Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Torture Mask? Not so much

I don’t know yet why some mornings I wake up and am still wearing my cloth mask and other mornings it is off and next to me on the bed.

The mask that is posted on Nov 6, 2009 and nicknamed the “Bank Robber Mask”, turned very Quickly into the Torture mask when I put it on the first night and discovered that it wasn’t pleasant to wake up gasping for air while feeling like someone had their hands gripped tightly around my neck.

For almost the entire month of November and into December this manner of waking up tormented me at night. It was so bad that when I went for check up appointment at the burn unit and they asked how I was doing with the mask I couldn’t help getting a little choked up and emotional explaining the problem. Because of this near breakdown the great nurses decided that it was too traumatic and I should stop wearing the Torture mask altogether and try to wear my plastic mask while sleeping instead.

The problem isn’t the masks but my weird sleep/night terror issues, the masks were just adding to them. The nurses said if the plastic mask didn’t work either to just stop wearing one to sleep altogether, since they could tell that I hadn’t had a full nights rest in some time.

After two night of trying the plastic mask with the same results I decided to give up on the idea altogether. It is amazing the difference it makes to not wear one of these compression masks for a few hours, mostly with my eyes. Going a whole night without I would wake up with extremely dry eyes and my bottom lids pulled down.

I continued to sleep that way for nearly 8 nights before deciding that it was going to be crucial to my recovery to wear a mask at night. I was also feeling like I had let this beat me and I quit to easily so I was going to give it another try.

The first few days back at it I had the same terrifying result of waking up feeling like I was suffocating, but then one morning I woke up and the mask was just off lying next to me, no terror involved.

I spent Christmas Eve night on a couch in Provo (thanks Anne and Pete) and took my mask along with me. I woke up to a Christmas miracle, my mask was still on my head. I thought that maybe I had only dosed off for a second and had been awaken by a noise or something, but a quick check of my clock had confirmed that I had beaten my alarm by 20 min and I had made it through the night.

Since the Christmas Miracle I have about a 50% success rate of going the whole night wearing the mask. My record is 3 night in a row so far. Even the nights when I do take the mask off I must be doing it in my sleep while placing it gently next to me and not flinging it across the room. It probably helps that I take a Benadryl before bed, which puts me in a coma like deep sleep.

I Woke up this morning with the mask still on and this is what my eyes look like after taking it off. Now if I can only figure out how to do something about the color of the grafts under my eyes. I'm the only one I know that has light circles under my eyes instead of dark.


  1. I have this leather mask with a zipper mouth...sometimes I can't get the safety word out in time and I get claustrophobic. It's awful! Good luck Danny
    Brandt Smith

  2. No wonder you wake up in terror, that mask is something! proud of you for not letting it (mask) run the show.

    Danny Boy, your face looks great, awesome from when this all started.....light circles, my man......women pay thousands to have light circles under their eyes, no bags, no wrinkles. You are impatient, and god knows why not.....all in good time, Danny.....last year and this will pass, as I said bf; its such a minute amount of time in the scheme of things. What an inspiration you are to all of us. Thanks for the update and pics, I'd almost given up hope of there being any more updates. I should have known you would come through like the champ you are....keep plugging Danny, think maybe once a month we could see a new update? Have you considered writing a book about this? Or go on an inspirational circuit to help other burn victims? You talk about a god given talent to inspire and motivate others.

    hugs and love from the lake