Married,moved,and getting it together.

Respiratory Tools, 1993

This is a drawing from my days as a Respiratory Therapist.

What are these objects?

Oxygen Key

The first one, the one you probably have never seen before, is an O2 key. Hospitals with organized systems for the distribution and maintenance of portable cylinders. Typically these are E cylinders and are brought along during patient transport. To open these things properly, you need a key, to crack the cylinder to get any dust and grime out, and then later, to open when you have a regulator to put on the top. A regulator measures what the pressure inside the cylinder is. Usually there’s a flowmeter built into the regulator as well.

O2 keys are usually chained to regulators. Usually. When they are not, and your friendly local Respiratory Therapist needs to open an O2 Tank, well, this gets him or her perturbed. Having a spare in your lab coat is a score for the home team. It gives you that air of the boy scout. You’re prepared, ready for action. Oxygen is my business, and business is good!

Guard that O2 key with your life. You may be asked to lend that sucker out to someone else. Don’t take that bait man. Nurses will just lose them. Transport personnel? Who knows where it’ll end up if they take it. Guard that key, because it’s very necessary to have that key for emergencies.


Prosaic, yet essential, the next item is a pair of scissors. Standard stainless-steel hospital scissors. Keep ‘em clean. These are good for cutting tubing, such as that used for mechanical ventilators, or maybe a pressure line. Also good for cutting hospital tape to prepare hospital tape to secure an endotracheal tube.


The last item in this drawing is a small, flat-head screwdriver. This is rarely used, but can come in handy when servicing and cleaning various pieces of very durable medical equipment. And the dude with a screwdriver is appreciated when that screwdriver is necessary.

There are lots of other items in the arsenal of an RT, but I don’t have drawings of those for today. But remind me to tell you the story of suctioning out some teeth from a guy’s lungs. (Teeth do not belong in the lungs, by the way, in case you were confused).

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