The doc was away today, so a fellow nurse decided to do some desk cleaning in the office.  There were papers to be thrown, advertisements to sort, chuck, display, etc, and equipment discovered.  One item was a stethoscope which was presented to myself as a bad unit which would need to be replaced as one could not hear out of it.  I looked it over and noted that there were no deficits in the workmanship, tubing integrity, or diaphragm integrity.  I tried on the unit and tapped the end.  The description was right, there was minimal sound to be heard.  I checked the tube setting as this was a dual bell stethoscope and one side had an open port, the other had a diaphragm.  This was correctly placed, so the problem had to be internal.  I looked over the ear pieces, and noted a little crud at the opening into the center of the ear piece and decided these would make a good starting point on the quest for making it work again.  I slid off the ear piece and noted ear wax plugging the tube.  The other ear piece was removed and revealed the same malady.  Well, the problem appeared simple enough, now how on earth do I get the wax out of there?  The tube was only a few millimeters in diameter.  I went back to the bell and realized that the one side had an open port to the ear tube, so set the tube on that side, cupped my thumb and finger around the bell so I would not have to put it in my mouth, and blew.  It was effective.  The ear wax spurted out of the tubing and a little hung on the end.  This was easily removed with kleenex and another blow completed the tubing clearance.  My partner in grime didn’t fare as well – and was looking a bit green around the gills at the result of the procedure.  Oh well, all in a day’s work.  I finished cleaning the inside of the earpieces with a clorox wipe and bent paperclip and presented a cleaned working stethoscope to the office supply again.

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