How To Go Camping With Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Long)
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Sun, 24 Aug 1997 20:06:09 -0700
At 01:27 PM 8/21/97 -0500, Carol Kelley wrote:
>Last May, (1996) my husband and boys decided to forego Cub Adventure
>Weekend and do a fishing campout on their own. The main reason behind this
>being my husband is a large man who doesn't tolerate heat well and also has
>sleep apnea and requires electricity for his C-Pap machine.
>BTW, This brings up a question. If I can talk my husband into going to
>summer camp one year, does his use of a C-Pap machine for Sleep Apnea fall
>under Disability Guidelines and require the camp to provide him with
I have "severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome" (OSA), and I have camped
at our council summer camp for a week during each of the past three summers
with my troop. My OSA is severe enough that it requires a Bi-PAP instead
of the wimpy C-PAP your husband uses.
;-) <WINK AND BIG GRIN>
>From a discussion a year or so ago here on SCOUTS-L, it seems that we
have a fair number of Scouters with OSA, and they seem to do pretty
well in the field, on the whole.
What your husband needs is "reasonable accomodation" for the OSA. Here
is how the Ventura County Council and I arranged things to reasonably
accomodate my severe OSA so I could fully participate in the program at
Camp Three Falls:
I bought a battery charger, two marine deep cycle batteries, an
electrical extension cord, and a direct current to alternating current
inverter (12VDC/115VAC), Radio Shack part number 22-132A , plus some 30
ampere fuses for the inverter, just in case I should happen to hook the
inverter up wrong and blow the inverter fuse.
I've done this twice in the last 6 months. BLUSH!!!
The council knows I have severe OSA, and they put my troop into one
of the campsites nearest the camp health lodge, which has a pair of
external electrical sockets.
When I arrive at camp, I am allowed to drive to the health lodge and
set up the battery charger and the spare battery. Then I drive as close
to the campsite as I can and lug the other battery and my Bi-PAP plus
support gear to our troop campsite.
This allows me to function very well indeed. In my considered opinion,
attempting to get the council to run electrical power to the campsite
would be unreasonable, counterproductive in the extreme and would
greatly exceed the federal mandate of "reasonable accomodation" under
the "Americans With Disabilities Act of 1995".
Our council cheerfully meets me halfway in dealing constructively with
my severe OSA. The only drawback to this arrangement is that the
batteries are very heavy and lugging them to and from the health lodge
is tough. Next year, I intend to design and build a small collapsible
wagon to carry the batteries to and fro.
Another advantage to having this equipment is that I can easily cope
with a sudden power outage at home or elsewhere. Had your husband had
this gear, he could simply have lugged one of the batteries into the
motel room, hooked up the inverter, and gotten his sleep. The next
morning, he could have gone out and bought a two-prong to three-prong
electrical adaptor at a hardware store.
I keep one of these adaptors in my Bi-PAP support kit, along with a few
other goodies, such as an electrical multimeter. I've needed this for
cruising on the Scouting tall ship, the Argus and when I've been camping
in Mexico with my Scouts. In the former case, the Argus has 24VDC. In
the latter, you find 115VAC and 230VAC, and it is impossible to tell
which an electrical outlet contains simply by looking at it.
I will buy a 20-40VDC/12VDC stepdown transformer this week, as I am
going out sailing overnight again on the Argus with the Order of the
Arrow over the weekend of September 5-7. I'll step down the 24VDC to
12VDC, then invert it to 115VAC. As an insurance policy, I'll bring
along one of my marine batteries.
If your husband has one of the newer C-PAP units, it is quite possible
that he can tap 12VDC directly off the marine deep cycle battery and
forego buying an inverter. Alas, my Bi-PAP is an older unit that runs
only off 115VAC.
I just got back from the XIVth International Camporee about an hour
ago. It was held at the Mataguay Scout Reservation northeast of San
Diego, within sight of the Mount Palomar Astronomical Observatory.
This is about 150 miles from my home and is located in another council.
I used my batteries and inverter because there was no electrical outlet
within a reasonable distance of the designated camping areas. Two of
these batteries give me 3-4 nights of power for the inverter, depending
upon how long I sleep each night and what the outside air temperature is.
The Desert Pacific Council international camporee staff was willing to let
me bunk inside an A-frame which has electricity, but the batteries gave me
the flexibility to camp where I wanted to camp instead.
Next year, I hope to resume going camping with my senior Scouts to some
remote areas of Baja California for a full week during school spring
vacation. I'll need to buy a small electrical generator to facilitate
this, as lugging enough batteries to last a week would be difficult.
Tell your husband that "time's a wasting!!", and that he's missing out
on some really neat experiences by tying himself to a wall outlet. Please
feel free to e-mail me directly, and I'll be most happy to help him sally
forth successfully into the field with OSA.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <email@example.com>
Asst. Scoutmaster, Troop 808 Wood Badge 416-18
Ventura County Council at Philmont, 1973
Camarillo, California, USA "I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City