My Asthma Inhaler & Nebulizer Museum

Once upon a time, I had a museum. Well, that’s what I called it anyway. It was a large storage bin. Inside I kept one of everything asthma-related I ever used. I thought it would be neat to go through in 50 years. I could use it to create my own website like Inhalatorium.

Please click on that last link. I don’t often endorse websites. But, I endorse that one. Mark Sanders has a collection of antique inhalers and nebulizers. It’s really cool. At least I think so. Mark also wrote a neat article about the history of smoking for asthma. That’s also a neat read.

My love of history

So, as a kid I loved history. I remember grandma walking us kids (me and my brothers Bobby and David) through downtown Manistee. As we walked she’d tell us the history of the town. She’d say things like, “See how all the houses 5th street are made of bricks that all look the same. Well, that’s because this block is where the Louis Sands mansion was. He was one of the richest lumber barons in the world. After he died his family couldn’t afford to heat that big house. So, they tore it down. All the bricks from the mansion were used to build these houses.”

My brothers were not so interested. But I was. I was also intrigued when grandma would show us old books about the history of the town I grew up in.

“Did you know that Manistee (a town now of less than 10,000 residents) once had the 4th most millionaires per capita in all of Michigan? “She would ask. “It’s true.”

Of course, my brothers were bored. They’d display their annoyance as kids do. And grandma remembered that more so that she recognized my enthusiasm. So, these types of moments were limited. But, her love of history lives on in me.

So, I started a unique collection

Grandma also encouraged us to collect something. She said that you have to have something in life to do no matter what life offers. It should be something that doesn’t rely on other people. It should be something to entertain your mind that you can do by yourself. And, when I was ten, I decided my collection would entail collecting asthma equipment.

Many times I was admitted to West Shore Hospital for asthma when I was ten and eleven. Oxygen tubing was used on me. Nebulizers for sure were used. Syringes. Oh, and inhalers. And, when I was discharged, the respiratory therapist would say, “Hey, if you want to take any of this stuff, it’s yours. Otherwise, we’re just going to throw it away.”

So, I’d take it. My brothers and I would play doctor or something. Most of the stuff got thrown away. But, some of the stuff I’d keep, like the nebulizer.

My museum was a box

I still had it in 2004 when I bought a house. I had a nice big storage box. Inside I had a case of epinephrine glass ampules. I had various epinephrine syringes. I had several Alupent inhalers. I had an epinephrine inhaler. There was an original albuterol inhaler from 1985. There was a nebulizer from a 1980 hospital visit and another from 1985. And I can tell you the nebulizers were designed differently back then. There were also other random inhalers, like the first Serevent and Flovent inhalers.

In 2004 I had the bright idea to give my box to my son. He had these trains and I wanted him to be able to store them in one place. I put my museum in a temporary location inside of a big, black garbage bag. Stupid in retrospect. When I moved I accidentally thought it was garbage and tossed it out.

I still like my inhaler/nebulizer museum idea

It would be neat to create. After I threw that away I started saving some of my inhalers. I had a box full of random inhalers. But, while cleaning one day I tossed them out. Having stuff like this doesn’t mean so much right now. I was just thinking 50 years down the road.

So, say it’s 2040. I have an asthmatic grandchild. I could show her what I used when I was her age to control my asthma. “What we had back then paled in comparison to what you have today,” I’d say, “But, it’s all we had."

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