I have sleep apnea and have been using CPAP at night since 2001. Since I started using it, my rate of respiratory infections decreased significantly--I used to have them every eight weeks or so and now haven't had a major one in 18 months.
It seems my CPAP machine was damaged on the return flight yesterday. I'm assuming so since it was fine Thursday night and now it's smoking. I called the airline, and because it was a carry-on they don't assume responsibility for damage. I understand the concept since most people handle their own carry-ons independently. However, because I can't reach the overhead bins and can't identify my own bags visually, and because it can be difficult to maneuver bags and guide dog through the plane quickly, airline personnel are often handling my bags and I have no way to insure they are not dropped or mishandled. If the airline doesn't assume responsibility for carry-ons, then I'll have to find ways to manage this myself in the future, and airline personnel should never offer and should refuse to handle a person's bags if asked. I'm very angry, I am afraid to sleep, and I have no money to get the machine repaired. Medicaid in Florida doesn't even cover CPAP except for babies in neonatal intensive care. Without this machine, I suspect I will nosedive back into the land of constant respiratory infections since I'm not sleeping well or breathing clean air. I need some kind of miracle, and I've only had four hours of sleep.