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Why has my G.I. system taken against me?

Posted Jan 02 2013 8:31am

Apologies for any clunkiness in what follows – not exactly on top of my game today.


A couple of days after Christmas, I suffered a vicious bout of diarrhoea, with nausea so devastating I sat for two days holding my suicide kit, wishing I had the courage to take it (which bodes ill for when I really do need it). All I’d eaten was a bowl of a very good lamb and bean stew. I couldn’t figure out how it had poisoned me, nor could I think of another culprit,** so I binned it.

**I did later.

I couldn’t figure out how I could have picked up a bug ( Norovirus , maybe, which my symptoms actually fit), either, as I’d not been out of my flat, at that point, for two weeks (three weeks now, which as you’ll see is relevant). It’s quite possible to get infected mail, or grocery deliveries, of course, against which their is no sane defence.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I had a mug of home-made soup for lunch. Then, in the afternoon, my default, drug-induced constipation having reasserted itself after reducing my Nebivolol (which had buggered my breathing and loosened my bowels), I had a tub of Activia yoghurt and, in the evening, not feeling like cooking anything, or having the same soup twice, I had a mug of Mugshots instant noodles. If you haven’t tried these, they really are good.

Later, I had a large tub of Rachel’s organic vanilla yoghurt, laced with maple syrup.

By 22.00, I was nauseous yet again, my stomach began to swell painfully, and my bowels to make ominous noises. Two hours later I was in the bathroom, voiding at both ends and in terrible pain. This went on until about 03.30 when I was finally able to get some sleep, disturbed by a couple of false alarms.

And, amid the chaos, I forgot to put the soup back in the fridge, so that’s history. Well, OK, it’s probably perfectly fine, but I’m not in the mood for “probably”.

This morning, feeling dreadful, and my innards sore from the abuse, I published an Out of Action blog post, saying I’d be offline all day – before discovering that it took more energy than I currently have to move from here!

So I got to thinking, and I’m pretty sure there’s a link to last night’s bout of gastric purgatory – Activia yoghurt. And thinking back to Christmas, I had a couple of Birds Eye cheese and onion pasties – and they were horrible, full of totally raw onion – I started to feel crappy not long after, but by the time it peaked the following day, they’d been forgotten, and I blamed my innocent lamb casserole.

Yesterday, I have a feeling that whatever bugs Activia contains went into overdrive when fed maple syrup (possibly aided and abetted by the bugs in the Rachel’s live yoghurt, too), sort of confirmed when things finally settled down after I’d vomited the last traces of  Rachel’s yoghurt. If that wasn’t the cause, then I have no idea what was.

I have several pots of Activia in the fridge, which are going to be binned. Got more Rachel’s too, but that should be OK if I don’t add maple syrup!

If I eat anything  the next couple of days, it’s going to be plain boiled rice and peas, and at the moment I’m drinking tonic water, to counter the horrible taste in my mouth.

As a belt and braces exercise, I’m going to buy a pair of   temperature monitors for both fridge and freezer.** I’m happy that they’re working just fine – my filtered water, for example, is almost too cold to drink – I just want to be certain.

**Alarms can be set to sound if the temperature rises beyond a pre-set level

And if this happens again, even though it means Arrowe Park Hospital, I’m getting an ambulance. Apart from any other consideration, it really screws with my meds.

What’s stopped me doing that is the seemingly automatic assumption, these days, that if you have diarrhoea you probably have bowel cancer. I suppose you’ve all seen the doom-laden TV ad that says if you have loose poo for three weeks, you might well have bowel cancer – though I tend to hear that as “loose Pooh” with an image of a promiscuous stuffed bear…

And as this ad is aimed squarely at adults, why is it pitched in the language of a three-year-old?

Anyhoo, not to go into too much detail, but I have, and for longer than three weeks and so, of course, that bloody TV ad has wormed its malign way in to my consciousness.

For the record I am absolutely certain I don’t have bowel cancer – no blood for a start – the looseness is a side effect of my Nebivolol, confirmed by the fact that, when I cut the dose by half recently, it stopped.

Anyway, given APH’s record of screw-ups, they certainly are not going to be allowed to go prospecting!


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