Tag Archives: The Wheeze

Take a Deep Breath

So the asthma specialist/pediatrician says to me,

“Oh, and by the way, you need the right size mask for a bigger child. You can’t keep using an infant mask. You should be able to pick up a replacement mask quite easily.”

The mask in question is a small, silicon, donut-style thingee that attachs to the end of a “spacer,” which is a device that you stick an inhaler full of medicine into. The spacer is supposed to help you take in a more even dose of medicine from the inhaler? I guess? I got the one we are currently using two years ago when we visited the hospital emergency room when Fresco had his first breathing incident, so it makes sense that the mask is the wrong size (it also says in plain type “infant” on it, not that I ever noticed)

I asked at one drugstore, who had no replacement masks but they offered to sell me a whole new assembly, mask and spacer, for $50. Then another drugstore.(same deal, but $60) Then a third drugstore.($48) Then I looked around the Internet. I called a medical supply store that didn’t carry masks OR spacers. Then I saw the company name on the spacer and emailed that company directly, and they forwarded my email to a local distributer, who called me on the telephone to tell me that they don’t stock the masks, just the spacers, but she would send my email BACK to the medical supply company so they could quote me a price on just one (1) mask instead of the usual minimum order and if that company said it was a lot of money, she herself would ask her boss if they could buy a case of masks and just sell me one.

Say it with me: Awwwwwwwww. I know which medical supply distribution company *I’M* going to call when I need ostomy supplies, stair lifts, etc. someday. If I remember.

#1 The little mask is basically a balloon of silicone. It’s a miracle it hasn’t been popped or burned or stuck up someone’s butt or otherwise destroyed in the past two years. Why doesn’t anybody sell replacement masks?
#2 Do you think I should go back to the emergency room with a fake asthma attack just to get the bigger mask? (I AM JOKING)

But despite all of this rooting around and phone calls and dead ends, I can’t be too cranky about it because you know what happens if you visit enough medical supply websites? You start to feel really damn healthy and lucky.

Postscript: I got an email back this afternoon from the company that makes the masks. Cost of mask: $4.99. Surcharge for only ordering one: $25. Anyone want to go in on $100 worth of medical supplies with me so I can save the surcharge? I think they have motorized scooters. Hey, and I saw a poster today at the Uptown Safeway, listing a motor scooter for sale ($125) and it said “Perfect Christmas Gift!” Hilarious or depressing. I think both.