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Anyone out there dealing with sleep apnea?

 

I have a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine that I use when I sleep.

How do you get one in Costa Rica, and how do you get it repaired and adjusted?

In the USA, the pressure is a prescription, and I can't get a machine without a Dr's say so (via a sleep study). My current machine is rented by my USA insurance - I'm sure I won't be able to take it with me to CR.

 

Surgery is an option, but is not guaranteed to completely fix the problem (and can make it worse).

I am considering surgery while still in the USA, but also contemplating surgery after we move to CR (next spring). Has anyone had this in CR?

 

thanks in advance!

Julie

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Anyone out there dealing with sleep apnea?

 

I have sleep apnea, and have a machine. For three years now and it never breaks, at least not yet. When I move down I will have medicare still so I would think that you get one in the us, and then you just fly it down.

 

That is what I will do in february when I fly down to visit. before I will figure out the elelectrical system and adjust stuff to it.

 

So it looks like a simple problem to me.

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I am on my second machine - the first broke after about 5 years. It took over a week to get it replaced in the US. Call me a worry-wart, but that week of no sleep shook me up. I'd like to find out in advance how to get a machine fixed or replaced in CR.

fyi - the electrical system is often not grounded, so the current can vary a lot over a short amount of time. Machines like computers and CPAPs don't do well in these conditions, so I expect my CPAP will not last as long in CR.

When we visit, we bring a surge supress - not sure how much that helps, but it does extend the cord (sometimes there is only one plug in the room - way across the room :)).

Have you looked into surgery?

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I am on my second machine - the first broke after about 5 years. It took over a week to get it replaced in the US. Call me a worry-wart, but that week of no sleep shook me up. I'd like to find out in advance how to get a machine fixed or replaced in CR.

 

Go without the Sleep Machine. I wake up 108 times an hour without the machine, so I can feel your pain. I just got a spare through Kaiser and my co-pay was 140.00 US.

 

As for power I think a UPS might be the way to go then. If the power surges and spikes but does not go out for a long time, you can one 20.00 US. The battery will only last long enough to turn things off, but will regulate the power.

 

If the power goes out, then I guess you could hook it up to a battery.

 

These are things that I have to think about so thank you

 

Is the power 110 or 220?

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Hi,

 

I too use a CPAP machine and found one place here in Costa Rica thats sells them. I have bought masks from them but know that they do carry the machines. I cant remember the name of the company but will try to find it again. It is easy to find though. It is on the street just south of Clinica Biblica and on the northwest corner of that block. It is a large company that sells oxygen tanks and lots of other stuff. Hope that helps.

 

Nathan

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[

Surgery is an option, but is not guaranteed to completely fix the problem (and can make it worse).

I am considering surgery while still in the USA, but also contemplating surgery after we move to CR (next spring). Has anyone had this in CR?

 

thanks in advance!

Julie

 

 

Julie

 

I'd forget the surgery myself.

 

I spent a week in CR two years ago with my BPAP machine and had no problems with Electric etc.

I'm now selling my home and plan on moving down this October. I'd be concerned but Not worried as it should work out OK!

 

tim

Edited by Bumper10248

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Hi,

 

I too use a CPAP machine and found one place here in Costa Rica thats sells them. I have bought masks from them but know that they do carry the machines. I cant remember the name of the company but will try to find it again. It is easy to find though. It is on the street just south of Clinica Biblica and on the northwest corner of that block. It is a large company that sells oxygen tanks and lots of other stuff. Hope that helps.

 

Nathan

 

Thanks! I will be sure to look them up on my next trip. If you think of the name before December, let me know?

Julie

---

 

re: power - it's 110, and only went out once in 5 weeks of visit time, so I am not too worried.

Every once in a while tho I dream of 'roughing' it again (sans machine) - sure would like to not need it. So will probably pursue some surgery as well.

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David,

My husband used a CPAP for a few years until he lost 100 lbs. and no longer needed to use it. He always worried about us losing power here in Houston, especially with the frequent summer storms and Hurricanes. The UPS devices only work for a limited amount of time. Those that will last for hours are very expensive and that wasn't an option for us. Instead of a UPS, he bought one of those emergency lights, that only come on the power goes out. (See link here.) He then opened the case and wired in a small alarm buzzer that turns on with the emergency light whenever we lose electricity. This inexpensive solution worked great for us on many occasions.

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David,

 

I carry a medical device (a compression pump) for the edema in my legs (due to circulation problems) back and forth with me on the plane when I come and go to CR.

 

Then at airside check-in, the security folks always take it and x-ray it, and Spiritair personnel have recently taken to asking me for an Rx saying it's a medical necessity to allow it with me as a no-charge carry-on to the plane.

 

So get a doctor's letter so stating or an Rx from him/her and carry it with you to 'vouch' for the device.

 

My major concern was that the item, if 'lost in transit', would be impossible to replace in CR (this has proved to be so) and it is such an expensive item that I could not afford to replace it out of pocket. The gist of the doctor's note was that it is a medically necessary device for use as soon as I arrive in CR, which allows me to carry it into the cabin and not place it in checked luggage where it would vulnerable to loss or theft. I explained this concern to my doctor and he composed a letter saying I should not be separated from the device.

 

And, like you with the CPAP hoses, I bought a second set of sleeves for my legs and left them in CR since they were clumsy to haul around with me. That way I only have to deal with moving the pump itself back and forth.

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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Unfortunately, CPAP machines are so common now, that many airlines state explicitly that the machine will count as your carry-on. You can no longer count on getting a free pass for it as a medical device, and also get your carry-on (plus personal item).

 

I have found two items of interest:

1) there is a praxair dealer in San Jose, near the Clinica Biblica. A few years ago, I talked to them about perhaps getting a replacement machine through them. We never progressed beyond the "yes we can do it" stage, so I have no info re cost, time, etc.

2) the CPAP shop (http://www.thecpapshop.com) will send a CPAP machine to a USA address, if they have a Dr. prescription on file that says you have sleep apnea, and so need a CPAP machine. It does not have to be a USA doctor, and it does not have to have your pressure defined. I have been able to find the user manual online for mine that shows how to change the pressure, but (as you likely know) this is "restricted" information. 'Cause we're so irresponsible, I guess.

 

re no longer needing one. I lost a lot of weight, but still need the machine - at a lower pressure, but still need it. I either needed it when I was younger and didn't know it, or age has replaced weight. Either way, if the electricity goes out, I wake up :angry:

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I believe there is a "store" in CIMA hospital that sells these devices. It is in the area of the pharmacy. I know they sell parts for them, as I went there with a friend to buy a part. Expensive.

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I believe there is a "store" in CIMA hospital that sells these devices. It is in the area of the pharmacy. I know they sell parts for them, as I went there with a friend to buy a part. Expensive.

There are any number of medical supply stores around and one or the other of them may have parts or replacement units available. CIMA would surely have high-end pricing, learned the hard way from my experience dealing with their pharmacy there. (One local pharmacy I checked in Alajuela afterwards had the same meds and supplies for 30%(!) of the CIMA price, and were the same brands, too.

 

I know there is one Medical Supply store in Alajuela which is just 100 mts N of the Jumbo store there. I haven't been into it yet but it looks to have a good supply of canes, walkers, wheelchairs, etc. from what is displayed in their display window.

 

Surely there are also medical supply stores in the other larger towns around the Central Valley. Ought to be worth a look-see to discover whether they stock CPAPs and accessories and if their prices are competitive. As Julie mentioned CPAP machines are more readily available now so I wouldn't be surprised to find one in a medical supply store in CR. They will probably be more expensive than in the US but not so expensive as at CIMA.

 

just FWIW . . .

 

Paul M.

==

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I had the surgery, tonsils ,adnoids and uvula about 20 years ago and lost some weight. The surgery is not ideal as I had to learn to swallow before talking as I recall or I would have a choking cough. Not sure I would recommend the surgery without doing some research and talking to some people that had it done recently, I am told by my wife that I snore less than before. I do recall dreaming of falling while asleep before the surgery not any more. I hated the machine. I got to the point I could not sleep without it at all. Made the mistake of going camping with it and smelled smoke for months. Some of the new machines add moisture that is helpful. I never tried the dental appliances but did use all manner of pillow, diet and tape across my nose. I have seen reconditioned machines on Ebay I think. As I recall a mask would last a year at least it I took care of it and kept it clean. You will need assistance in setting the machine parameters and fitting the mask. There were several types that I tried before finding one that did not leak or blow air in my eyes when I turned in bed. There also are different quality of machines as in amount of noise that they keep. We had yopung children at the start and I was afraid that I would not hear them if they called for help or hear them talking to friends on the phone too late at night.

 

Best of luck

Ed

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When I was diagnosed, my primary care physician in the U.S. strongly recommended against the surgery. She said that the recovery is miserable (I remember a lot of discomfort when I had my tonsils removed as a child), and she said that some of the tissue can grow back. I passed.

 

I took to the CPAP machine right away although I've always had a problem keeping my mouth shut. (Those who know me will concur.) After several years using "nose pillows" and a chin strap (the latter was a waste), I went to a full-face mask. It's wonderful! Once I get the head straps adjusted, I have virtually no leakage and I wear a short-trimmed full beard.

 

My U.S. insurance plan will replace the mask every three months and we have friends up north who do just that. Because we're in Costa Rica and have no U.S.-based physician to prescribe replacements, I've been using the same mask since 2005 and it's held up just fine. The only problems I've had have been that the delicate plastic "ring" that holds the rubber gasket that goes against your face has broken a couple of times, and when he was a puppy our German shepherd got hold of the the gasket itself. Anticipating such problems, I've gotten some spares.

 

When we go to the U.S., I have our friends who use the same mask keep their old ones and I scavenge parts. There's nothing wrong with what they've been replacing. And that helps to explain some of the waste in the U.S. health care system.

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