Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting a nebulizer

My son is currently having respiratory problems:  he's congested, and he wheezes a bit.  We're a little bit afraid that he may have gotten asthma while we lived briefly in our old place--after all, he slept in the room that seemed hardest hit by the "funny smell" problem.  We took him (and his sister, too, who had some problems as well) to the doctor--who then tried a certain ashma medication on both.  Since it seemed to have no effect on my daughter, but seemed to improve my son's breathing, my daughter got a prescription for antibiotics, and my son got a prescription for this asthma medication.

When we looked into purchasing a nebulizer for our own use, we discovered a funny thing:  nebulizers, locally bought, are expensive, but we could find incredibly cheap nebulizers on the internet.  I wonder why that is, but I suspect that part of it may be that some on-line companies that sell nebulizers don't accept insurance, so they don't have to accept The Game that insurance companies--especially State Ones, like Medicare, Medicaid, and New York's Empire Plan--play:  they cover part of the cost, and demand that the patient only pays a certain amount, and expect the provider of the good or service to "eat" the rest.

Since we needed a nebulizer immediately, we couldn't buy one online, but we decided to rent one for this month, and if we needed to, we would then buy one at the end of this month.

As I've used this nebulizer, though, I've come to understand exactly what it is:  a simple air compressor that atomizes a liquid--indeed, it only pumps air to the little piece of plastic that actually does the atomizing--to make it breathable for infants and toddlers, who can't use an inhaler properly.  Having learned this, it would seem reasonable to expect that such a device would only cost $35 to $60 (on-line only--more expensive models may also have been available)...and that the $100 to $210 price tag on locally-sold devices seems uncalled-for!

In the end, it's probably best that we rented:  although this drug seemed to help in the doctor's office, now that we've tried it for a week, it seems to have had no effect on my son's breathing.  It's likely we'll be trying antibiotics on him, too.


  1. Just think how much those nebulizers will cost once the Obamacare mark-up on medical equipment kicks in.

    I hope your son gets better. Sickness in young children can be very agonizing for the parents.


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