I remember the first time I was given a nebuliser to have at home.
11 years ago the nurses produced this machine which at first glance I thought was a toasted sandwich maker. I was immediately confused but this didnt last long. They soon opened it all up and all made sense.
I wasn’t expecting to be put on home nebulisers and was really reluctant to have one but now I am so grateful for it. Being at home with it I was quite scared. I had only ever had nebulisers in hospital and these were driven by oxygen not this noisy box which seemed to take forever!! Ever since having the noisy box aka the Respironics Portaneb I have had numerous different nebuliser machines and wouldn’t be without it. Many times it has been my life saver.
My protocol has changed and evolved over the years. Going from only using it when I had an attack and waiting for a 999 ambulance to come. It was then increased to use when I had a chest infection and emergency use, then twice a day and slowly it has increased to where I am now: 4 times a day with 2 different medications, saline sessions whenever I feel I need them and a free rein on emergency nebs. It is unusual for a consultant to give a patient free rein on the number of nebs they can have at home before getting help. I used to have a max of 3 then call 999 and have the 4th while waiting. Now I can have as many as I want if I feel that the attack will subside with nebs alone. If I think it won’t I obviously need to go into hospital. If I abuse this and stay at home too long I won’t have the freedom I do.
11 years ago many more asthmatics had nebulisers at home and this has resulted in some shocking statistics. Patients now complain that they can’t have a nebuliser at home and have to go to hospital if they need it. I can understand this. So many people stay at home far too long when they have nebulisers at home and this causes huge problems and makes treating attacks even more difficult. Nebulisers are seen as the must have thing to a lot of people but they are not. They are a pain in the neck. The eat into your day, they are noisy and cause you to tremor when had a few. You also can’t slyly use a neb like you can with a quick puff of a inhaler!!!
In a severe attack nebulisers are easier to use. You don’t need to hold them you can sit back and allow the neb to do its stuff but an inhaler an spacer device is just as effective. 10 puffs into a spacer works well and much more medication is inhaled as so much is lost to the atmosphere with a neb.
Nebulisers at home are a last resort now to consultants. My current consultant hates them and does everything she can to stop people having them at home. We often argue about how much I can and can’t have. It would be wonderful to think I might one day not need them but I think that day is far off unless a miracle happens.