Sleeping with Bleep – DreamPort in place of a traditional CPAP mask opens your eyes to what comfort can be. That said, it’s different…but in a great way. When I first created the DreamPort and wore it for the first time, it was for proof of concept. Meaning I threw together a back of the napkin idea at 3:30 in the morning and needed to know it worked. I still remember penciling the sketch together at Pawleys Island eight years ago. Seems like yesterday. I was there at a CEU conference with my wife, who was then a sales rep for one of the leading manufacturers of CPAP. I’m still dumbfounded by the sheer lack of size and scope of what it could mean to CPAP users. True eureka moments don’t come along too often. I loved the fact it had no headgear and what that meant to patients. But what excited me the most, compounded by the lack of headgear, was the fact it shouldn’t leak…in theory. But I had to test it first.
That meant a trip to Lowes. Let me be the first to say all great things start in hardware. Problem was, I didn’t know where to begin looking when I started down the aisles. Talk about the blind leading the blind. I stumbled on two copper fittings with flanges after an hour. What amounted to two tubes with thin flat collars on one end. I took an old nasal pillow mask, cut off the entire headgear and trimmed the fat to next to nothing. I wanted lightweight. The mask didn’t matter; I needed something that could hold the fittings until I designed my own. Again, I was shooting for proof of concept. Would it work? Then I bought corn tapes from Walmart. You read that right. The things you used to see on Grandma’s feet that looked like volcanoes of red blistered pain. I wanted the tape, minus the medicine that took off the corns. When I got home, I wedged the brass fittings into the corn tape holes. Then I jammed the slender ends of the brass fittings into the nasal pillow openings to hold them steady. It was crude, to say the least, but it accomplished the goal. It gave me something that could deliver CPAP pressure to my nose. Next, I cleaned off my nose and applied the corn patches over my nostrils, sealing them off completely. Standing in front of the mirror with practically nothing on my head, I was surprised, to say the least. It weighed more than it needed to, but by no fault of my own. Yet, I knew right away it could be considerably lighter. But most important…it was staying on.
The true test came in the bed. I connected the short tube from the nasal pillow mask to the main CPAP tube, turned on the blower and waited. In less than a second or two, air ramped up and filled the mask and my nose with 10.5 centimeters of pressure. More surprising than the view of my handiwork in the mirror was the fact it didn’t leak. I climbed under the covers, brain racing with pure joy. Not the same joy as watching a child born, but something akin to it. An idea brought to life.
It took two hours for me to get to sleep with it. Not because it was hard to breathe, but because it felt like…not wearing anything. I equate it to sleeping commando for the first time. Feels weird, right, that freedom from constraint? Same here. Quite different in fact from straps tugging at my skin. Gone was the constant pull against my cheeks. The same tug which burned the tip of my nose, because the straps dislodged in my sleep, was now nonexistent. Everything about it offered the feeling of going CPAP Commando. It was a disconnection with my face. By that I mean it felt different having something pull away from my nose instead of pulling into it. As a longtime CPAP user, it caught me off guard. BUT in a good way. You know what I mean. That binding effect of your head encased in mummy’s rags…yeah, that feeling. It had all but disappeared. It was liberating, yet still strange and unfamiliar. CPAP Commando fits. I won’t say I missed the tightness and binding nature of plastic and velcro. I didn’t. The biggest challenge was shutting off my brain. My mind raced a hundred miles an hour thinking of next steps. Lawyer, Engineer, Provisional Patent Filing…I wanted to be selling it next week. Anyway, I did drift off finally. And it was a great night of sleep on the first try with NO LEAK and NO HEADGEAR. Bleep – DreamPort 1.0 took it’s first steps and had enough legs about it to not fall down.
All this is to say, it feels completely different than your mask. That’s not a bad thing; we want to be honest with everyone. So, is it right for you? I don’t know. What I do know is we answer the top ten needs that patients want to see change with their masks. But are we for everyone? No, we are not. Not one single mask manufacturer in the world has a mask that works for everyone. Do you like to sleep with the thermostat at 85* and sweat your sheets into a puddle? We can’t help you. You need to be cool and so does your room to help with sweat. Do you wear your makeup to bed? We can’t help you. You have to clean your skin before you apply it. Do you have an incredible sensitivity to adhesive? This might not be for you. 3M makes our hypoallergenic surgical foam tape and it’s great, but for some people, it won’t matter. You might break out. Ask us for a small sample to apply on your skin and see if you have a reaction. Do you love your current mask? Then you’re one of the lucky 1 in 5 people who likely won’t change. Good for you. You found something that works! If you are a FullFace CPAP mask user, we can’t help you. You are welcome to try it though. Lots of CPAP users end up on FullFace masks because some technicians use them as their go-to mask. That’s a whole other Blog I’ll write about.
I’ll close with this, other mask manufacturers are going to say bad things about us. They just are. They’ll have sales reps making outrageous claims like, “Yeah, well, we invented the question mark and put the first CPAP on the moon…and I wouldn’t put that Bleep – DreamPort thing on a donkey, but that’s just me.” Guess what? We wouldn’t either. And Dr. Evil’s father actually invented the question mark. Check it out here. True story. However, the big dogs have to eat…er, I mean compete. Protect their own interests, if you will. How do they do that, you say? They start by bashing a superior product in hopes of knocking it down a peg. What else do big corporations do to level out the playing field, am I right? It’s part and parcel to the business. Our management team has been in the business for many years and has seen it occur time and time again. But don’t let someone else dictate what you do. I want to be clear, change is hard to administer in our own lives. We’re all great at telling other people what’s wrong, how to fix something and what to stay away from. It’s not always true or in your best interest to trust what’s out there. Make an informed decision on your own. You can do this by supporting our crowdfunding campaign and trial the product yourself at a significant cost reduction. See if you like it for yourself. Honestly, we think you’ll love it, but if you don’t, someone else will, because it might not be right for you. And that’s okay.
If you or someone you know is on CPAP and unhappy with their mask, share this blog with them and checkout out our website. You might save a life. Remember We Give a Bleep About Sleep…and so can you.