Local woman seeks help finding machine to fight sleep disorder

SANDUSKY Every night Cheryl Eaton goes to bed not sure she'll wake up in the morning. During the course of three hours
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

Every night Cheryl Eaton goes to bed not sure she'll wake up in the morning.

During the course of three hours of sleep, she stops breathing 95 times --once every two minutes. Desperate for peace, she turned to the Register's classified ads last week to, as she puts it, beg for the machine that'll save her life.

Eaton has sleep apnea, a condition that affects 20 million people in the United States. Among its many symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness, loud or disruptive snoring and gasping or choking during sleep.

Eaton was initially misdiagnosed and had two surgeries in 2000 for stress incontinence because she thought she was waking up so much because she had to use the bathroom.

"It was really getting to the point that I couldn't stand getting up in the morning," she said. "You're just so tired during the day. I can go to bed at 8 at night and wake up at 8 in the morning and I'm exhausted."

She was talking about the symptoms with another patient in the waiting room of her doctor's office one day when the other patient suggested she had sleep apnea. Her doctor then diagnosed her with sleep apnea.

Finding out what was wrong was her first hurdle. Now Eaton is trying to afford the breathing machine that helps sleep apnea.

"I don't have the machine because I can't afford it," said Eaton, a Dollar General employee. "I take in about $750 a month, and it's $3,100 for the machine. That's the least I was quoted."

Because you need a prescription to use a machine, it is not covered by her limited health care insurance, which does not cover prescriptions.

In the hope of obtaining a machine, Eaton has placed a classified ad in the Register -- a spot most commonly reserved for people trying to sell furniture and cars, among other things.

"I am hoping somebody out there has got one in a closet or basement or garage or something," she said. "If I don't get contacted, I will just basically do what I've been doing: Pray to God I wake up in the morning."