Questions and Answers.

Questions.

“What should we do?  Where should we go?  Is this the right decision, person, or plan?”   Questions.  We ALL have them.  Some questions have obvious answers; “Should I wear a seat belt” or “Must I look before crossing a street?”  Other questions are not as easy.  Accepting a new job, pursuing a relationship or buying a house, all take more time and information before reaching a decision.  The most challenging questions are those with answers which will affect many people.  One decision starting a Domino-like chain reaction.  ”Will my decision bring the desired result, or will it be a huge mistake?”  These are the life-changing questions; difficult to make, but unavoidable.

Answers.

Sometimes it’s tempting to think, “I just want someone to tell me the right answer; give a guarantee that everything will work out for the best.”  Sound familiar?  You may recall the Old Testament Bible story describing a hand that appeared, writing on the medieval King’s wall a warning of imminent danger?

Now that’s what we need….a Source for answers, one that inspires confidence and trust; the proverbial “Handwriting on the Wall.”¹

Amidst the ordinary tasks involved with running a business, it seems that in the past few months we’ve encountered an extra-dose of challenges. Some are exciting, others more difficult in nature. Recently on a blue-sky day, while talking about the pros & cons of pending decisions, we noticed an interesting cloud in the sky.  It looked like a letter ‘T’.  Next we saw a tiny black speck moving, and saw another letter-cloud take shape. Fascinated, our eyes were glued to the blue canvas as two complete words took shape!   

 

I’m convinced that

 

we have experienced

 

the “Handwriting On The Wall.”

 

 

    This is the answer, and we are listening…

 ¹    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_writing_on_the_wall

 

A Veteran’s Story.

The last few months have been extra-special on this Dreams With Hope sleep awareness tour. Traveling from CA. back to the Mid and South Eastern states, we’ve had the privilege of stopping at many  VA Medical Centers, providing RemZzzs® samples for the Vets to try-out.  At every location we’ve seen men and women pass through the VA doors; some with canes or crutches…others with missing limbs and in wheelchairs.  But something else we’ve noticed are the smiles and sense of comraderie and pride.  These people are True Heros!  They have selflessly served all of us….by fighting to protect our freedom and our lives. We feel honored to offer RemZzzs® to the many Vets who struggle with wearing their CPAP or respiratory masks…it’s just one small way of giving back.

We’d like to share a moving personal story from a Veteran, sent into our website recently:

“When I returned from Iraq in December 2006 I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.  The VA issued me a C-Pap machine and told me that I needed to wear it every night because I stopped breathing so frequently.  The first week I used the machine told me that there would be a problem – the bridge of my nose became a blister from eye to eye where the mask pushed against my face, and I found that the painful blister kept me from wearing the mask.  I called the VA and told them about the problems I was encountering but they had no idea how to help.  We tried several different nasal masks and they all had the same problems - pressure across the bridge of my nose which caused blisters that wept and bled. and leaks that caused my eyes to ‘crust over’ in response to the leaks.  Since I was working a job that kept me in the ‘public eye’ daily, it was embarrassing to have this wound on my face, not to mention how painful it was to wear my glasses.

Since the VA had no idea what else they could do to help with these issues, I set about looking for others with the same problems. At first I looked for Anything that would help… I found a group of people in a Sleep Apnea support group online, and someone mentioned RemZzzs face mask liners.  I immediately went looking until I found them online.  I ordered a trial pack of nasal liners the same hour.

The liners arrived a couple of days later and I had the first ‘decent’ nights sleep since… I can’t remember!  I use my machine every night and I know that I would not have been able to do so had it not been for RemZzzs!  I took the package and precious ‘samples’ with me to my doctor at my next VA appointment.  I showed him photos of how my nose had become a massive blister, and how with RemZzzs Liners it had not only healed, but allowed me to use my machine every night.  I suggested he take them to the procurement department at the VA and to make them available to other Veterans that were diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.  I… kept ‘bugging’ the VA to ‘get them on the list of Mandatory items provided with the machines… I recently learned that the VA is now providing them to soldiers returning that have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, and to other Veterans who have been suffering the same issues with their masks for many years.  I am so happy that RemZzzs finally made it into the system – now other Veterans have the opportunity to get a ‘good nights sleep’ thanks to RemZzzs!  

You REALLY ARE life savers – since so many people will do the MOF (mask on floor) instead of wearing their appliances without these liners!  I’ve been using them nightly for the past 6 years, and I couldn’t be happier since I can get a good nights rest without the blisters and crusty eyes in the morning!  Thank You for this awesome product!”

SGT Kimberly Drier
OIF – DAV – Ret

 

“When one door closes…another will open.”

No one likes a door slammed in their face!  First comes shock and disbelief…quickly followed by frustration.  Finally, the question, “Why?”

Back in March 2013 we experienced a “slamming door” when the powers-that-be declared RemZzzs® no longer qualified for Medicare or Insurance billing after nearly 3 years as a covered CPAP accessory.  The news was disturbing; the explanation given was illogical.  After appealing this decision twice, we were denied both times.

Although many of our medical supply companies still buy RemZzzs® and provide it for their patients on a cash-basis, others were not able to do so.  RemZzzs® is a wonderful product that solves most of the mask-related issues, and we are still here! Don’t believe any rumors that we are going out of business.  Yes, it hit us pretty hard. However, because RemZzzs®  is such a quality item, many patients have continued to order directly from our website:  www.remzzzs.com.

                                 “When one door closes…another will open.”

The “new door”  will focus on the respiratory patient during a hospital stay.  RemZzzs® is launching a Hospital Box containing 20 individual patient paks; servicing each person for 3 nights while in the hospital.  Veterans Medical Centers are also jumping on this train.  We’re chugging-along down the tracks, picking up speed…’clickety-clack…don’t look back!’  Watch for us to roll through the Southeastern states during the 2013 Fall and Winter months.  If you see the Dreams With Hope bus….give us a wave, a honk, or send an email to:

                                          dreamswithhope@remzzzs.com

We are available for an Inservice, conference speaker, AWAKE support group meeting, and individual appointments.  If interested, contact Sales Director, Adam. His email is: adam@remzzzs.com.

T.O.U.R.

Comical or thought-provoking, frustrating or inspirational…glad you are following our journey!

The Dreams With Hope Tour began September 5, 2013 with a Sleep Awareness Clinic sponsored by Sleep Solutions Inc. of Troy, Michigan. Now nearly 11 months later, having traveled through 30 states and over 16,000 miles, we’ve graduated to the status of “Road Warriors!” The experience has been a real mix of fun, tension, work, and new adventures.  In a nutshell, this is my acronym for T.O.U.R.

T =  Testimonials.  People.  REAL people with real struggles adjusting to, or continuing with CPAP therapy have been our focus.  The stories we’ve heard; the frustration-turned-to-hope when trying RemZzzs®, is worth any amount of inconvenience or struggle.  This is one such encounter…

“I don’t know if you remember me we meet at the KOA pool back in mid December. I have meant to get back to you earlier to let you know how impressed I am with your product. As you may recall I normally don’t wear my CPAP machine as I live alone, recently I vacationed with my girlfriend and she too was dully impressed as well in the difference your product made in reducing\eliminating machine noise and air leaks, this making for a more enjoyable get-away. Thanks again for taking the time to sit with me and review the product and for the samples, I am sold on your product.” Bob B. Ottawa, ON

O = Organization.  Rule of thumb:  Everyday things just take longer when traveling and living in an RV.  Always add at least 1-2 hours drive-time to any GPS estimate.  Plan, plan, plan….but even the ‘best laid plans’ can quickly fall apart.
U = Unexpected.  The things we’ve seen….a kaliedescope of amazing, crazy, beautiful, sometimes scary.  Mother Nature has provided us with a full array of weather:  triple-digit temps, torrential rain, dust storm, bright sunshine and cloudy-dreary days.  Our motto has become “expect the unexpected.”
R = Rewarding.  What an opportunity of a lifetime!  This cross-country trip promoting awareness of sleep apnea, has been a one-of-a-kind, truly rewarding experience.

Still On The Move.

No…we didn’t disappear, drop-out or call-it-quits…even though we did hit the proverbial “bump in the road.”

Sometimes when life throws an unexpected “curve ball” it may require some “time-out” to re-focus and re-energize.  In early March we were notified that RemZzzs® could no longer be reimbursed by Medicare as a covered item.

SMACK!  That curve ball was crazy!

Currently, we have submitted documentation to the powers-that-be to request a reconsideration of that decision.  Now we wait in the “dugout” for their final ruling. Regardless of what that may be, we KNOW that RemZzzs® are NOT “duplicative” of the functions of the cpap mask cushion.  To the contrary, RemZzzs® solve the many issues CAUSED by direct contact of the silicone mask cushion against the patient’s face.

“Thank You” for the more than 1000 personal letters received by folks using RemZzzs®.  We printed and mailed each one to the Committee reviewing our appeal for reinstatement of the Medicare billing codes!

In a nutshell…for the past several weeks, the “Dreams With Hope” sleep awareness tour has rolled through arid deserts, mountain wind-tunnels, prickly fields of cactus and lush tropical ocean landscapes.  In every area traveled we’ve met awesome people and heard their personal stories; reminding us once again of WHY we embarked on this journey in the first place…to connect with real people, who need real answers to their sleep therapy struggles.

 What an opportunity it has been…

Presently, the remainder of the sleep awareness Tour’s schedule is under review. We’d like to reach the Northwest, Mountain and Prairie states before the first of September.  If you are a respiratory therapist, clinician, doctor or other sleep professional who would like the Tour to make a stop at your facility, please contact our Tour Coordinator, Becky. Contact her via:  dreamswithhope@remzzzs.com

Determination. Courage.

Comical or thought-provoking, frustrating or inspirational…come along on our journey.

Life is a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs; a rushing river twisting and turning…equal parts thrilling and terrifying.  At times I’ve wished for the ability to see into the future, quickly realizing that such a wish-come-true could prove to be a curse.

Today is a roller coaster day… screaming for determination, courage and faith; imploring us to stand tall and bloom where we are planted.

                                             Determination!

Today, in the midst of decisions and life’s “twists and turns” I received an encouraging email from one of our amazing employees.  I am compelled to share it with you.  Today…may you draw strength from her thoughts and words…as I did.

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

I read an article today and something in it instantly made me think of you both…  The article (was) entitledNora Ephron’s Broadway hit ‘Lucky Guy’ with Tom Hanks is a profound, poignant swan song”.  Nora Ephron was a journalist, but more known for being the writer of “When Harry Met Sally”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You’ve Got Mail” and “Julie & Julia” to name a few of her movies. She passed away last summer, but has one last play that is coming out starring Tom Hanks. The article quotes her son, he speaks of a scene from her last play about a very famous newspaper reporter. He writes...

“In the play my mother wrote, there’s a scene toward the end, in which McAlary, sick with cancer, goes to the Poconos to visit his friend Jim Dwyer, then a columnist at The Daily News. It’s a glorious summer day, and McAlary’s 12-year-old son, Ryan, wants to do a flip off the diving board, but he gets scared and can’t do it. So McAlary takes off his shirt, walks to the edge of the diving board and says to him:

“When you do these things, you can’t be nervous.  If you think about what can go wrong, if you think about the belly flop, that’s what’ll happen.
And then McAlary does the flip himself, and makes a perfect landing!
It’s a metaphor, obviously, for his view about life, and I’ve come to think it might as well have been about my mother (Nora Ephron).
The point is that you don’t let fear invade your psyche.  Because then you might as well be dead.”
When I read this, your faces were immediately in the forefront of my mind…
None of us would be here today without the perseverance, faith and courage that you have both shown in your life. Our customers would still be suffering and I am convinced that it would be a very long time until someone else came along with a RemZzzs’ like product, if ever.  Thank you for keeping on, keeping on.

Becky Bennett
Dreams With Hope Tour Coordinator &
RemZzzs® Social Media Consultant
♥    ♥    ♥    ♥
        Thank YOU Becky for your encouragement.  It reminds me of a quote I heard once.
                                           “Courage Is Really Fear With Feet.”

1,670 Miles Of Sleep

Spotlighting sleep professionals joining with us in this cross-country mission; shining a light on the importance of sleep.

From north-central Florida, all the way west to El Paso TX…we’ve had sleep on our minds.  Not that we were sleepy, or even drowsy from traveling 1,670+ miles in two weeks…far from it!

The Dreams With Hope Sleep Awareness Tour has taken us to hundreds of towns and cities during these past 5½ months; traveling from Michigan, out east, down south, and now heading across the southwestern states.  At every stop we’ve encountered good people.  From sleep apnea patients, doctors and therapists, to everyday folks in campgrounds, stores and truck stops…what a privilege it has been to educate about RemZzzs®…a simple yet effective solution that improves the success rate of CPAP users!

Leesburg is a small north-central Florida town situated near The Villages, an area teaming with retirees fondly referred to as “Snow Birds.” This is a place where golf carts out-number the cars.  Driving around town in our big Dream Machine…we felt, well….EXTRA BIG!  Michelle, a Respiratory Therapist at Lincare, invited us to participate in her CPAP clinic, also giving an informal RemZzzs® Inservice.  We had a great time getting to know Michelle, whose style is a combination of tough & tender; jokingly called “Bat Girl” because when she finds a patient NOT following her CPAP instructions, she will say, “Don’t make me take my bat out!”   They all love her.

Houston, Texas is a busy, busy city with miles of criss-crossing highways and bridges.  We found that many parking lots are several feet higher than the roads, with very steep driveways, presenting a problem for maneuvering our bus.  Leaving it at the RV Park we drove in by car instead….where there’s a will there’s a way!  Baylor College of Medicine & SleepMed Therapy co-host 2 CPAP clinics weekly and Bob was able to demonstrate RemZzzs® to patients and also do an In-service with the sleep Techs & RTs on hand that day from 2 area DMEs:
SleepMed Therapy (Trung T, RT) and Brite HealthCare (John T, RT).  Interestingly, these two men are brothers and both RT’s, working for different medical supply Companies.  A little bit of friendly competition is healthy!

Dr. Fidaa Shaib, sleep doctor at BCM Sleep Center, often recommends that her patients try RemZzzs®.  Lisa Z, (RT and scheduler) and Michael R, (Sleep Tech) at BCM, contributed to the success of the clinic.

Dallas, Texas.  Known for “JR Ewing”, Dallas Cowboys, and the site of John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination.  I imagine that today’s Dallas looks far different than back in the 1960′s; finding it a challenge to locate the exact spot where President Kennedy’s motorcade traveled that fateful day in November 1963.  But find it we did; the road being marked with an X.

Texas Medical Diagnostics is a company with many diagnostics & Sleep Centers dedicated to treating the patient as a whole.   Stacey A-S, (RPSGT, RST, EMT-B and COO of the company) contacted our office previously to request samples.  Wendy G, (President/Owner) met Bob at the Nashville FOCUS meeting a few months ago and happened to be in the Fort Worth corporate office…heading back tomorrow to Florida.  Bob spent an hour talking with Wendy, demonstrating RemZzzs® to her and Stacy, Melanie and Karen (sales reps).  When Dave Talmage (our Materials Manger & Show Specialist) is in Dallas for an upcoming Show, he will hold an In-service for their staff.

El Paso, Texas has a unique flavor because of its close proximity to Mexico just across the Rio Grande River, and its multicultural population.  We found the mountains and landscape to be desolate yet starkly beautiful with shifting hues of purple, grey and rust-brown.  The people in El Paso were very friendly, interested in the Dreams With Hope Tour and open to learning about RemZzzs

Joe Campbell, Administrator of the El Paso Sleep Centers invited us to stop-off on the Tour; in-servicing staff at two separate state-of-the-art locations housing 26 sleep study beds!  Joe Arteaga (RPsgT and CPFT) admitted walking past the RemZzzs® Booth at last summer’s Boston Sleep Show, thinking that the liners didn’t deserve a second look. However, after seeing RemZzzs® demonstrated and hearing Bob explain the many benefits for patients, Joe said, “I think you are doing the right thing by coming to the people.  Now that I’ve seen these in person it makes sense!”  Steve Fierro, from  Dreams Medical Equipment, works closely with the El Paso Sleep Centers.  We enjoyed showing Steve inside our living quarters of the Dream Machine; sitting down and sharing our story of struggle and breakthrough when Bob developed the mask liners.   

Clouds. Celestial Art.

Comical or thought-provoking, frustrating or inspirational…come along on our journey.

Motoring across America in our Dreams With Hope Sleep Awareness tour bus, perched high above the road in front-row theatre seats, we’ve experienced a kaleidoscope of heavenly creations.  Literally, our motorhome’s huge front window offers a Montana-Big-Sky panoramic view.

As seen from my seat…hope you enjoy these original works of art.

            GHOST DOLPHINS

                BABY T-REX

     CLOUD GLASSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

       THE GRINCH

 

 

     TURKEY HEAD

 

 

 

 

             CASPER

                 A RemZzzs®…or a Heart?

Daily scanning the wide expanse above, I keep searching for the perfect RemZzzs® cloud. This is the closest I have come…so far.

Here’s an idea for my readers….

Since ‘two heads are better than one’, I should think that 4 eyes (or maybe hundreds?) would be better than just my 2.  If you see a RemZzzs®shaped cloud, snap a pic, (NO Photoshop please) submit it here on the Blog or send to debbie@remzzzs.com...

There will be a special prize involved.   

Keep looking up!

RemZzzs®-Cloud WINNER!

Life is a blank canvas waiting to become your own original work of art…“ ¹

 

 

¹     Original quote - by D. Rutan

 

 

 

 

All In The Family…

Genetics are a mysterious yet fascinating subject to me.  According to Dr Ananya Mandal, MD., “Genetics is the study of heredity. Heredity is a biological process where a parent passes certain genes onto their children or offspring. Every child inherits genes from both of their biological parents and these genes in turn express specific traits. Some of these traits may be physical for example hair and eye color and skin color etc. On the other hand some genes may also carry the risk of certain diseases and disorders that may pass on from parents to their offspring.¹

Wikipedia gives an in-depth history of the subject. “The fact that living things inherit traits from their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. However, the modern science of genetics, which attempts to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century.²

According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research,³  it comes as no shock then…that Sleep Apnea has strong genetic ties.

Recently we enjoyed a delightful breakfast with Adam Amdur, his wife and daughter.  Adam is an exceptional young man with his own story to tell.  In doing so, he is becoming a voice in the world of Sleep Apnea, serving as Board Chair of the ASAA (American Sleep Apnea Association).

                Bob, Adam Amdur and family


 “He (Adam) was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in 2008. As he struggled to manage his treatment, it wasn’t until he found his way to the sleep center at Stanford University that he received the support needed to adequately control his overall medical condition. Since then Amdur has been passionate about assisting others with understanding this disease and getting the help they need. He is currently writing a memoir, Asleep at the Wheel: Living with Sleep Apnea, in hopes of educating the public about apnea and its effects on both adults and children.”  (Bio taken from the ASAA website - sleepapnea.org)

We found Adam to be highly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing the information he has learned; all in a variety of creative venues such as an educational ‘Talk” at an area High School.  (See school’s online newspaper – (http://theodabolt.com/student-life/2012/09/20/adam-amdur-talks-to-the-upper-school-about-sleep-2/).  As a parent himself, Adam has experienced the pain of learning that his own child suffers with Sleep Apnea; being diagnosed at age 2.  When I contemplate the adjustment for an adult wearing a CPAP mask every night, I can only imagine the emotional upheaval for a family with a child adapting to the therapy.  Adam and his wife both confided that without the use of RemZzzs® their daughter would not be compliant or successful with her CPAP therapy!  Since her fair skin is sensitive, the soft cotton liners protect her face from direct contact, making it more comfortable and easier to wear.

We can safely say that our most memorable endorsement so far is from the mouth of this little 5 yr old, saying with the sweetest smile…

I like my RemZzzs®.

 

¹    http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Genetics.aspx

²    Weiling, F (1991). “Historical study: Johann Gregor Mendel 1822–1884.”. American journal of medical genetics 40 (1): 1–25; discussion 26. doi:10.1002/ajmg.1320400103.PMID 1887835

³    http://www.ehow.com/about_5062833_sleep-apnea-genetic.html

 

 

Ten Long Years

We’re all human.  People make mistakes.  No one is right 100% of the time.

Most of us can acknowledge this fact in most areas of life.  However, when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions and disease…that is what we expect; perfection.  We  often view doctors and therapists as gods; making it difficult to accept a misdiagnosis, or less-than-effective treatment plan.  ”How can this be possible,” we ask?  ”Doctors and medical professionals study for years.  They’re supposed to know what to do…aren’t they?”

Yes…and no.

Brilliance and experience are no guarantee against the margin of human error or an unexplained twist of fate.  This I can accept.  What I can’t tolerate is indifference, lack of compassion and even neglect.

A lady knocked on our motor-home door one evening in a Florida RV Park.  She came with CPAP mask in hand and a hopeless look in her eyes.  ”I saw your bus and told my husband, that’s what I need.   I’ve got to talk to those people,” she exclaimed.  Her story was one of 10 long years of struggle, trial and error, frustration and exhaustion.

Ms. “C” and her family were victims of Hurricane Katrina; forced to leave New Orleans and move further north to start over.  All of her medical records were destroyed along with home and personal possessions.  Making matters worse, “C” could not find success with her CPAP therapy.  The sleep she desperately needed eluded her night after night as she tried many different masks; none fitting her correctly, and all leaking and irritating her face.  Listening to her personal story, we couldn’t fathom that she had hung in there for 10 years!

What incredible courage and perseverance.

We then shared our story of struggle and how RemZzzs® were born in the middle of the night; demonstrating how to use the mask liners and encouraging her try it that night.  ”C” left with a bag of samples and information for her doctor, and most importantly…a little bit of hope in her face.

That night we prayed for “C” to find relief and

experience a good night of sleep.

About 8 am the next morning, the phone rang.  ”I have not slept that good for 10 years,” Ms. “C” excitedly proclaimed!  Her husband had questioned  whether she should even try the liners, since they seemed so simple.  ”I don’t care what they look like, as long as they might help me sleep better,” she told him.  ”C” came over later that morning to bring a homemade pastry and give us a hug.

This is what our Sleep Awareness Tour is all about; to help those who are struggling once again have dreams with hope!