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Ill be back - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Ill be back
More notes from an ill badger -- not so much because I expect people to take an interest (being ill is boring. Fact.) as because I know how annoying it is to only hear half a story...

Whatever-it-is flared up badly over the weekend, and instead of spending the weekend doing exciting things like going to ultraruby's barbecue (sorry!) and going interesting places, I spent much of the weekend writhing about in pain/discomfort and alternating between feeling sorry for myself, feeling guilty about being useless, and feeling just plain pissed off at having to be ill on the only sunny August Bank Holiday EVER. I say "pain/discomfort" because if I had this level of pain in, say, my knee or something, I wouldn't really worry that much. What's pissing me off is the way it feels like someone's twisting my insides around all the time, and I can feel them shoogling around but they never quite get comfortable. It wears me out and it makes me not want to do anything. Eating toast and drinking Coke seemed to be the only thing that helped, and by Sunday night I was feeling well enough to invent words in Scrabble in an attempt to beat addedentry, and by Monday I was feeling well enough to go and clear out the shed (taking breaks to lie down on the lawn and try to straighten myself out again -- from there I could almost pretend I was having a holiday!). On Monday evening I managed to have a proper meal, so hurrah for being able to eat again.

My mum told me that she'd had something similar when she was my age, and they said it was IBS and gave her some magic high-fibre medicine drink, which she said tasted so foul that it just made her sick. So she decided that if it was just high-fibre she could do that with Real Food instead of icky medicine, and she did, and she says it got a bit better, but she still gets stomach problems whenever she's ill with anything else. Since food doesn't seem to make very much difference on the whole I'm happy to try eating higher-fibre stuff for a while; it's not as if it'll do any harm. Her latest suggestion is that I might have a hiatus hernia, which sounded pretty nasty but actually doesn't seem to be that drastic. The funny thing is, I had a dreadful cough back in March and thought I'd pulled a muscle from coughing, and now I'm wondering if what I actually did was give myself a hernia.

The web's great for hypochondria, isn't it?

Anyway, the hernia is something they can test for, so I'll suggest it next time I go back to the doctor. In the meantime, if the pain/discomfort stays at the level it's got down to today, I'm happy to wait the 2 months or so for the ultrasound rather than making a fuss and jumping the queue / demanding to be referred to specialists / whatever. If it gets worse again, I'll probably go back to the doctor, and see what the options are.

FWIW, my mum also said she'd've been on the Pill at the time when she was having the stomach problems. Not that it's by any means clear that that's anything to do with it. Anyway, I get to find out soon, hopefully as I'm very nearly at the end of this pack, & I'm stopping after that. I'm fairly worried about the effects that stopping the Pill might have, but honestly, I'd rather know what I'm like without the fake hormones, and then I can decide if I'd be better going back on them again. I'm not all pseudo-mystical about reclaiming my natural rhythms blah blah blah or anything like that; I really just want to do a proper experiment.

Oh, but I'm so bored of the whole 'ill' thing, though. And so are you, no doubt, so I will shut up now.
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lusercop From: lusercop Date: August 30th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope that whatever it is sorts itself out and returns you to being a healthy and happy badger as soon as possible.

Get badgers^Wwell soon!
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: August 30th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's on the natural rhythm side but not at all pseudo-mystical (unless taking one's temperature is considered on the airy-fairy side) - you might want to get hold of Taking Charge Of Your Fertility</b> by Toni Wechsler. Charting can have some benefits other than TTC/contraceptive, including tying pain and symptoms in to your natural cycle (or ruling out any connection, equally useful from the POV of pinning down random symptoms). Far easier to do with a natural cycle than a Pill one, and the book is good reading for all women anyway.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: August 30th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
That b should be an i of course. How I wish we could edit comments. Sigh.
j4 From: j4 Date: August 30th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the recommendation -- I was going to make notes on what was happening when anyway, but if this has other useful stuff, it's probably worth a look. How important d'you reckon it is to get the most up-to-date edition? The 1995 edition is much cheaper on Amazon, & I'm guessing women's bodies haven't changed that much since then ... :-)

bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: August 30th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
The 1995 one will be a US edition, it wasn't published here until 2003. I don't honestly know if that makes any difference in this situation. I have a (borrowed) more recent copy upstairs, I will have a flick through it this evening and see if there is anything obviously 'new' or UK-specific in it that you might need to read. I suspect not, this is all quite old advice at root.
mhw From: mhw Date: August 30th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could well be a hiatus hernia from what you describe. If it is, don't worry too much, it's eminently treatable; my father had one some years back, and yes, his was flared up (though not caused) by a bad cough.

As to fibre drinks: one can buy a not too unpleasant one over here called Fybogel. It comes in sachets and you stir it into a glass of water and you end up with something like orange-flavoured wallpaper paste if you wait too long before drinking it :) Or you can just buy ispaghula husk (which is the active ingredient) and add it to food or drinks.

I;ve just phoned Dad (aren't I nice?) and he's reminded me that one thing he found useful to calm the spasms down while he was waiting to be seen was just to drink a glass of hot water. Not so hot that you burn your mouth, but noticeably on the hot side of warm. If you don't like plain water you could use a tisane or ordinary tea.

Anyway, good luck and I hope it turns out to be something very dull and quickly treatable!
j4 From: j4 Date: August 30th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fybogel, that's the one my mum had! Thanks for the suggestion but it really sounded quite icky from her description, & to be honest I'd much rather just eat nice food that has plenty of fibre in. Nuts! Beans and pulses! Fruit! Jacket potato skins! ... It's like a licence to eat snacky food ALL THE TIME! :-)

Re hot drinks, I've been going for the peppermint tea (on various people's advice, and because it tastes nice!) and that sometimes seems to help a bit... Forgot to bring it into work today, annoyingly. :-/ Thanks for reminding me and corroborating that advice though -- I will dig out some teas to take into work tomorrow.
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: August 30th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gosh, I must be very picky - I can't stand Fybogel! If you leave it for ages and ages and ages it actually does turn into a gel in the glass and flollops out of it when poured like a yellow alien slime blob from Neptune. I've considered putting the powder in yoghurt instead but never got round to it.

If taking isphagula husk, do drink copious liquids with it - the point is that it's absorbent and swells in water and iirc it can cause problems if you take it without the liquid.
j4 From: j4 Date: August 30th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah well, if you're picky, then so's my mum. :-) But it does sound quite grim! And if it's pseudo-fruit-flavoured it'll almost certainly have aspartame in, anyway, which means I won't touch it with the proverbial ten-foot pole. (Bleh.)
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: August 30th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was also told to get myself some Fybogel. It's a revolting ispaghula husk drink thing in loathsome lemon or 'orrible orange flavours, and it really is utterly disgusting. However, some health-thing shops sell psyllium husk in capsules - this is a similar thing doing the same job, but not as a drink. You have to drink masses of water with it, though - it's intended to form bulk for your intestines to work on, and swells in water. Haven't yet tried it myself, but keep meaning to.

Have looked up a little anatomy and am right about the position of the colon. If you have very bad trapped wind, I do recommend googling 'IBS stomach massage' and trying it out - it makes all the difference for me. I'm surprised the Coke helps you - for me, it just makes me burp lots and the whole thing worse! I'm avoiding fizzy anything completely now - fortunately I never liked carbonated things that much anyway. The only real loss is Appletise.
j4 From: j4 Date: August 30th, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the massage is the one julietk suggested, though now I can't find her comment, so will probably have to re-google... unfortunately the bit where it hurts most (up at the top) just hurts when I try to massage it at all. I'll give it a go, though.

With the Coke, I think the burping lots is what helps, in that it gets the wind out. Dunno, could be just a placebo effect because Coke is a comforting taste for me -- all I know is that it really does seem to help! Unfortunately, the downside of drinking all this Coke is that my teeth will soon be brown and rotting. :-/ Still, I can get false teeth, but I can't get a false digestive system (I wish I could -- something nice in clean white plastic with all the bits in the right places).
julietk From: julietk Date: August 30th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
http://www.healingwell.com/library/ibs/article.asp?author=thompson&id=2 - 'colonic massage' halfway down is roughly what I was suggesting. I use my fingers rather than a fist, & just press inwards rather than actively massaging. Probably worth trying variations, though. And if it is really painful as you touch it, breathing slowly & deeply can help (& in that case, the just-pressing may hurt less than the movement-type massaging).

I find Coke helpful during a stomach upset, as well, so it's not just you :-) It's a shame that something like soda water isn't as fizzy...
filecoreinuse From: filecoreinuse Date: August 30th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
/me bites tongue this time and offers only electronic hugs :).
j4 From: j4 Date: August 30th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw! Thanks, & sorry again for snapping.
filecoreinuse From: filecoreinuse Date: August 30th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
No problem. Strange as it might seem from my incredibly together and froopy exterior[1] I sometimes snap myself.

[1] Ah self-deprecating sarcasm — the English wit.
missjudas From: missjudas Date: August 30th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Steve has a hiatus hernia, as does most of his family. It's treatable with drugs and operatable upon, but most of them find that controlling the symptoms with diet is the best way of handling it.

Steve had it diagnosed after an endoscopy when he went to the doctor saying that his heartburn was getting worse. My Dad suffered from gastrointestinal reflux recently, which can be related. He talked of that writhing with pain and sleepless nights that you do. Does it help if you prop yourself upright in bed?

Anyway, if it's something along those lines, as I said, Steve and his family have all found that diet is the best way to control it, and for each of them there are different 'triggers'. With Steve it's fatty/doughy foods such as pies and doughnuts, but with his gran it's things like onions, tomatoes, bananas and even cucumbers.

Worth asking the doctor about though. Good luck, and keep us posted. Hope you manage to get a resolution soon.
aldabra From: aldabra Date: August 31st, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've got a set of stuff including psyllium husks, cohosh and lacidophilus which markets itself as a colon cleansing prog, which I only take if I seem to be under the weather, and which helps (but smells peculiar). Of course I can't find it on teh interweb, but I'll try to remember to look at it tonight.
aldabra From: aldabra Date: August 31st, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
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