This story is not for the faint at heart. Some grossness follows…

It started out as a normal monday. I was running late, just brewed some coffee (which I had given up for Lent and was SERIOUSLY looking forward to it), and tossed lunch in my backpack. I went to get an Allegra pill because my allergies have kicked up lately. I tried to swallow it…


The pill got stuck in my throat, or more accurately, my esophaugus. Fortunately, it wasn’t near my trachea and affecting my breathing. It would neither come up, or finish going down. And thus began about an hour of semi-gagging, semi-vomiting, semi-wretching trying to get this pill to pick somewhere and go there. To say, this was “uncomfortable” would be like saying “the economy ain’t that bad”. I couldn’t even swallow water or anything else to wash it down, as it seems like the pill had judged itself squarely in the center and essentially acted like a stopper. So if I drank a bit of water, it would hit the pill and stop, then I’d gag and immediately send it back up. Pill would stay put though.

This lasted the better part of the day. Every few minutes, I’d have to go spit up in the sink. All the saliva I’d swallowed over the last few minutes had “pooled” above the pill and I’d have to cough/hack it up. My mom suggested I try drinking some olive oil to lubricate the pill. So yes, I was so desperate that I actually tried to drink pure olive oil. Disgusting. And ineffective. It came right back up like the water did, only a lot… greasier.

Finally, the old lady decided to drive over and take me to the local clinic. Now, I realize I’m not actually “sick” in the normal sense of the word. And there are probably actual sick people who go there all the time. When we arrived, there were two people i the waiting room. And I show up with my spit-cup as if I were chewing tobacco (really, really gross. How do people do that?). Anyway, I step outside while the old lady is filling out my paperwork so I can go gag/hack/cough/spit-up the accumulated saliva from my throat and then walk back in. The woman in the waiting area looks at me in horror and holds a magazine in front of her face. After a few seconds, during which I assume she was debating her next course of action, she get up and heads outside to wait in the car. I guess she thought I had some cummunicable disease instead of a stupid allergy pill stuck in my throat and thought she’d be safer outside. Funny. And the only bright spot of the day.

When I finaly get to the doctor, the old lady tells my story since I can’t talk much. He’s actually befuddled. “I’ve never come across something like this” he says. Great.

So he says my options are go to the ER and they will probably do an endoscopy (spelling?) to push the pill down into my stomach. Or I can wait for it to disolve. He has no idea how long that might be. Especially since it is apparently lodged in the center and not stuck to the sides of the esophagus. Meaning the only part that saliva was dripping on was the top, not the top and sides if it was stuck to the sides. So it would take longer to disolve. As an alternative, he says I can try standing/laying down in different positions to see if it would unseat itself. He had me lie down and he gave me a stomach “massage” trying to see if maybe moving the stomach around a bit might move it also.

Well, I don’t know if it was the laying down, or the stomach massage, or just simply it had disolved enough, but i could finally swallow! No more gagging/hacking/spitting!

This was around 3pm. So for almost eight hours, i had that stupid pill lodged. I am now so relieved I can’t even describe it. I’ve only been drinking liquids so far, I might try some solid foods later if I’m feeling brave. The throat lining is feeling pretty sore.

I sure hope all of you had a better day than I did…

8 responses to “WORST DAY EVER

  1. Harvey,

    I feel for you, as I just experienced the same problem with most likely the same pill. I’ve had issues with shallowing medicine and some foods for years, but had compensated by crushing the medicine or chewing excessively. Unfortunately the other night, it was worse than usual; not having pulverizing the generic Allegra very well. I found your post when looking for ideas to remedy the problem. Nothing worke, i.e., vomiting, olive oil, hymlic, and I too ended up going to the hospital at midnight. Half the staff in the ED thought I was nuts and forced me to try and drink the water, which led to that gagging and coughing. Eventually at 4am, I had to go into surgery to get scoped. Sure enough it was the pill and they doctor found my esophagus was 4 times more narrow than most adults. Turns out I have some disease called Eosinophilic Esophagistis–basically the throat’s immune response to environmental or food allergies. Supposedly it’s fairly rare, but now I have to get scoped and dilated 2-3 times over the next few weeks to expand my esophagus… Anyhow, if you continue to have issues, look this disorder up. I really appreciated your posting, as I felt completely alone when I was struggling the damn pill the other night.



  2. Thank you for your post. Last nite I swallowed a fish-oil gelcap “sideways” (at least that’s what it felt like. It got stuck. All the other web answers assumed one could still swallow anything. As in your situation, NOTHING would go down. Your massage, jumping, etc inspired me, and since I really did NOT want to go to a clinic, I decided to try HOT water. So I stood over the sink, sipping hot water and hacking it back up, but each time it came up it was a little discolored, making me think I was dissolving the pill. Sure enough, after only 5 minutes the pill came up with the water and now I can actually swallow–after 15 hours!! If anyone ever comes across this, I’d add the HOT water sips to the impossible “bread-eating” suggestions. (Good grief–if I tried bread I WOULD be in the hospital. It’d just get stuck on top of the pill!) THANK YOU

  3. Hey Anne & Rob. I’m sorry to hear about your ordeals as well. Your right Anne, everyone assumes you can just force it down by stuffing bread, water, etc on top of it. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. I think the pill literally lodges in the esophagus (sp?) and completely plugs the passageway where nothing will get through. I originally posted this just to share my misery, but I’m glad it might help at least a few others.

  4. I think it was a 24hr pill. It was HUGE. They always went down before though (I’d feel it sliding down), so I don’t know what happened that particular time. However, that was the LAST time I ever took one.

    My only suggestions would be to try lying down and massage the stomach (seemed to work for me). Or Anne’s hot liquid technique. If you’re in the same boat as us, the pill will block any liquid or solid food from being swallowed so it can’t be forced down. The pill will probably have to dissolve at least a little before it will go down on it’s own, and the only other hope is to dislodge it (hence stomach massage) where it can either come back up or maybe turn the right way and go down.

    If none of those work, I’d say get yourself to an emergency room and see if they can use a scope to push it through or otherwise dislodge it like Rob did.

    Good luck, I hope you feel better!

  5. The exact same thing happened to me yesterday!! 5 hours of non-stop coughing up with an Allegra pill trapped in my throat, moving up and down—but not down enough.

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