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Skinsguy

Curing Sleep Apnea?

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This is a re-post from the old board. I wrote an article a few weeks ago about my struggles with sleep apnea. For those of you who also suffer from it or know someone who does, you should take time to read my article. Keep in mind, I'm not a professional, articulate writer, so there might be some grammar errors as I didn't really proof read for very long. Please take time to read it and comment on the page if you like.

 

https://hubpages.com/health/Curing-Sleep-Apnea

 

So, what's happening today is that I'm seeing a surgeon about having a very invasive surgery performed on my jaws called maxilla-mandibular advancement. In layman's terms, they break your jaws, upper and lower, install spacers, and move the jaws forward. This creates a larger airway and essentially reduces sleep apnea to where you no longer need a CPAP at night. I thought my insurance had approved this surgery, but the lady at the orthodontist office misspoke (I had asked her twice if it was the surgery that insurance had approved and she said yes) and insurance has not approved my surgery as of yet. Today, I am going for consultation with an oral surgeon and see what he says. My prayer is that they're able to get the surgery approved. Even though I have a documented medical disability that would benefit from the surgery, insurance will often treat this surgery as cosmetic and deny payment. The cosmetic benefits are great, and I would probably look younger as well. And I'll admit, I would love this because who wouldn't want to look better? However, my number one reason for doing this surgery is medical, and to end my struggles with sleep apnea.

 

Coincidentally, the other night, I was so tired that I fell asleep and forgot to put my C-PAP on. Now, keep in mind, I was sleeping on my side, so you would think that should've been OK. However, I woke up around 5am that morning, almost in a panic. My heart was racing, I was sweaty, so I did what any guy who wakes up does - I go to the bathroom, lol! While I'm standing in the bathroom, my heart continues to pound, I start to get light headed, and I could tell I was about ready to pass out. I quickly got back in bed, put my CPAP on, and dosed off to sleep. Apparently, I still wound up having an apnea attack even though I was sleeping on my side. Apparently I had stopped breathing for several minutes, and who knows if I was about ready to have a heart attack or what was going on. So, the CPAP definitely helps to keep me alive, but I struggle with it and I still can't sleep on my back even using CPAP. I still feel like my air passage gets cut off. And, on top of all of this, I've lost weight, so it's almost as if my apnea is getting worse.

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Just an update. I met with the surgeon today. My wife went with me. She had a lot of questions to ask. The cliff notes version of this story is, I really want to go through with the surgery. Both my wife and myself feel very good about it and the doctor explained everything in detail to us. The only issue is going to be the cost. It's around $18k - money up front! Insurance is a tough nut to crack when it comes to paying for this surgery, so we're not expecting surgery to pay much if they do. The lady told us that be prepared for insurance to pay a lot less than what the out of pocket is going to be. So, my wife and I are trying to figure out how this surgery gets paid. Yeah, we don't have $18k laying around. trust me, if we did, I would've already had the surgery by now! So, anyway, that's where we're at. So, we're waiting to see if we get pleasantly surprised by insurance or if we get the cold water thrown in our faces. My wife knows how much this surgery means to me, and it is a medical necessity. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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Wow. That would knock me out of it from the start. Best to you Skinsguy. Keep us posted.

 

 

Thanks! Even if insurance says they would cover it, we'd still have to have $18k to give them up front, so we'd probably have to take out a care credit to cover the initial cost and then get reimbursed on the back end. Insurance is weird with this stuff. For some people, it covers it completely. For others, nothing at all. And for most, it will cover some but the bare minimum.

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In my experience the key difference is what the insurance company decides is "medically necessary" and what is elective. Of course, what you and the doctor may determine one way, the insurance company may determine the other. That's when you can start paying lawyers in addition to doctors and insurance premiums.

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In my experience the key difference is what the insurance company decides is "medically necessary" and what is elective. Of course, what you and the doctor may determine one way, the insurance company may determine the other. That's when you can start paying lawyers in addition to doctors and insurance premiums.

 

 

You wonder how anybody gets anything paid for by the insurance companies nowadays. I mean, when I sign up for insurance, I have a family plan. It's the 70/30 plan. Once I reach my deductible, then insurance kicks in and will pay 70% of my medical costs. I have an out of pocket cap with my insurance as well. That's somewheres around $3800 I think. Once you have reached your out of pocket, then insurance is supposed to kick in pay 100% of your medical expenses. However, the rub is, insurance can determine what that medical expense is worth to them. So, for instance, in the case of this surgery, the doctor has determined that the cost is $18k. The insurance company may decide that the surgery is only worth $3,000, so that's all they pay, sticking the patient with $15k to come up with. Now, I understand if someone is doing this out of pure cosmetic reasons. If it's strictly for that, I understand insurance not paying at all. But if a patient is wanting to have this surgery done for a medical reason, whether if it is a birth deformity or some other medical situation, and the success rate of said surgery is 85% or higher, then in my opinion, I don't see how a surgery being elective or not should have anything to do with the cost. Of course, that's my opinion. In the real world, insurance looks at elective being optional, and if it's optional, they don't want to pay even though said option would great reduce the likelihood of further medical treatment for said dysfunction, disorder, or disease. Insurance definitely looks like the $$, and that's it. It truly is a racket. I would like to see how much out of pocket cost it would if my wife and I had to pay for all of the medical treatment we have faced this past year, if we had no insurance. I get the feeling that we've paid out a lot more for our expenses than insurance has. 

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Thanks for posting this info, Skinsguy. You clearly have a serious health issue that deserves coverage. If your doctor has written the insurance company about your case they may look more favorably on your claim. If he hasn't, press him on it. He is the only one who can validate the assertion that this is a medical and not a cosmetic surgery. Likewise, you must continually press the insurance company for a definitive answer, always stressing your medical condition. Persistence is your ONLY friend. Never give up. You deserve this.

 

Your case reminds me of my experience with my oldest son in regard to another health problem and it strikes a cord.

 

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Thanks for posting this info, Skinsguy. You clearly have a serious health issue that deserves coverage. If your doctor has written the insurance company about your case they may look more favorably on your claim. If he hasn't, press him on it. He is the only one who can validate the assertion that this is a medical and not a cosmetic surgery. Likewise, you must continually press the insurance company for a definitive answer, always stressing your medical condition. Persistence is your ONLY friend. Never give up. You deserve this.

 

Your case reminds me of my experience with my oldest son in regard to another health problem and it strikes a cord.

 

 

So, here's the question I have. I have only called the insurance company once in my life. It was a few years ago and I had called them about asking how much they would cover a certain medication. The lady would never give me any answers, she just kept saying that she'd need a claim number before she could help me. So, since then, I've never really understood who to talk to at the insurance company, how to talk to them, and how to get the answers I'm looking for. I want to call them about this and I think there has been a claim submitted, but outside of me saying it's a medical condition, I don't know how to really convince them.

 

I mean, I'm compliant with CPAP therapy, which is actually a count against me in this. They look at CPAP compliance, especially if the therapy is reducing the apnea episodes, and they say that's good enough. Well, the worst thing I could right now is just stop using the machine. The other is that my sleep doctor seems to be on the side of me sticking with CPAP. I've got an appointment with him in a couple weeks, so hopefully a sit down, face to face, will clear some things up. He's a good doctor, and I think if he hears it from me, verbally, he may be more supportive with the surgery bit.

 

Speaking of, I've created a YouTube channel dedicated to my suffering with Sleep Apnea. Would you guys be willing to take some time out and watch my videos I've created? I only have one up there right now, but I plan on adding more in a series. Would appreciate some views as well as some subscribers, and people liking the videos. Even if you don't watch the videos all the way through, I think it counts as a view. I figured any income I get from my YouTube channel could go toward the surgery. I have to have 10,000 views on my channel before they'll fully monetize my videos, and even then, I have to get a lot of views and ad clicks to make any money. I figured I'd try it and if I did make some decent money from it, it would help me out with my medical expenses. Here's the link to my YouTube channel and video:

 

 

 

 

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I just watched most of it Skinsguy. Good information, but in my line of work I've learned the average attention span of folks is embarrassingly poor. Latest figures show anything over 2 minutes and 47 seconds on YouTube and the viewer is likely gone and 20 percent of those that start it are gone in 10 seconds. IMO, you're going to have to break these things up into 2 or 3 minute segments and add some visuals if you expect to get any measurable viewership. (Just my experience)

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I think Bill is offering some very good advice. I watched the video with real interest and discovered that I am an embarrassingly average viewer. There were several other videos on the subject shown on my screen as well. There is some competition for viewers. The CPAP devices might be a good place to start with the visuals. You provided some very useful information for people who may not have as severe a case of sleep apnea as you. They need to appreciate its potential effects.

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I just watched most of it Skinsguy. Good information, but in my line of work I've learned the average attention span of folks is embarrassingly poor. Latest figures show anything over 2 minutes and 47 seconds on YouTube and the viewer is likely gone and 20 percent of those that start it are gone in 10 seconds. IMO, you're going to have to break these things up into 2 or 3 minute segments and add some visuals if you expect to get any measurable viewership. (Just my experience)

 

 

Yeah I didn't intend for the video to reach 20 minutes. I chalk it up to first video awkwardness and the need to just getting something uploaded to get going with the channel. My future installments will be much, much shorter, and much more to the point.

 

As far as the visuals, right now, I'm trying to work with what I currently have. I don't have Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, which are far superior video editing programs over iMovie. I got iMovie free on my Macbook Pro and my iPad. So, that's what I'm using to edit the videos. Was hoping it would actually be able to slice a video clip more precisely so that I could remove more of the "ummms", "uhhhs" and the "You knows". It will let you remove a full clip, but you can't slice the clip, so that makes for a bit of awkward moments in the video. Also, with shooting several shots and then putting them all together, iMovie (at least with my experience), won't link them together as one video - there's always a transition that you have to put in between, so it's basically a quick and dirty means of editing a video. You can do stuff like titles and a few sound effects. You can add music to your videos, but I couldn't figure out a way to make the music very quiet in the background while the speaker is talking, so that didn't seem to work. I guess I'd have to edit the music volume first in another program, but that would make it difficult to perfectly fit to the video. So, as you can see, it's a lot more challenging to make a professional looking product when you don't have the tools. I'm looking at options that I can use, free, for right now. Hopefully if I can start making some money from the channel, then I can purchase some better editing software and maybe a better camera.

 

Speaking of camera, my Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 takes far superior video over my iPad, but I have absolutely no space on the phone to save videos, so I'm using the iPad. Plus, I can only take videos in selfie mode on my phone, because I think my son broke my camera on my cell phone. The lens is all shattered on it, so I can't really use it, which sucks. So, I'm going to have to use the iPad until I can figure something else out. I'll eventually get things worked out enough to where the videos are better quality, I'm just having to work with what I got for now. But I will have more content up and they will be shorter, better edited videos. 

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I think Bill is offering some very good advice. I watched the video with real interest and discovered that I am an embarrassingly average viewer. There were several other videos on the subject shown on my screen as well. There is some competition for viewers. The CPAP devices might be a good place to start with the visuals. You provided some very useful information for people who may not have as severe a case of sleep apnea as you. They need to appreciate its potential effects.

 

 

Oh yeah, please keep the advice coming guys. I need your critique, because I really do want to fine tune my content to where people will enjoy watching my videos, but will also get something out of them. I've seen some videos on YouTube where the quality is outstanding, and the presenter has really fine-tuned their skills for video editing, but the content was nothing. Still, it got me watching, so I guess there is something to be said for the quality of the production.

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Don't worry about having or needing professional software and the best quality video. It's the content that counts. Jason Wilber is the guitar player for John Prine. He writes his own stuff too and make music videos with them using his iPhone and iMovie. They are outstanding! You've got everything you need, you just need to package one segment at a time 2-3 min. in length.

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I just uploaded video #2! This video is on using CPAP when you're sick - specifically talking about head colds and allergies. 3 minutes and a half! Not bad for being quick and straight to the point!  ;D

 

 

 

I found an app on my iPad for building video intros. It's quick and dirty, but I think it made a world of difference. I also edited this video on my computer instead of the iPad this time. I still haven't figured out how to delete small parts of a clip out, such as one part where I kind of pause. If I could clip that little part out, it would've made that section a bit more smooth. However, I did a better job of waiting a bit before I started talking, and waiting a bit before I hit stop on record - made it much easier in editing. I don't know if iMovie is able to do any kind of green screen thing where I could change the background, but if it's possible, I might try to find a cheap green screen. Finding a good spot in the house where lighting is good and it's not messy (due to a 3 year old) is a bit challenging. I don't want to do all of my videos in the same spot. I might try to shoot some at the park when it's warmer or in my car.

 

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Wow Skinsguy! Now your on it! With my critical cap on, I would still trim another 30 to 45 seconds off. Really smart intro... nailed it with the tease after the intro... and great use of visuals - holding the mask while you're talking. Take it up another notch by getting the camera level with you so you're not looking down. Just makes it look more professional. Man the difference here is amazing. You've got this... I believe it!

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Wow Skinsguy! Now your on it! With my critical cap on, I would still trim another 30 to 45 seconds off. Really smart intro... nailed it with the tease after the intro... and great use of visuals - holding the mask while you're talking. Take it up another notch by getting the camera level with you so you're not looking down. Just makes it look more professional. Man the difference here is amazing. You've got this... I believe it!

 

 

Thanks Bill! Yeah the one thing I wasn't happy with was the camera height. I found a bookshelf in my son's room to put the iPad on, and it was close enough to where I figured I could make due with it for that video. I'm not too photogenic when I'm having to look down a bit, and I think the higher bookshelf was just a bit too high. I need some sort of tripod that works with tablets (iPad) that I can adjust it to the perfect height. I'm also thinking of getting a cheap movie screen for the background and maybe pick up a light that will help with lighting. I would rather do most of this in our spare bedroom where my computer desk is.

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It really use to not be. I've got studio lights that use $70 bulbs and they last about 100 hours each. Nowadays you can get florescent lighting for nothing and they last forever.

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It really use to not be. I've got studio lights that use $70 bulbs and they last about 100 hours each. Nowadays you can get florescent lighting for nothing and they last forever.

 

 

I have a friend who serves on the audio visual team with me at church who has offered to help me in the future if I need help. He does a lot of camera work, making movies, etc... Yeah, he was saying that nowadays, lighting can be pretty inexpensive. Over time, especially if I start making decent money from it, then I'll upgrade as I go along. My wife, who has been a professional photographer in the past (now mainly works with graphic design), has a backdrop, but it's huge! It's not something you could set up and tear down quickly. If I had a room that I could just leave it setup, I would do that, but as big as it is, we can't just leave it up in our spare bedroom, it would have to be setup in our living room. Maybe when warmer weather comes, I might be able to do some of this in our second garage.

 

I'm trying to come up with some content for this week. I really would like to release two videos a week in the beginning, but it can be challenging coming up with the time to put into it. Right now, I might be lucky if I can do one a week, which would wind up giving me around 50 videos, but it would take all year to do that. I want to make sure the content is good so I'm getting the views I need. Right now, I think my first video has gotten over 70 views, and the second had gotten over 40 views. That's not bad for one week. I'm also trying to join some Sleep Apnea forums in hopes of promoting on those sites, I just don't want to flood those sites and not participate like I should, but what better way to promote than to converse with those who actually do have Sleep Apnea?

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Going to try and shoot another video tomorrow during lunch. Right now, I find it easier to get a video done when the wife and kid aren't home.

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Posted a new video.

 

Still working on trying to get my videos down to 3 minutes or less. This one is a few seconds longer than the last. I actually shot three videos yesterday and at least one of the other two is ready for upload as well. Now, it's 5 minutes long, but I think it's quite entertaining. I'm slowly bringing out a little more humor in these videos and it actually doesn't feel like the video is 5 minutes long. Now, the third video that I edited wound up being 13 minutes long, but it's not a static me in front of the camera the whole time video. That being said, I think I can get that video down a lot smaller, I just need to do some magic with the editing. In the beginning, I'm all about getting as much content on my channel as I possibly can - of course quality content, but enough so that if someone comes across a video, there's other videos for them to click on if they enjoyed a video I did.

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