Hi Kevin and a BIG welcome to the forum.
I'm sorry to hear of your panic attack episodes, and the valid reasons behind them. I too suffered from panic attacks (pre-CPAP) and found that Thorsens published a good book called Panic Attacks by Christine Ingram - that knowing my luck will be out of print!!! - which helped me enormously.
I am sure that a lot more of our members will give you helpful advice, but I just wanted to stress as soon as possible, DO NOT PART WITH ANY MONEY FOR A 'QUICK FIX' QUACK IDEA, such as a ring or sensor etc. These are no good to you and just let less pleasant people prey on those who are suffering from a medical condition and have not 'found their feet yet'.
I found that CPAP is the best treatment for managing OSA, and taking control of your life again, and it really does have to be worked at and persevered with to make it effective. I think that your 4 hours with the nasal pillows is worth celebrating!!!! WELL DONE!!!
Yes it doesn't feel too good to have your face covered, that's why some of us (like me) use NASAL masks whilst others prefer FULL FACE (nose and mouth) masks and others NASAL PILLOWS like you tried. It's not sexy in any shape or form, but it does save you from having a heart attack or a stoke because of your blood not being able to carry oxygen to your brain whilst you sleep, because your throat closes up and the oxygen-rich air simply does not get through to your lungs.
When you are able to accept and use your CPAP, your life becomes so much better, not only because you immediately cut your risk of these serious heart and brain conditions, but because you will feel so much better during the day because the qualityof your sleep has improved beyond measure.
You can do everything that you might not be able to do now, but, yes, it's a hassle, and can damage your self-esteem IF you let it. But remember that your wife persuaded you to seek advice, and you owe it to her to keep on living a full and happy life, and not snoring your head off keeping her awake at night! (My OH can tell you all about 30 years hell of my snoring!!!)
There are so many more of us than you might suspect. After all no one looks into bedrooms at night (well apart from shall we say pervs to put it politely!!!
) and there are no obvious signs that one uses a CPAP so it is very much a hidden condition as far as the 'great unwashed' are concerned! But we are an ever-increasing group, and there is NO SHAME in having OSA and managing this with a CPAP machine! Even if you are a tad generously proportioned, OSA is NOT something that just affects large folk, beanpoles can suffer from it too! And it's not anything that you brought on your self but not doing what everybody or anybody has told you to do. It's unfortunate that you've got it, but you can and will manage your life with it to have 100% quality of life, and a lot longer one than if you hadn't been diagnosed and given CPAP therapy (we won't talk about falling under a bus!!).
Please do try to persevere. I'm in my 50s, certainly not a slim lady but I am trying, and have realised that my life is worth taking hold of with both hands and living it to the full even though I have OSA.
IT IS VERY HARD, but please persevere with your CPAP treatment. You might ask for counselling as to your feelings with face masks, which is a very normal and honest fear. I believe that there is a type of talking therapy that is very successful called CBT - sorry I can't remember what the acronym stands for at the moment - and you are really not alone with this. Do enlist help from your dear lady and family and we'll be happy to help advise and encourage as and when you need us.
Welcome again, and please keep in touch xxxx