Anyone else out there spent a bit of ... - British Lung Foun...

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Anyone else out there spent a bit of time in one of these C-pap helmets.

dall05 profile image

In ICU they called me Buzz Lightyear, I wonder why :) . I was wondering how many of you have had the pleasure of living in one of these contraptions. Its a kind of pressurised oxygen helmet, I was stuck in one of these before I was sedated and ventilated and also after I came round 1 month later.

I was in that thing for a few weeks and had to be spoon fed through the unscrewable round hole near my mouth, when I finished eating the cover was screwed back in and the pressure returned to help force oxygen through my lungs and into my blood stream.

It was a very interesting experience for me and my family and one not to fear if you are ever faced with it.

Life can be very interesting living with lung disease cant it Healthunlockeders :)


13 Replies

i feel for you i was in icu for one night i think had a mask on witch was like something off Hannibal lector with clips on a pressurised mask i said i just wanted to die with this on i felt like i couldnt breath with the air they were forcing in my lungs i never want to experience that again im glad you came through ok xx

Hi frankie, glad you came through ok too even though your one night experience sounds as though it was far worse than my 2 weeks. I do remember the first night was tough and a little scary but I got used to it, That night I remember turning my head to one side and looking down the ICU ward, it was quite dark, the nurses were all at the station watching everyones vital signs on their screens, machines were beeping and lights were flickering, I thought I was in a scene from Alien and I did wonder if I would ever get out of that place.

I'll never forget that C-PAP Helmet experience for one main reason, It saved my life! :) .

Tony xx

That looks fairly comfortable, I have had the mask in a hospital in Spain and it was really scary at the time, did the job though so it is good they are making advances in this area.

dall05 profile image
dall05 in reply to Perce

Cool look en' it Perce, NOT! .I thought it might be worth posting so if any of the good people on this site ended up having to spend some time in one it wouldn't come as a shock. The secret is to stay as relaxed as possible and not panic isn't it and you soon get used to the pressure and also the noise. It was very noisy inside, all I could hear was the oxygen coming in so that made it quite difficult to communicate with the doctors and your family.

The main thing is it works and raises your blood oxygen levels which can make the difference to whether they ventilate or not.

At first it didn't work for me so they did sedate and ventilate me but when I came round 1 month later it helped me get my lungs working again until I could do without it.

As you say 'it did the job' any advances that can help us are welcome however strange they may seem.


I was made to have one on and I could not get on with it I got so hot in it, sweat was dripping off the plastic. I was sedated had a traci and ventilated but was then put on an Oscillator for 12 days and then some other machine for the next 20 days.

May I add that you have a look at ICU Steps

dall05 profile image
dall05 in reply to Offcut

Hi Oc, sounds like we've shared similar experiences you and I. ICU started with the C-PAP which couldn't stop my sats falling so it was sedation traci and ventilation for a month. They had me on an oscillator for a few days, connected a machine called the Nova Lung into my groin artery to remove carbon dioxide from my blood, I had kidney dialysis to save my kidney's which started to fail, lung drains, but of course you only find all this out later when your back in the land of the living. Then it was a few weeks back on the C-Pap helmet which I was more prepared for second time around.

I finally got out of ICU after 2 1/2 months and weighing 3 1/2 stone lighter having had a pulmonary embolism and intravenous along the way for good measure and out of the hospital after a total of 4 months.

This ICU Steps could be a good place for me to have a look at seeing as I'm Worcesters ICU long stay record holder now. :)

It seems we are very very very lucky people Offcut and have a lot to thank those ICU people for.

Tony Thanks for your reply :)

Offcut profile image
Offcut in reply to dall05

I lost 3 stone and was in MOF and they told the wife twice I Was not going to survive the night. I was know as the chest drain man as they got 3.5 ltrs of fluid out of my lungs on the first day and a ltr min every day after. I had artery boxes on my wrists which helped when they gave me 6 units of blood one day.

I had what I call my second life going on as well as the mixed up one which was I think happening while I was in ICU.

I agree I could not thank the ICU staff enough for what they did to keep me alive. I have the scars to prove it ;) literally

dall05 profile image
dall05 in reply to Offcut

There's no doubt that a spell in ICU is the best diet around eh' offcut. Like you my wife was taken into the little back room and given the news that I wasn't going to make it but it seems they didn't know us did they.

I to had another life going on under sedation and I still remember it all now very clearly.

I also remember when I was coming round Ghostly figures around my bed and telling a nurse she was my wife and getting angry when she said she wasn't.

I also remember the trachea tube which seemed to be pinning me to the bed, what I didn't realise was I had no muscles left to move myself with.

Its amazing the amount of holes they stick in you ain't it and I don't ever remember giving them permission for any of them. :)

I go back to ICU or as I like to call it the place of miracles every Christmas time now with the staff biscuits and to show them they didn't waist their time on me.

So far they've bought me an extra 4 years and I plan on making that a whole lot more.


Offcut profile image
Offcut in reply to dall05

You are so right I was awake with the first drain but I don't do well with anesthetic and could feel the incision it was not painful but felt very strange. When I made a sound indicating I was not enjoying it he said you cant feel that can you? When I said a little he put some more anesthetic in. The second one did not go to plan and I bought up blood and said to the doctor thats not good. I was supposed to be in an induced coma at that point and remembered his face. It seems that you lose 2% of your body weight a day in ICU but the body being a wonderful thing takes it nutrients from muscle as Fat does not feed the body when it needs to get it from elsewhere.

It was a strange time I was moved to another hospital while in the coma and I had not been to it before but remembered the car park and the fact I had an oriental nurse for a time.

It was not until the day I was moved to a general ward I even noticed I had artery boxes stitched to my wrist. and it took forever to make my hands work again from the claws they had become.

Onwards and upwards

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Had a tight fitting oxygen mask that forced oxygen into my lungs - horrible - was trying to claw it off as couldn't breathe. Didn't work and spent the next two weeks in ICU, induced coma, ventillated and then a tracheostomy :( x

dall05 profile image
dall05 in reply to Hidden

Hi Lovelight, It would have saved us a whole lot of trouble if that dam C-Pap helmet/mask had done its job and worked. After my month of sedation and ventilation I spent a further 1 1/2 months in ICU and saw a number of people fitted out with the C-Pap helmet and it worked for them, lucky blighters.

Oh well were still here, we just took the long route to escape ICU and we have our trache scars as evidence.

I did spend 48 hours with a high pressure face mask on, they told me it was an older version of the C-Pap helmet. Boy was I glad when they finally came and removed it. I've got to say I felt much better for a couple of hours afterwards but was still hallucinating as I thought I was sat talking to my wife in a garden shed and I did all sorts of exercises with the physios, which was amazing seeing as I couldn't even role myself in the bed at this time. :)

I would never want to go back to ICU as an inpatient but I do look back with amazement at what those guy's did to save me. They are my bloody hero's :)

Tony xx

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As a claustrophobic person this absolutely terrifies me. I admire your achievement at sticking it out for so long. You must be a determined, brave person with a lot of self control.

I found out a lot about myself in ICU, Luckily I seemed to be able to cope with just about everything they threw at me but I did think they were poor at explaining what they were doing and why. I worked a lot out for myself, for instance when in the pressurised helmet they were telling me to breath normally but its not normal in there. I found all you had to do to breath in was open your mouth and the pressure inflated your lungs (took less energy) then you breathed out normal. I got a rhythm going and kept it going. I guess you just do what you have to and hope it works.

You'll probably never have to wear a C-pap Helmet but if you do remember to lie back and relax as much as possible until you aclimatize and you'll be just fine.


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