Thursday, September 29, 2016

Contaminates Begone: Thank You, B. Braun

Skeptical medical professionals surround my flushed body in the treatment bay, their unbelieving glances induced by seemingly neurotic requests. This situation is a hallmark of Mast Cell Disease.

  • "Please ensure the medication is preservative free."
  • "I can only tolerate this brand of that particular medication,"
  • "That one must be diluted in 50 mL of saline, and pumped slowly over an hour."
  • "Administer fluids and medication slowly, or else I will react." 
  • "Since the cells are already activated, I will likely react to that if given now." 
  • "Is that saline bag latex, PVC, and DEHP free?" 

The above epitomizes the peculiarity of various Mast Cell Disease triggers. Although there are commonalities, triggers differ among patients and are mostly established on a trial-and-error basis. It causes Mast Cell Disease patients to appear, well, deranged. And at the least, slightly insane.

After FINALLY recovering from a flare and moving from Florida to South Carolina, my body transformed into an 82 lb, swelled and hived, tachycardic, tremoring, blubbery mess. My mast cells continued to induce reactions in this manner for all of over 3 months! And administering medications intended to help only worsened a bad situation. 

"What changed?" Were the wise words from the hematologist/oncologist who specializes in Mast Cell Disease. 

We then made the correlation: a new home health care company meant new brands of medical supplies. A change in brands equates to different materials making up the supplies, like IV bags. I noticed, especially in regards to saline, that reactions are caused from the components that make up the IV bags rather than the actual saline itself.

DEHP and other excipients in the manufacturing of the infusion bag was contaminating my intravenous medications, saline, etc. That was the change. BINGO!
What is DEHP? "DEHP is a manufactured chemical that is commonly added to plastics to make them flexible." It is found in medical supplies, foods, water, etc. Visit this PDF file for more information. While it is often found in minute levels, those extremely sensitive can be harmed by exposure. (i.e. neonates, allergic diseases, etc). 
Fortunately, there is a way around this! B. Braun has numerous products that are DEHP free. Their products also do not contain PVC or latex. I specifically use their IV bags, as well as their home infusion pumps with significant improvements.

B.Braun offers two types of IV bags for saline: E8000 and L8000. They are each composed of different polymers, but are free of DEHP and latex. Thankfully, my infusion company has been extremely accommodating in ensuring that they are able to obtain the supplies catering to the quirky triggers of my disease. 

So, to summarize: My home health company is amazing. B. Braun is awesome for its safe products.

Be persistent when attempting to isolate a trigger. Regardless of its insinuating craziness, it can be anything - even minute amounts of DEHP.