Luke, I am not wearing a CPAP mask


Before I wandered into HME News’ world headquarters nearly eight months ago, Medicare was an abstract concept that existed somewhere in the ether. I knew it was a federal health insurance program, but not much more than that. Same for CPAP devices, complex rehab and basically everything related to DME. I’d seen them before yes, but I didn’t know the language or how difficult it could be to get them paid for.

For example, a few years ago my friend Ryan was prescribed a CPAP mask. When he showed our friends and I his equipment during a house warming party, this is what we walked away with: he wears a Darth Vader mask so that he doesn’t snore (he was a renowned snorer). The word “CPAP” didn’t even exist to us.

This past November I visited him again (at this point he had bought a newer, bigger house). I’d been working at HME News for a month and now understood what a CPAP machine was and why he used it.

Using my newly acquired lexicon, I asked him if he still used a CPAP. I still remember the faint look of surprise on his face when I identified it by its proper name and not his “darth vader” mask.

I’m not celebrating my former ignorance, but I am acknowledging it.

A few months ago, Theresa wrote a blog about CPAP masks being featured on shows like Mike and Molly, proof that they were becoming more mainstream. Last night I had my own “mainstream” moment while futzing around on Facebook before going to sleep: a friend of mine posted a link to a hoseless, cordless, maskless, battery-powered CPAP device. As far as I know, she nor her husband use one. Could a family member or someone she knows? Possibly. But I'd like to think we're all just becoming a little more aware.