OSA & Scout Camping - Further Tips From Experience
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Wed, 11 Feb 1998 00:54:13 -0800
I've gotten several responses to my posting in re obstructive sleep
apnea (OSA) and camping, and I infer that there are other Scouters out there
who could benefit from some further tips I have garnered from experience
on how to best manage OSA in the field.
If you aren't interested in this thread, please feel free to skip this
message. For those of us with OSA, it's literally "a matter of life and
At 10:15 PM 2/10/98 EST, Bruce K. Oldmixon wrote:
>I read with great interest with your problems, I too have OSA.
Information about the gory details of Bruce's OSA elided for reasons of
brevity and privacy.
>put me on a "BiPap" machine. I have used it every night since and I feel
>1000% better. I now sleep through the night and feel refreshed when I
>I have not tried to use a battery for campouts. I am now going out and get
>one. Thanks for the idea. I wish you great success and good health in the
>Bruce K. Oldmixon, SM
Thanks for the kind words. I too have a Bi-PAP, set at 13cm in, 8cm out.
At about 5000' and above, I change that to 16cm/10cm, as I seem to do
better with it at that setting at those altitudes. I'm told I can't do
that, as the pressure setting is a medical prescription, but the HMO
didn't test me at altitude, and _they_ don't have to deal with the
consequences of me being chronically hypoxic at altitude. The sea level
setting left me tired after a night or so, whereas the higher pressure
setting seemed to compensate for the increased altitude.
Besides, the graphs Respironics brought to a support group meeting I once
attended (months after I made the change in accordance with how I felt
after a night at altitude) indicated that at 5000', a non-compensating
CPAP/Bi-PAP needed to be run at a 22% higher pressure.
Turns out I had dialed in a 23%/25% inhalatory/exhalatory increase in
pressure at Camp Three Falls. which lies at 5500'. This correlates _very_
closely indeed with Respironics' performance graph.
Be _sure_ to check with the manufacturer of your Bi-PAP to find out what
inverter models are approved for use with your unit. Failure to do so could
both void your warranty and cause your Bi-PAP to die on you. I didn't,
and I lucked out, as the Respironics Bi-PAP S/T I use is built as ruggedly
as the proverbial Sherman tank.
I should have stressed this caveat in my previous posting.
Also, be aware that the current draw ramps up as the Bi-PAP pressure
increases. I recommend that you ask the tech support folks how much AC
current your Bi-PAP draws at the pressure setting you use and what size
marine deep cycle batteries they recommend that you buy, then size the
batteries you buy based upon the answer you receive.
I went larger, on the general theory that a larger battery gives me
more reserve, and batteries last a much sorter time in cold temperatures.
I don't mind coming back with a few extra hours of reserve in each
battery, but I "sure as shootin'" don't want to wake up in the wee hours
dreaming that I'm suffocating and find that it's perfectly true.
Also, I went with an oil filled battery with superior endurance under
very cold conditions, as I sometimes camp at up to 8000' elevation when
the temperature is at or below freezing.
Keep this in mind, as the state of Massachusetts where you live is not
known for its balmy tropical breezes this time of year.
Also, some CPAP and Bi-PAP machines run internally on 12 volt DC and
have a direct plug-in so that they may run off a marine deep cycle
battery without the use of an inverter. This will boost your effective
time available on battery power, as inverters are probably about 90%
efficient at best.
In re the solenoid I use in my van, this is a standard usage item in
limousines so that the paying customers don't run down the limo's
car battery whilst they are partying. Any automotive electric place
should be able to get one with little trouble. Make sure that you run
heavy duty cable between the solenoid and the marine deep cycle battery,
as you _don't_ want to turn the cable into a resistive heater and start
a fire inside your vehicle!! I went to a quality automotive electrical
shop, and I consider it to be money well spent.
Keep me advised as to how you fare with this project. From personal
experience, I know that you will enjoy Scout campouts _much_ more when
you can breathe at night whilst you are asleep.
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