself? Let’s see.

Recently my humidifier tank broke, and I needed a new one for my machine. Since I got my mask only 8 months ago, I went to the supplier’s office with my broken tank. They told me they no longer carry that model, but they were willing to sell me a new machine, and I could use my old one as a backup machine. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

I went home, and on the phone I contacted two local medical supply companies, neither said they could help me if I was not a customer, I would need to get notes from my doctor, and a new prescription for a CPAP machine. Nice.

Thank goodness one of the retail clerks told me that I should try CPAP.com, saying they may be able to help me with my part. Thanks.

I went onto CPAP.com and with very little trouble found the replacement part I needed. I placed my order. It was only $14.99 plus $7 shipping. It was to arrive within seven days. Not 5 months. I did not need a prescription or notes from my doctor. Just straight money.

I wish I had known about CPAP.com before all of the previous headaches.

I did not know that CPAPs were a gateway drug to breathing.

Terry Wall lives in Medford.

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