I swallowed what?

This is a pretty embarrassing story, but I feel I need to document it and help others avoid making the same mistake I did.

It all happened a few weeks back. I’m having lunch, talking with folks, and fiddling with a can of drink. You know what they say about idle hands. Well on this occasion *my* idle hands snapped the ring pull and it fell into the can. I didn’t really notice, and a little while later, I took a big gulp of my beverage.

Well, guess what - I swallowed the ring pull that had been floating in my drink.

I noticed that I had swallowed *something*, but it didn’t really register right away.

During the afternoon, I felt an irritation in my throat. But, I dismissed it.

By the end of the day, my wife was certain that this thing was STUCK in my throat.

Memories of Brice and his whistle still fresh in our minds, Ooops - he did it again, Whistle Update, & The Xray!! we set off for Overlake Hospital Medical Center.

Where we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After a few hours, I was taken the x-ray, and the search began!.

They didn’t find anything lodged in my throat.


Then to be sure, they followed the path, as illustrated on the famous GI Metro t-shirt, which I happen to have.


Still no sign of the pesky little thing. 

So, I was discharged from hospital with the diagnosis of “esophegeal abrasion”, told to take some pain killers and that it would “pass” in a few days.

Later I discovered the following from the Foreign Body Ingestions Answer Sheet

Aluminum, unlike most swallowed metallic foreign bodies we encounter, is poorly radiopaque. Small aluminum objects do not always show up on radiographs. Although swallowed objects may lead to persistent symptoms from esophageal abrasions, we cannot rule out a small aluminum esophageal foreign body here. Although a CT scan might show it, using a hand-held metal detector is a simple way to find aluminum foreign bodies, since they generate a strong signal

Yikes!  Aluminum is poorly radiopaque -- Is that thing still in me??



Time will tell!

Comments (3)
  1. teddlesruss says:

    Ringpulls are generally made from titanium I understand, not aluminium.  Wonder what titanium shows up like on xrays?

  2. Jorke says:

    you should head down to seatac and borrow a handheld scanner for a survey 🙂

  3. man!!

    my kid swallowed a magnetix marble, and you know there’s only one way to know if it’s passed.

    DM me for tips 🙂

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