Friday, August 16, 2013

Coconut and a Cup of Tea

I am just coming off a week of pain and annoyance. I was enjoying my birthday celebration with my brother, having some great cake and enjoying my meal when it hit me. There was this tickling in my stomach than in about 30 minutes moved from tickling to just an annoying presence. Not stabbing, not dull or achy but this pain none the less was there when the cat graced me with his presence or my kids decided to launch themselves upon me. Ouch. What the hell did I eat? I thought back to the last week. New flavor of nut at Costco. Coconut cashew. Ummm coconut. I had a few of those. We ate fresh sweet corn at MeeMaw's house. I went to work on my birthday and had German Chocolate cake. Mmmm coconut. Finally over the weekend, I had dinner at the Silver Diner. Breakfast for dinner. Coconut quinoa pancakes. So many that I had them on Saturday and ate the rest on Sunday afternoon. As I thought about it, it made sense. Coconut is great when it is fresh. However as the moisture leaves it, it becomes hard and crunchy. I thought about that as I snacked on a mini sized Mounds bar. Uh Oh.

It wasn't all the time pain, but it was noticeable. It hung out and decided to get worse. Monday wasn't too bad but it was noticeable. Tuesday there was no mistaking it. Something was wrong. And it felt different from other issues I have had. I had a small bout with Chron's in 2002 that got my perfect appendix out for my trouble. but this was different. Even more different from an issue in 2011 with my gut. It was my large intestine. It was as if I could feel it sticking out, swollen and enlarged.

Now come with me back to the day the Berlin Wall fell. I was walking into a hospital to see my mother. She almost died that day due to a abscess in her colon, and was hospitalized. She has to wear a colostomy bag for 6 weeks and despised every waking minute of it. She had to be very careful with what she ate and they removed a large part of her colon. Not cool.

So knowing what this could be, and not wanting to head down that road, I made an appointment at 11am with my doctor who poked me, heard the history and sent me for an x ray to start. Least expensive option. Could not see any masses but wanted to go a bit further with a CT scan. I agreed. I drive over to the place with is in the heart of Innsbrook on the West End of Richmond Virginia.

I wait. and I wait. I am waiting for the insurance company to give the OK. It comes in about 2 hours. Meanwhile I have almost killed the battery in my phone by scrolling through things. I drink barium. I surprise the person behind the desk by up ending it into my mouth and firing it all down, setting down an empty cup like it was a Guinness and I was Irish. I want to get this over with. What I thought would be a minor inconvenience like going to the doctor has turned into a major hassle. I haven't eaten since that morning. I am a little grumpy. I has a lovely coaster that buzzes to remind me when I can come back to get it down, so I take opportunity to go out to my car, clean it out a bit and charge the cell phone battery. So now I get to finally take my CT scan. It is close to 3pm.

Medical things fascinate me and I understand many things. I also remember the CT scan  I had last time, probably 2- 3 years ago when I had some similar pain but it went away. I received a copy of that CD to take home and so after the radiologist and I had our chat I asked for another copy. He showed me the last time I has this and now this time. A lovely thing called Diverticulitis. When you eat items that do not have a lot of fiber, your body has to strain to move items through your colon. That strain can make little pouches occur called diverticuli that can get items trapped in them and often cause issues like pain and can abscess and even worse, rupture and cause feces to spill into your peritoneum (that's the pouch that keeps your organs all together), which can cause sepsis, which can mean death. (This is what happened to my mom, not the death part, thank you god for Dr. Castaldi, who was the best diagnostician on the planet and my mom's physician.) There was an area in my transverse colon (it is spanning your stomach across and underneath your ribcage) that was affected. I was satisfied that I was going to be ok, I just needed to get through this and I would be more careful about what I ate in the future. The radiologist said he would call my doctor and that my doc would be in touch about what would be the next steps.

I waited for them to burn me a copy in the freezing area near the CT room. Maybe it was just having radioactive dye or something , but I was not warm. I waited for my CD and I finally stepped out into the waiting room. It is now after 4pm. I am freezing and I spy the Flavia machine to the left in the office. I beeline for it thinking that a cup of tea will be just the thing before I go get the girls and head home. My entire day was blown by this issue. I ask about the closest bathroom know that the barium I drank will indeed be coming out soon, and I need to make a pit stop before I leave.

So enter the restroom, hungry, thirsty, tired and grumpy and I take a large swallow of tea that I had cooled with water. I drink things quickly. But the tea was too hot. I set it down on the TP dispenser and take care of business. I was sitting there, finishing up and I felt woozy. Light headed. Something was wrong. Crud. I was going to faint.

I know there are a few people who have fainted. I have a long history of it starting in high school. I quickly finished wiping and flushing and grabbed my purse off the door. I walked out into the sink area and walked to the end wall and slid down the wall on the floor. It was coming and I couldn't stop it. One of the women in restroom was wearing scrubs and looked over at me. re you OK? No, I replied and passed out.

I come to and there is a bevy of women around me, checking my pulse and putting wet paper towels on my forehead. They call for the doctor who comes in and takes my bp/pulse. 80/62 with a thready pulse. Ugh. Then my cell phone rings. I say, is it Virginia Physicians on the readout? Yes, they say. Answer it, I say, it's is my doctor. So my doctor tells them that I need to go to the hospital and to call EMS. Damn.

There is no graceful way to get off the floor when you weigh as much as I do. I am not saying you need a forklift, but I probably weigh more than most. So picking me up was not an easy task. By this point I am just fine thank you. they wheel me into the lobby to wait for EMS. Most of the folks go back to what they are doing but I have a couple that stay with me including a few of the women who speculate on if they will get the "cute" firefighters.

EMS comes and starts asking me questions about me. I answer them with gusto and humor. I'm FINE. My BP is back to normal and I am fine. In the meantime, my husband has had his eyes dilated at the doctor and was planning on having me pick up the kids. I informed him that I was on my way to the hospital and I really didn't have that option. So he went out and picked them up, hooked them up with some food and a movie and kept in touch with me via text message.

ER doc is a nice man, and has a great bedside manner. He hits me with questions and I volley them right back. My fainting he said, was a classic case and that it had nothing to do with my other issue. He first asked if I was on Blood pressure meds. I said no, but that my BP fairly low most of the time. Given the fact I had just emerged from a cold environment with that dye in me, did not help. Strike One. Second, a warm cup of tea changes your instincts from fight or flight, to digest.  I had just ingested a cup of warm tea, releasing that parasympathetic nerve function. Strike Two. Third, in an effort to clear my bowels before leaving the office. The nerves that help that function is the same nerve. Strike Three and I was OUT.

So I was asked if I wanted to stay and get IV antibiotics and meds or if I wanted to do the treatment at home. I wanted to see my girls and love on them. My oldest was worried as well as my nephew. I had to call both of them to keep them from being worried.

I opted to take my treatment at home. In hindsight perhaps being at home wasn't a great idea. I assured my doctor I could stay hydrated but I was working at a deficit already. But they handed me a pill of Levaquin, the first antibiotic and I took it without issue. Then I sat in the lobby waiting for my nephew and sister in law to come and get me. And then, I felt hot and woozy and thought, I am going to be sick. Damn. I slide down to the floor, turned to the side and empty my stomach from the graham crackers, saltines and apple juice I was finally allowed to have at 6pm. Damn.

Of course because I was already discharged, I would have to get re-admitted, I was like screw this, apologized four times for making a mess on the floor and I left, hoping that I would not get sick again in the car. I made it home and made it upstairs. I laid down and waited for my meds to arrive. My brother delivered them and I was not feeling great. I had to read through all the meds I was given and I looked at the pain killer Lortab, Ibuprofen, Levaquin and some other antibiotic and some lovely propylene glycol something or other.

 I took my meds and went to bed. Drank water like crazy. It' 3am and I woke up feeling like it was worse. I took more meds. Woke up feeling worse. It's Wednesday. I call off work, try to sleep to make up for the deficit and end up getting a killer migraine from not drinking enough water. Really beginning to regret not staying  in the hospital. Realize I am probably hungry and find some saltines. Duh. I hadn't eaten anything for almost a day and a half. No wonder I was sick and weak. All I wanted was tea and Trader Joe's Oyster crackers. I take a nice long nap, dreaming of crunchy crackers.

Wednesday afternoon CJ and I go get my car and the girls. I hit the Trader Joe's and get my fix, head home loaded with bananas and crackers. I come home and go lay down immediately. Another headache. Damn. CJ feeds the girls and takes them to VBS. I sit with my oyster crackers and try not to throw up. Funny thing is, it's the headache, not the stomach that is causing me more problems right now. No more pain in the stomach. Just my damn head that will not stop hurting. My stomach feels full and I don't want to eat. And my entire abdomen is just yucky feeling.

Call off Thursday. Decide to stick with the BRAT diet and eat some bananas and squeezy applesauce and drink tea. Still not feeling well, but know I have to keep myself moving with some food and drink as much water as possible. Have some oyster crackers and catch up on the Newsroom where I left off on Season 1 Episode 3. Still not feeling well. Realize I haven't had an uh, movement since I got home. Damn Lortab. Take some meds to help move that along. Ugh. Keep taking antibiotic and nasty anti emetic to keep from throwing it up. Yeah, I am really not doing too well today. CJ comes home with the girls and I am upstairs again with another headache. But I manage to keep the food down and sleep OK during the night, waking up to use the bathroom and drinking water.

Now it is Friday. I think I am well enough to work but I don't think going in is a good idea. I at some toast. I think I will catch up on email and do some filing and then work towards getting ready for the office on Monday. Wednesday CJ leaves for Arizona, so I have to be better by then. So taking it easy until then will be good. In the meantime I have to continue to take the antibiotics to keep an abscess from happening. I have to continue to drink water like I live in the desert. And I have to watch out for coconut.

And then after this, I need to keep my alimentary canal happy with some great fiber and lots of water. So yes, be nice to your body. Eat well and drink well and de-stress yourself.