Sunday, June 19, 2011

My introduction to Albuterol

It's neat what memories a quick perusal of your medical records jogs.  For some reason I thought Ventolin was introduced to the market in the early 1990s, yet upon reading my National Jewish medical records I see the Albuterol inhaler was ordered for me to use as needed.  That was back in January of 1985. 

When I was on 7-Goodman we didn't get to carry our own meds, so when we went places, or if we had physical education, the PE instructor carried the only inhaler.  We kids would huddle around when he was giving out puffs like flies around maneur.

He would pass it from kid to kid until we all had our pre-exercise puffs.  We didn't even use spacers.  We were, however, taught to hold the inhaler two finger lengths from your mouth and inhale that way.  In fact, that's still how I use my inhaler to this day.

I don't remember one time anyone at National Jewish mentioning a spacer.  I don't think they even existed.  I had been informed about them prior to National Jewish, but there wasn't one on the market.  What I was taught to use was a toilet paper roll. 

Before I was at National Jewish the rescue medicine I used was Alupent.  Once at NJH it was Albuterol. To be honest, I have no idea why this was.  I know that Albuterol is supposed to have much fewer side effects, yet if that was the reason we used it, then why was I prescribed Alupent when I took nebulizer treatments?

You could also think it could be cost, yet, again, if cost was the reason, then why was I prescribed Alupent for my breathing treatments.  In fact, even when I was discharged from NJH/NAC I was still using alupent nebs and Albuterol inhaler.  That's how it was until 1991 when I learned about the Albuterol solution.  Is it possible Albuterol simply wasn't available as a solution in 1985? 

Either way, that's how it was.  And each time we had an event we'd all use the same inhaler.  We just passed it from one kid to the next until we were all finished puffing up.  Most of the time we used it this way before exercising, yet some of the times we used it this way when we were on excursions outside the hospital. 

For example, after we'd be roaming the mall for a few hours one of us asthmatics would say, "I'm a little short of breath.  Can we use the Albuterol now?"  If Jeff thought it was time for a scheduled dose, or if one of us really needed it, he would pass it around again.  That's just how we did it.

Another memory jogged here is that when we went on excursions outside the hospital we'd always have to lug an oxygen tank with us.  On my first trip to the mall I was told the newest patient had to pull it around.  Thankfully January was a busy month for admissions, because I only had to do it once.  Although I did volunteer to lug it around once or twice.

We had to lug the oxygen around just in case one of us had a bad attack, although I don't ever recall it ever having to be used.  I never heard a story about it ever being used before I was admitted either.

Another thing we did back then was we all used the same vials of medicine solution for our breathing treatments.  We used a syringe to draw up the medicine, yet I'm sure this caused some contamination.  In fact, when I became an RT in 1995 we still used this method.  I think it was sometime in the 2000s that Albuterol and Alupent came premixed with normal saline in those nice little plastic amps.

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