Home Medical Equipment

Patient Reflection

A Better Night’s Sleep
What began as vacation snoring has turned into the best nights of sleep for Bill Dohrmann, Fayette.
“My wife, Sue, and our three children were on vacation a few years back, and they did nothing but complain about my snoring and how it was keeping them up all night,” Bill smiles thinking back. “My wife always said I snored, but I guess it took my kids saying it for me to finally do something about it.”
When the Dohrmanns returned from vacation, Bill made an appointment with his doctor, who advised him to do a sleep study in West Union. Hooked up to monitors, Bill was to simply sleep overnight at Palmer Lutheran Health Center.
“Sounds easy huh?” Bill laughs. “Not that it wasn’t quiet and comfortable, but who can sleep well when they are told they HAVE to sleep!”
Palmer’s Sleep Clinic is a facility for diagnosing and treating sleep-related disorders. During the Sleep Study, brain activity is monitored as well as heart rate, airflow, oxygen levels in the blood, body position, chest and abdomen movement, eye activity and muscle movements.
The sleep study proved Bill did indeed have Sleep Apnea, a temporary cessation of breathing during sleep, experienced by some people. Therefore, Bill was referred to Palmer Home Medical Supply and Deb Thies, respiratory therapist, to receive a CPAP machine. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) refers to a medical device used primarily for the treatment of sleep apnea. A CPAP machine has a small box connected to tubes through which air flows. The tubes are connected to a mask worn on the face. Straps around the mask fit it to the face over the mouth and nose. For those with sleep apnea, the CPAP is used at night during normal sleep.
“The first 30 days were very hard,” Dohrmann says. “The mask didn’t fit right, and I had issues with getting the machine regulated. But, Deb was patient. She worked with me through it all. I would go to her office and she would swing by my house to help me with issues. Palmer really went above and beyond to make my CPAP work for me.”
After some time adjusting to the machine and different fittings, Bill feels like using his machine is second nature.
“Good listening and willingness to learn and abide by the rules are imperative for a patient’s success with CPAP,” Deb Thies explains. “Bill does both. The relationship that Bill and I have is very unique, and he is just great. Understanding the frustrations and challenges Bill had, or that any CPAP patient has, and providing guidance has helped create such a good relationship.”
And, not only is the relationship important, but also the customer services that comes with Palmer Home Medical Supply. “I was traveling and my facemask broke. Palmer over-nighted my mask to make sure I could get a good night’s rest as soon as possible. It is things like this that make Palmer stand out.”
Once a patient is established on CPAP, Palmer Home Medical Supply continues to be a presence in his/her life. Thies explains, “We call the patient the next day after the initial set-up to see how the first night went; then, contact him/her weekly for the first month just to see how things are going; then, contact him/her monthly for the first three months. Then, we contact him/her every three to six months. We want to ensure the patient is comfortable with the equipment and there aren’t any issues.”
The patient is always encouraged/reminded to call Palmer if needs arise and to be pro-active in the treatment program. Palmer stresses it wants to hear the questions and concerns before they become problems. In addition, Palmer Home Medical Supply deals directly with the patient’s physician and handles insurance issues so the patient doesn’t have to.
“We adjust each patient's follow-up to his/her needs. Bill calls in or swings by the office periodically just to get his machine checked or even to just say ‘Hi’, which I always look forward to!”
Bill finishes, “It’s amazing how quickly I got used to it. The first month was hard, but keeping with it has paid off in the end. I wear my CPAP religiously, whether at home or on vacation. I wake up more rested now than I ever have in my life.”