Monday came and went and I ended up in the Emergency Room at Sibley.
About nine in the morning, I decided that I needed Claritin-D since it was a high pollen day. By ten, I was on an ambulance to Sibley. If you don’t need to hear the details, then you can probably skip the rest of the post. If you love details very much, then please go on.
On Monday, a pill got stuck in my throat, I went to the hospital, and three hours later it was cleared without intervention.
I took the pill with some grapefruit juice and swallowed. It was larger than other pills I had taken in the past, but my throat had not given me any issues in the last year or so since I started treatment, so I gave it a shot.
Then the abrupt panic set in, as I realized that the pill had lodged in my esophagus, and the liquid that followed it had abruptly stopped and blocked my airway. For twenty seconds, I sort of heard as if from very far away, this sick gurgling wheezing sound.
Shortly afterward, I realize it’s coming from me. I feel like passing out. Then the automatic part of my body kicks in and starts the processes to clear my passageway.
It bumps the liquid out of the way, but the pill stays in place in my esophagus, where it was stuck thanks to my esophageal stricture. The pill isn’t going either direction, despite my attempts at cajoling. I walk to the front of the office, coughing, sputtering, and as calmly as I can, I tell the receptionist that I’m choking and I will be in the restroom.
I was hoping that I would be able to clear it with induced vomiting, but to no avail.
The director of my department followed me in immediately and ended up calling 911 and getting me onto an ambulance. I went to Sibley, where I had just visited on Friday for my sleep study. I then proceeded to a station in the emergency room for three hours. Every five minutes, I force myself to vomit, or at least to heave, to get saliva out of my esophagus, otherwise it blocks my air passageway.
I’m salivating like crazy because my body wants to dissolve whatever is stuck in my esophagus. Then, I’m retching to clear my air pathway. Of course, this is moving the pill up and down in my esophagus and by hour two, I am also spitting blood mixed with the saliva.
They finally decide to try a smooth muscle relaxant, glucagon. The needle enters the IV and an event that will surprise no one, at that exact moment, the pill dissolves enough to pass the stricture. I stop the RN, just before she pushes the plunger on the needle and ask for a glass of cold water.
I drink two glasses before I’m convinced that the pill is gone.
After another hour of observation, they discharge me, and I go home to rest.
Where I find that they are testing the fire alarm system for the rest of the day.
So I’m to take it easy for a couple of months as the lining heals.