Thursday, October 8, 2015

31 for 21: When Your Child Wears A Bi-Pap

Welcome to Throwback blog Thursday for Down syndrome Awareness Month, which is a repost of a previous entry.

When your child wears a Bi-pap....
...there are certain things you can and cannot do. The other day I realized that Jaycee has worn a c-pap or a bi-pap for most of her life now due to obstructive sleep apnea. For the last 4 years, Jaycee and I have had this love/hate relationship with her machine. She hates wearing it. I hate making her wear it. But, it's helping her breathe better at night, so we must do it. She's gotten more accustomed to her bi-pap over the years but some nights it's still a struggle to get it on perfectly (with no air leaks) and to keep it on her.

Here are some ways your life as a parent is affected when your child wears a bi-pap:

-There are no more spontaneous sleepovers. If you are at grandma's house late in the night, you cannot all of a sudden decide to let your child spend the night. There isn't an extra bi-pap laying around their house for her.

-If your child wants to spend the night somewhere, the temporary caregiver must be trained on how to use the bi-pap. Honestly, who wants to do this!? Apparently just my mom, since that's the only person she's ever stayed.

-When you travel, you have to pack your machine up in a little bag. You also have to make sure you have distilled water to put into it.

-If you go on a rare date with your spouse, the date must end early before your child might fall asleep. You have to be home to put your child on their bi-pap.

-There is no more of your child cuddling in bed with you and sleeping there a few hours. They can't because if they do, they won't be able to breathe safely.

-Mom (or sometimes dad) cannot go to bed until the child is on their bi-pap and fast asleep. There's no more coming in late and everyone settling into bed at the same time at my house. In our case, we put the bi-pap on after she's fallen asleep, which can take 20-60 minutes.

-You have to make space in your child's bedroom for the bi-pap. Since it uses water, the space has to be "safe" from falls.

-You have to clean the parts weekly and remember when it's time to reorder new parts.

-You must memorize your child's bi-pap settings or write them down and carry it with you. If your child is in the hospital, you will have to know this information.
***UPDATE: Jaycee has now used her machine for 6 years and no longer hates her bi-pap! I think she knows she rests better with it. For the first year or two on it, I dreamed of the day that Jaycee would no longer need it. I have resigned to the fact that Jaycee is probably going to need it forever.

Obstructive sleep apnea is common with Down syndrome due to the low muscle tone and smaller airways. Often removing the tonsils and adenoids will help. In Jaycee's case, it didn't.

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