Mind FOG!

Posted by: chatty lady

Mind FOG! - 03/23/11 01:21 AM

I was told many years ago by my grandmother to stury hard when young, really hard, and study everything because when older, over 50, the mind seems to be unable to absorb as well or hold it for a long while. I listened to her and did as she asked but didn't think it was necessarily so. Well I am here to attest to the fact that grandma was absolutely correct. I can feel it happening to me every day. Thank God I did gather info on so many things and they are apparently in my brain because the learning now is so much slower and harder for me.
Posted by: Eagle Heart

Re: Mind FOG! - 03/23/11 02:27 AM

I have to work every day to keep the brain fog away. Crossword puzzles, playing piano, playing brain games on the computer, playing on the Wii...that brain fog can get so thick that it overpowers me and opens the door for negativity to take over. The more I "play", the better I feel and the clearer my brain feels. Diet helps too...some foods contribute to that sludgy feeling.

Something that appears to be happening is that ever since my operation in November (total hysterectomy, and the surgeon also removed "lots" of endometriosis), I've been feeling increasingly stronger in so many ways - I've lost about 14 pounds, my brain seems clearer, my energy level is more reliable and my mood is much more stable and positive...it would seem that perhaps the chronic pain and fatigue was in large part caused by the endometriosis (which was undiagnosed)...for as long as I can remember, I've felt like I was lugging around cement blocks in my gut...that heaviness (and pain) is gone and my body and mind feel so much lighter now.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Mind FOG! - 03/23/11 03:05 AM

Eagle Heart, I am so delighted to hear how much better you are feeling!

I had a similar experience once I was correctly diagnosed with sleep apnea. Apparently I had been experiencing it for so many years I thought it was natural. (Mine wasn't the typical snoring thing, I'd stop breathing in my sleep then startle awake.)

I finally got diagnosed after waking up in the middle of the night and finding myself standing in the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror and trying to figure out why I could not inhale any air. (Apparently the sleep apnea had lasted long enough that my esophagus collapsed on itself and then wouldn't "pop" back open.)

Long story short, I had a bunch of tests including two nights in a sleep lab before they made my diagnosis. But since I began using my PAP (Positive Airway Pressure) machine (mine is a Bi-PAP because my situation is so severe) my daytime brain fog has cleared, I can drive without feeling like I am going to doze off, I can sit in a meeting without falling sleep, and I have so much more energy...

The rewards of having a reliable brain again and staying awake during the day are well worth the challenges related to having to wear the mask at night. In fact, I think I have gotten to the point where I CAN'T sleep unless the mask is in place...

So I would tell anyone who is living with a mind fog to try to find out if there could be some sort of health challenge that is causing your problem.
Posted by: greene

Re: Mind FOG! - 03/23/11 06:12 PM

Like you, Eagle Heart, I am always doing something to keep the brain fog at bay. From brain training games on-line to crosswords I try to push the old brain daily. I
I'd hate to see the shape I'd be in if I didn't as I know things are slower than they used to be.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Mind FOG! - 03/23/11 07:33 PM

The brain training via crosswords, etc., is important and I do them too. But now my 81 year old mother, about to have knee replacement surgery, tells me PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - as in walking, swimming, biking, etc. is also crucially important to keeping the brain unfogged and active. (She's been taking classes as well as exercising daily for some time now.)
Posted by: greene

Re: Mind FOG! - 03/23/11 07:51 PM

Judging by the way I feel when I exercise or don't exercise I think Mom may be right Anne. (But then, they usually are right, aren't they)
Posted by: chatty lady

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/15/11 02:04 AM

MIne certainly always is. It amazes me just how intelligent she is and she mostly uses plain old common sense too.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/22/11 01:39 PM

When I think back to the things my adoptive mother and grandmother told me, I'm amazed at how smart they were. And they
used common sense. Neither of these ladies had much education.
But I've known people over the years with tons of college
background that didn't have near the intelligence of these people. God bless the mothers and grandmothers of the world!
Posted by: Mountain Ash

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/22/11 02:03 PM

Likewise many people with college education have used the priviledge to help educate and heal...to write the books we all read for our personal development and enjoyment..To share the bounty that education can impart.
I also bless those who came before me..honour and respect all they lived through.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/22/11 07:36 PM

Right you are! And I respect education too! Didn't mean to
sound as if I didn't. [Talk about mind fog!] And my folks were born at the turn of the 20th Century. Opportunities were different then.
Posted by: Mountain Ash

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/23/11 08:15 AM

Mind fog...
I perceive mind fog to be a kinda day dreaming our thoughts are somewhere else...you maybe think it is something else.

but you have mentioned in past posts that you believe some
people who have "tons" of education have no common sense..
so maybe this is an example of the sort of through away statement that some people feel is a belief you hold.In my case until yesterday I would not have replied to such posts. But you did seem to want clarification of what is being discussed in another topic. this is a small example.

I do not intent to hurt you but as I am a person who returned to gain qualifications and devoted a part of my adult life to study I hold learning in esteme.I do not speak about those who are talented practically but do not have a degree

My final career was to provide education to those who sought it or who were in the catagory of needing life skills taught.

Education is not an either or..to being practical
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/23/11 01:28 PM

I'm speaking from personal experience, only. I've family members who are very well educated; I hold education in high esteem. On the other hand, we've a family member who has spent his entire life going to school, but has no common sense. My late MIL was a teacher; my hubby is a geologist; his brother and wife both have Master Degrees. I'm not trashing well-educated people. I know I've written poems about "Experts." Don't you ever get bummed at an "expert's" experimental conclusion being negated by another expert doing the same lab experiment and publishing a conclusion in direct opposite to the first. For example: the media announces chocolate, coffee, eggs, or bacon aren't good for you. A few years thereafter somebody else says, dark chocolate, etc., etc. have x,y, z benefits.
That's the sort of stuff I'm talking about. If unclear, again I apologize. I, too, know several people who've gone back to school in later years. I think it's a wonderful goal to desire and attain.
Posted by: Mountain Ash

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/23/11 03:01 PM

Don't you ever get bummed at an "expert's" experimental conclusion being negated by another expert doing the same lab experiment and publishing a conclusion in direct opposite to the first.

thats how progress works...prove/disprove..discuss.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/23/11 04:11 PM

Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/24/11 03:03 PM

Okay I didn't explain myself well in post 212287.

Examples: Darvon Darvocet Problems, "The drug makers ignored the correlation between Darvoct and an increased risk of potentially fatal heart problems, despite a wealth of scientific
and medical evidence available. Results: Heart Arrythmia; heart attack; overdose; death!

at www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/ "Drug maker Schering-Plough has been outright bribing physicians to prescribe drugs and operate
sham clinical trials."

Progress is one thing. Unconscientiously doing the job you've trained for is another. Deliberately conning the public for financial gain, is what bums a person out!
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 04/27/11 01:11 PM

I missed transferring the last half of that top-secret link. It was specifically targeting sham clinical trials. It's on that site but I think several clicks are necessary to follow the trail.
Posted by: chatty lady

Re: Mind FOG! - 05/04/11 10:25 PM

I too have sleep apnea and wear a C-Pap mask. I was without mine for several weeks, after many years wearing it, it broke and had to be totally replaced. I ended up in hospital with pneumonia caused by not having the mask to wear and stopping breathing too many times at night. Sleep Apnea is no joke and before being diagnosed would fall asleep standing at the stove or sink and just fall over...
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 05/05/11 03:57 PM

My brother has sleep apnea too. He has also had 6 types of cancer. This is scary stuff.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Mind FOG! - 05/07/11 03:55 PM

Are there any other corrective aids besides the C-Pap mask to help curb sleep apena? Just wondering.
Posted by: chatty lady

Re: Mind FOG! - 08/11/11 07:40 PM

YES! Lose weight as it causes the disorder and it goes away once your thinner, mine has dissapeared.
Posted by: Sandy N.

Re: Mind FOG! - 08/16/11 02:20 AM

My husband has sleep apnea and wears a C-Pap mask. I sure wish they'd been available years ago so I wouldn't have had so many snore-filled sleepless nights! (Luckily, his apnea is mild, but his snoring was wall-shaking!) His doctor said that not only did his overweight contribute to the problem but also the shape of his palate. Surgery could correct that, but it seemed too extreme a solution to us! We're both sleeping better nowadays.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Mind FOG! - 08/16/11 06:15 PM

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your post. What a perfect topic to bring into our "Mind Fog" discussion!

Being as both my husband and I use PAP machines, I can knowledgeably agree with your statement:
I sure wish they'd been available years ago so I wouldn't have had so many snore-filled sleepless nights!

My first husband snored so loudly that I recall a time when he was sleeping in the bedroom upstairs, and guests in the living room and kitchen -- both downstairs -- were giggling over the fact that we could hear him!

By the time I married Steve I had perfected the ability to instantly fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow: Being asleep was my only defense against the snoring -- but if I didn't get to sleep first, it was never going to happen!

So when I discovered that Steve snored, I was prepared. But in his case, what I started to notice, was that there would be breaks in the snoring. At first I welcomed them, but then I began to understand that during those breaks, he was actually not breathing. I was pretty positive about this, because when the snoring started again, it always was preceded by a gasping noise.

Steve actually tells this part of the story pretty well in a blog post he wrote several years ago: Sleep Apnea Almost Killed Me!

Anyway, fast forward a year or so, and I found myself also diagnosed with sleep apnea. In my case, the diagnosis began after I woke up in the bathroom in the middle of the night, staring at myself in the mirror -- and totally unable to breathe!

Apparently I had stopped breathing so long during sleep that my airway had collapsed -- and I was unable to open it again through gasping. It was a very dramatic moment for me: while I stared at myself in the mirror and one side of my brain said, "You're dying," and the other side said, "No, it's OK; this has happened before. Just keep trying to move air through your esophagus. Eventually you'll get clear."

As the one side of my brain promised, my throat finally "opened up" and I could breathe as if nothing had happened.

I recall sitting on the side of the tub and trying to figure out what had just transpired. Actually, I was petrified by the thought of going back to bed, worried that this would all start up again as soon as I got back to sleep.

First thing in the morning, I called my doctor's office. They said they could see me in 2 weeks. Unable to wait that long - convinced I might be dead in two weeks -- I called my husband's doctor's office and told them my story. They said, "Come in immediately." So I did.

I saw Peg, a nurse practitioner who has become my PCP. She did some tests in the office and then sent me to the hospital for an EKG and some other stuff which took a few weeks to happen.

Peg sent me home with a prescription for some kind of loud breathing machine that I had to be hooked up to at night via nasal cannula. All I remember about it is that it somehow generates oxygen out of room air.

While I may have forgotten what that machine was called, I do know that it gave me confidence that my soft palate would not collapse during the night while we continued testing.

Eventually, with everything else was ruled out, they set up an appointment for me to visit the sleep lab.

I was slightly astounded; doubted I had sleep apnea, but I willing went because I needed to find out what had caused my "situation."

Three visits to the sleep lab later - yes, it was not easy - it was determined that I have very severe sleep apnea. Bottom line: A C-PAP can't generate enough air to keep my throat open. So I use what's called a "Bi-PAP" machine.

Let's just explain it by saying that the "PAP" stands for "positive airway pressure," and that number your PAP machine is set to has to do with how much pressure is being pumped into you to keep the airways open.

Steve's PAP number is 7. Mine is 25. But that's too much air pressure to be continuous -- You can't breathe out against it. So the "bi" part refers to the fact that my machine alternately backs off the pressure, so I can exhale.

By the way, I don't start out the night with that amount of pressure immediately. My machine ramps up to it over time, starting at 12. (Yes, my ramp starts higher than my husband's final pressure. But we don't dwell on that. He thinks 7 is a lot of pressure. And, quite honestly, the techs at the sleep lab weren't sure I would be able to tolerate all that pressure. It's second nature to me now... )

Now all of this might sound horrid, but let me tell you this: Since I began sleeping with the machine, I am alert all day, I never fall asleep at the computer, when driving, during sermons in church or during long-winded after dinner-speeches. ALL of which used to happen to me.

Best of all, I can drive all day or all night -- and have -- without becoming drowsy. Prior to knowing about my problem, I used to eat candy, chew gum, keep my window open, and keep the radio playing loudly in order to stay awake during any driving trip in excess of 30 minutes.

Steve had gotten used to the fact that another way I stayed awake during long driving trips was to stop the car and run around it a few times -- "to get my blood moving again," I said.

(Prior to my diagnosis, if I didn't do those things, it was possible that I would find myself asleep at the wheel -- in an instant, and without much warning. I say this based on experience. Thankfully I never hit anyone or anything when this happened.)

Now I am alert all day long, and so much better able to keep track of all life's details and manage my work.

Here's more: I was diagnosed a few years PRIOR to the sleep apena with Type 2 Diabetes, and I think it was probably brought on by all the candy I used to eat in order to stay awake...

These days my blood sugar numbers are always in the normal range, and the only thing I'm doing differently is that I no longer consume ridiculous amounts of sugar to stay awake. I'm not on insulin or any other drugs, and I pretty much eat the same things as anyone else. Even dessert.

I also no longer have any problems with acid reflux.

Bottom line: I love my PAP machine and would never sleep a night without it. I am so glad to be clear of the mind fog I used to live with constantly.

Sandy, I'm so delighted you brought up this topic, as I suspect there are a TON of people out in the world living with some degree of sleep apnea, whose lives would be so much better if they were diagnosed. But they aren't, because snoring seems like such a "harmless" problem.

Oh, one last thing: If you know someone who has been diagnosed with sleep apena, but who can't tolerate the mask that they have been prescribed, I can understand. None of the masks they tried on me would fit properly.

They might fit at first, but as I started to relax into sleep, my facial muscles relaxed, and the mask would no longer be tight fitting. This meant air would escape, and that led to OBNOXIOUS squealing noises.

Steve doesn't have a full or partial face mask. He uses a little nose piece, about two inches wide, which fits into the nose and then hooks up to a hose which delivers the air. When Rosie O'Donnell demonstrated HER mask on TV a few years ago, she had a similar nose piece, though hers was bigger.

As I was getting used to the PAP machine, Steve was considering having to sleep in a separate room because he was so bothered by the squealing noises. They bothered me too, as fixing the mask required a certain amount of arousal -- and then having to get back to sleep again.

IN desperation one night, I tried one of Steve's nasal pillows (yes, that's what they are called) and voila! Problem solved. The techs at the medical equipment store where I went to get fitted were amazed when I told them what solution was working for me. Their training had said that anyone with pressures as high as mine MUST HAVE a full face mask.

To which I can tell you: I love the nasal pillows, they are quite unobtrusive, and much preferable to the masks.

OK enough about me. Anyone else out there using a PAP machine?

Posted by: Sandy N.

Re: Mind FOG! - 08/17/11 06:31 AM

Thanks for posting you story, Anne. Fascinating. We're lucky that my husband's apnea was diagnosed as "mild to moderate." Still, that mask is a wonderful invention and has benefited us both. (He uses the "pillows" too.)
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Mind FOG! - 08/18/11 11:15 PM

You're absolutely right, Sandy about the CPAP mask being a Godsend! Good for you as you sleep a lot better not having to deal with your husband's snoring -- and a boon for him, too! Not only does he get better rest and sleep more soundly, but he won't die - or become brain damaged - as a result of the apneas.

Sorry to have written so much on my story below yours, but this is something I am a real evangelist about -- Too many people don't realize the health challenges sleep apnea poses -- or the fact that we can be totally cured using the CPAP.

I think there are a couple of other devices on the market which are supposed to be able to keep the airways open. But I have no personal knowledge of them.
Posted by: chatty lady

Re: Mind FOG! - 10/27/11 09:01 PM

I believe the CPAP is your best bet for that Anne. I ended up in the hospital once when mine broke and I didn't have it for a couploe of weeks.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Mind FOG! - 10/27/11 09:22 PM

Oh Chatty, sorry to hear what happened to you when your CPAP broke. I was looking at how many hours I have on my machine, and it is a LOT. I was just wondering what the life expectancy of those machines is.

And I am hoping that if mine were to break I could immediately get a replacement from the company that we bought it from. I expect I could, as they were able to do that when mine "went on the fritz" early on. They brought me a loaner to use while mine was repaired. Set it up and made sure I knew how it worked...