After finally meeting with my pulmonologist, getting directed to a medical equipment supplier in my area, scheduling an appointment, and going to said appointment, I finally have a CPAP machine.
The machine I got (pictured above) is a Philips Respironics DS560S, or by another name, a REMstar Auto. The device is an Auto-CPAP, which means it adjusts the amount of pressure needed depending on how well I'm breathing at any given moment. This pressure is designed to keep your airway open while sleeping to minimize the number of apneas (stop breathing) and hypopneas (shallow breathing).
Last night was the first night I slept with it, and I have to say: it made a difference. This morning, I was actually awake when I woke up, rather than my usual grogginess. I can't remember the last time that happened. That said, I woke up several times during the night as I'm clearly not used to sleeping with a mask on.
One stat my machine gives me is my AHI value. This is the Apnea Hypopnea Index, i.e. the number of breathing events that occur in the middle of the night that interrupt my sleep. Since this machine auto titrates, it has to know when I have an event in order to ramp the pressure up.
During the recent sleep study I did, my AHI was 8.9. Last night with the CPAP: 2. That puts me into the normal range and it makes a noticeable difference.
I also got a humidifier with my unit but I didn't use it last night. Compared to my usual non-CPAP sleeping, my mouth was actually less dry so I don't intend to use it unless it becomes an issue.
The mask I got, for those who are interested, is a Fisher and Paykel Simplus. It's a full face mask and it fits me comfortably--more so than the masks I tried on at the hospital. That said everyone is different as to what works for them and their are many choices available.
So far I'm liking the results.