April 3, 2014

Albert Richards


Albert provides some common sense approaches to managing your own health, and discusses the unusual problems associated with the use of Variable Positive Air Pressure Therapy (VPAP).The Medical Profession

The patient is the only person at the coal face 24/7 to know what is continuously happening to him. He or She must be the Project Manager to co-ordinate doctors, specialists and other medical personnel.

Doctors only offer advice, but the decision to accept or not is solely that of the patient. I  must never be afraid to question health professionals, ask to have anything explained that I don’t understand, and seek a second opinion if still dissatisfied.

For a patient who has been twice hospitalised with a common cold, and been advised to avoid contact with infected people, doctors’ surgeries represent areas of risk with coughing and sneezing patients. on occasion I have been kept waiting for over an hour past appointment time in such potentially hazardous conditions.

I am unimpressed when specialists retire without informing patients. Twice I have wasted my time and energy by teeing up for an appointment, only to learn the specialist has retired.

Variable Positive Air Pressure Therapy

To ensure I woke each morning, I was advised in 2000 that I needed to go on a VPAP machine at night set at a high pressure to act as a ventilator. I was initially devastated already being aware that a friend who had been prescribed a VPAP was unable to accept the therapy, saying he would rather die first. Soon after he did. I was unable to sleep and the VPAP caused unpleasant complications by day and night contending with the following reactions several of which remain today.

• My normal breathing pattern became difficult

• My eyes continuously watered

• I sneezed continuously

• My ears periodically popped

• Noise caused by air leaking from the periphery of the mask disturbed my sleep

• A lesion developed on the bridge of my nose

• The head strap caused a rash to break out on the back of my head and neck

Medication temporarily relieved the symptoms which took ages to subside. Normally patients are not permitted to adjust the VPAP parameters, however, i was allowed given my technical background. Eleven years later I am still using the VPAP to synchronise in with my normal breathing pattern something a specialist would not have had the time or opportunity to do.

Back Brace

As a legacy of an accident I suffered as a child I have need to wear a back brace to stand on my feet. Unfortunately it inhibits my breathing by applying pressure to my diaphragm so a compromise has to be made. A specialist prescribed a brace moulded to my body that proved useless. It transferred pressure from my abdomen to my chest that unacceptably inhibited my breathing. From that I learned that doctors can be poor engineers and are not always endowed with common sense.


One’s body requires a healthy body to fight disease, and I have acquired it from advice from doctors and dieticians in hospitals. I have kept religiously to the low fat diet of mostly fish and poultry and vegetables. Fresh food and no salt added in cooking or to meals. I attribute the fact that I take no medications to that diet. I have the blood pressure of a young man and no cholesterol.