Emergency Room and Corn

Rise above the challenges.  This is what I say to myself every single day, but some days are really difficult.

Having such a vast array of food allergies…and chemical allergies, can be quite debilitating.  Not only are these allergies extremely tough to deal with, even with a strong mind, they tend to make me feel inadequate, weird, broken, and defective.  I just want to be more like everyone else and acceptance is not easy; I will never be like everyone else.  I will never live in a world that is free of the fears of using an epi pen or free from anxiety…I just don’t see how it’s possible to escape this.

My allergies affect me on so many levels and in ways most people truly take for granted.  Can you go to the doctor with an illness, get a prescription, take it and not worry about taking the medication?  I can’t!  This is my story…my emergency room story!

On Friday, I was urged by my husband to go to emergency because I’d had low pelvic pain for several days.  Ugh…the waiting room, the germs, the waiting room!  I just didn’t want to go, but when you are curled in a ball crying because ibuprofen isn’t helping, it’s time to just suck it up and be an adult about things.  So, off to emergency I went.  I sat in the waiting room for 2 hours and 45 minutes..  In that time, patients slowly trickled in and out.  I distinctly recall a man about 15 years older than me coughing up a lung…he sounded awful.  He was on the phone complaining about the wait and with each cough he said “God Dammit”.  I later heard the nurses telling him that he had a double pneumonia.  Certainly I didn’t belong in the emergency room; I wasn’t that bad!

I was wrong!  After 2 more hours and discussing all my allergies with the doctor and nurse, blood draws, IV, CT scan of my abdomen and pelvic region, and an ultrasound of my pelvis I learned that I had a Urinary Tract Infection; I’ve never had such a thing in my life!  Grand!  NOT!  I was, thankfully, advised that nothing else was wrong.  Everything on the scans looked normal; other than the scar tissue from pregnancy…let me just say that stuff is rough and the adhesions I have are painful, which is one of the reasons I put off going to be seen…I thought it was just my adhesions.

At 12:45am I head home with a diagnosis and a prescription.  In the morning, I head to my local Walgreen Pharmacy and provide my list of allergies and my prescription.  The nice gentleman behind the counter says “I’m sorry, you can’t take Cipro.  We need to find a drug you can take”  So, I wait.  I was already late for an appointment by this point because the pharmacy had already taken 45 minutes to get to this point.  The pharmacist calls the hospital and they decide on another drug.  I’m on my way an hour or so later.  I distinctly recall the pharmacist telling me the inactive ingredients look fine.

3 days of medication, countless hours of discomfort and I decide to investigate this medicine on my own.  In doing so, I find this:

I called the hospital to ask about this medication and the nurse I spoke to told me verbatim “You’ll need to come back into emergency for a new prescription or contact your primary, we cannot help you otherwise”  Are you kidding me?  I said I needed help with the drug and my allergies.  She was rude, lacked any sort of empathy or pride in her job…hospitals are supposed to help people right?

My next step is contacting the pharmacy and looking the drug up on my own.  First, in my investigation, I found these ingredients listed for the drug on the internet!  I’m getting upset…I am uncomfortable and now I see why!

Inactive Ingredients: Each capsule contains carbomer 934P, corn starch, compressible sugar, D&C Yellow No. 10, edible gray ink, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, gelatin, lactose, magnesium stearate, povidone, talc, and titanium dioxide

Do you see it?  CORN STARCH!  How in the world can a pharmacist make this sort of mistake?

When I finally spoke to Walgreens, they confirmed this drug did in fact contain Corn!  I am anaphylaxis to corn that touches my throat in a raw form.  If it’s not raw and mixed with something, I get terrible gas, indigestion, cramps and intestinal pain.  I know my body.

I then call the hospital back to request a different medication.  I speak to a very condescending woman named Rosemarie.  She goes into this long dissertation about how I’m just experiencing side effects, not an actual allergy.  I let her speak and expressed in a rather dark tone that she didn’t know my body, my allergies, how my body reacts to the allergies etc.  I told her I AM ALLERGIC TO CORN!!!  This is bordering on malpractice!!  I was prescribed 2 drugs, by their staff, that contain corn…I am allergic to corn and I can provide proof !
Rosemarie then asked me what I COULD take…I told her I don’t know, I don’t get sick and I’ve never had a UTI before.  Isn’t it the hospitals job to know how to help me and figure out what I can take???  I cannot even believe what I’m hearing!!  What is happening to our world, to medical practice, to empathy and taking care of the patient?
I’m sitting here waiting for my primary care to return my call, so I can either get a medication I can take or get in for an appointment.
I’ve already spent over $200 and it looks like I’m in for more expenses because the hospital and the pharmacy didn’t adequately do their job.  They were fully informed before any medications were issued.
I’m worried there isn’t much I can take with the allergies I have and it’s pretty scary knowing that what we put in our body can harm us.

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