Meet Ken Armstrong

This article, featuring Ken Armstrong, was written for the Fall 2010 edition of the PPD driver newsletter.

Sleep apnea cannot be handled like a bad haircut, according to commercial driver Ken Armstrong. “Time will not solve it.”

Instead of letting one more day of shortened driving time and tiredness go by, the 57-year-old Swift driver became the first in his company to undergo the “Precision Pulmonary Diagnostics (PPD) treatment experience.”

“I was originally diagnosed with sleep apnea in 1998 while living in Chicago,” Armstrong said. “I had surgery to repair a deviated septum which partially corrected the condition. However, as I got older and gained weight, my sleep apnea gradually worsened to the point that further treatment was necessary.”

Armstrong, with the help of PPD, went in for a sleep study.

“You show up. You talk to the technician,” he said during a video interview with PPD. “The technician explains what’s going to take place during the next 10 or 12 hours. You do it in a comfortable bedroom environment. There’s nothing clinical about it. So it takes about 20 minutes to get all wired up. Then they shut the lights off and say ‘here, you want to watch TV for a bit’ until you get tired and go to sleep.”

Once Armstrong was diagnosed with sleep apnea, PPD reached out to him on a regular basis to support and troubleshoot. PPD was also available via phone to discuss any issues at any time.

PPD also pays critical attention to newly diagnosed drivers to help him/her adhere to therapy.

PPD helps with pressure settings, mask fits, what to do in unique situations a driver may struggle with, and more.

“I have been extremely pleased with the driver support that I’ve received from PPD staff,” he said. “PPD’s level of support is a quality of professionalism that has helped keep me rolling, no matter where I am or where I’m headed. Drivers need that. PPD delivers.”

From start to finish, from his sleep-study through to regular follow-up, PPD has been extremely positive and helpful, Armstrong said; especially when it came to his CPAP machine.

“That’s breathing machine, that mask, it’s no different than a pair of eyeglasses, orthopedic footwear, a knee brace,” Armstrong said in his video interview. “These are all things people use … to make their lives easier and better. The breathing mask, for me to have it on at night, it’s no different. I have to accept that because that’s my ticket to a good night sleep.”

And how did his family react?

“At first, my family was a little leery of my CPAP machine,” he said, “especially our cats who sat in studied silence while they listened intently to my breathings and the machine.”

However, as his family witnessed how quickly Armstrong responded to the treatment, “they quickly became believers.”

Today, Armstrong’s treatment has turned his life around.

“Today, I am a better, safer driver who is more alert and focused,” he said. “I have a lot more stamina and am able to now drive a full 11 hours without losing energy or alertness.”

This is important for the 8-year Swift veteran who now mentors new drivers as well as delivers loads in the continental United States and Canada.

“Before I began my treatments, that would have been absolutely impossible,” he said. “I’d have  been stopping for rest after only three or four hours of driving.”

And now he has something to say to other drivers debating testing and treatment for sleep apnea.

“Improve your health, your quality of life,” he said. “Here’s your chance to make a life-changing experience you will not regret.”

See a video interview with Ken Armstrong on the Precision Pulmonary Diagnostics Web site, After the page animation is done loading, click Driver’s Perspective.