Allergic reaction to barium swallow

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Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 11/24/2010 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
I had my 1-year followup visit to my surgeon yesterday afternoon, preceeded by a barium swallow in the morning.  I've had barium in the past with no problem.  This time it wasn't the chalky stuff; it was sweet and flavored with strawberry flavoring.  I asked whether there was sweetener and flavoring, was told no, there wasn't.  Stupidly I accepted the reply and didn't ask for the product sheet.
 
My stomach rebelled, heaving like trying to reflux.   I told the resident what was happening, but was ignored.  Again stupidly, I continued the test.  I really wanted to know if there was a re-herniation, as had been reported on a couple of CTs I'd had.  That afternoon I started having a migraine-type headache, although I've only had headaches from medications previously.  At 5AM this morning I was having pretty bad headache pain and really awful tinnitus.  I got up and then noticed my throat (esophagus) felt swollen, and I was itching.  I still had mild nausea leftover from all day yesterday.
 
I had read the bottle while waiting in the radiology exam room, to see if there was an ingredient list, but there wasn't.  The med was called E-Z-Paque.  So this morning while waiting for people to come to work in radiology, I looked it up and was surprised to find it's not even sold in the US - it's from Canada!  It's got pectin, sorbital, carrageenan, simethicone, strawbery flavor, and saccharin - most of which contain sulfites, to which I am sensitive.
 
When I finally was able to talk to the resident, he was nasty, told me nobody has a reaction and there wasn't anything in it but barium sulfate, and I should just go to the ER.  And pay $50 for non-life-threatening reaction and be given Benadryl?  I don't think so!  I got my PCP and was told to take Benadryl and a prednisone, which I did.  I've left voice mail for the gastro doc's nurse because I want this reaction documented on my record.  Since the whole UPMC system only uses this brand of barium I'll have to get the next one done somewhere else and will ask for the bad-tasting plain stuff.
 
To top it off, I'd waited for this appointment to be able to see my surgeon, only to be told he wasn't available.  I haven't seen him since the last apointment BEFORE surgery.  Never even saw him the day of surgery, don't really know for sure if he even did it himself, although it was in the report.
 
Moral of the story: If you think you may be being given a medication you don't tolerate, stop and don't take it!  Don't take their word for anything without reading it for yourself.

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 11/24/2010 11:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Bless your heart! I had to battle them in the hospital earlier this month every few hours when nurses kept coming in getting ready to add injections to my iv line. I always ask what's in the syringe and SEVERAL times they had something I'd already told them I couldn't tolerate and would not be injected with. Yet they kept on trying to do it.
I cant have anything with iodine in it either which means I'm always on guard for tests....
The second it touches me I start to swell and break out in a terrible rash and hives.
You'd think they would be concerned about it but no, you have to get nasty half the time to make them listen to you.
I'm so sorry this happened to you honey. I know it was frustrating and scary.

Cat

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 11/24/2010 12:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi cat -
I think we should go in with a card (or in my case a whole typed sheet) of our allergies taped to our foreheads. In this case it wouldn't have helped though. The resident (must have been 1st year to be that ignorant) didn't even know what was in the stuff he was administering. I reported my reaction to FDA https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/medwatch-online.htm, am going to call patient relations when I think they should be back from lunch.

I'm not allergic to iodine, thank goodness, but do react to gadolinium contrast dye. I can take it, but have to take Benadryl before and after.

What would happen if we were unconscious?
Alcie
 
 

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 11/24/2010 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie, I never go to any medical procedure without my list of medicines, surgeries, and allergies. I even take it to see my PCP.
Joy

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 11/24/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I know what would happen if I were unconscious and the idea scares me to death.....if I had open wounds they'd pour betadine all over them and kill me right where I was laying. If I was "lucky" enough to wake up during it they might even inject me with morphine for the pain - which I also have a terrible and painful reaction to - then I'd feel like I was on fire while I was dying.
If I were REALLY lucky they might try to subdue me with xannex and then at least I might take someone out with me since it makes me violent as soon as the hallucinations start.

I wonder if we should just get out a sharpie and write this stuff on our faces....and chests....and arms....
...but as you said, it's not like it would stop them. After explaining the xannex situation SEVERAL times in the hospital, they still kept trying to inject it into my IV - then my wrap would have come undone by the time they pulled me off whoever tried to subdue me.
I kept saying "I know the risks of mixing atavan and dilaudid - and I'll take them. I'm hooked to a machine that tells you when my breathing is too shallow - not that anyone can rest with you coming in here every 5 minutes and poking and prodding around! I ought to just LET you inject me with that so you can be the lucky winner today, now that I've warned you THREE TIMES because as badly as I'm bound to end up hurt by what will follow, at least when I wake up from my next surgery I'll know you're somewhere in here in pain yourself!"

Idiots! Residents suck. I may well be the patient from hell....but I bet the resident I had when I had my surgery this month will never forget me. I called him Doogie Houser, told him he was incompetent, and then told him to get the hell out of my room and get me a real doctor! I bet he was too young to even understand the Doogie Houser reference, uppity little snot nosed boy that he was!

Joy, I always take a list for them, then I tell them, then I try to stop them from giving me things I know I can't have.
I once had an ER doctor refuse to give me pain medicine at all after I told him that morphine makes me feel like I'm on fire and breaks me out in welts. He argued that that could not be true, as if I'd not learned it from experience on more than one occasion back when I was young and too stupid to know to advocate for myself!

Alcie, don't let them get away with it! I'm so glad to see you're reporting it. I've been waiting for my patient evaluation to come from the hospital so I can fill out a scathing report and mail it in! It came yesterday and as soon as the holidays are over and I have a minute of peace, I'm going to get right on it!

Cat
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