~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Friday, May 31, 2013

In which we lose a week of work

I started this blog post on Saturday, 5/18. Silly me. Why do I try to write blog posts when I’m sick?

If you missed it on the FB/Tweetie, I went to the ER  on Tue 5/7 and was subsequently diagnosed with diverticulitis, something I highly don’t recommend. Ow. OW. I have a stupidly high pain threshold, and pain sent me to the ER. (After doing some research online to determine that because it was on the left side, it wasn’t appendix or gall bladder unless I was a medical freak. It was in the upper left rather than more common lower left quadrant, but because one of my sisters had an attack of diverticulitis a few months ago, I had a—pardon the pun—gut feeling. The ER doctor walked in after reviewing the results of my first-ever CT scan and said, “Good self-diagnosis” with no irony I could catch, despite my being on the Good Drugs at that point.)

Facts learned: 50% of adults over 40 have diverticulosis, which is the small pouches that form off the intestine. Having an attack of diverticulitis, wherein a sack or sacks become inflamed/infected, happens because you’re not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water, not exercising enough, or because of hereditary (my maternal grandmother suffered,* and one of my sisters was in the ER just a few months ago with it).

Aaaanyway, this resulted in me essentially losing a week of work/life, and causing my poor little brain to asplode from the misinformation and contradictory information provided to me.

For example, one of the antibiotics I’m on has side effects including stomach pain and constipation. This is to treat me for abdominal pain and intestinal issues…. On the plus side, I lost a pound a day. The icky metallic taste in my mouth helped with that.

But wait, there’s more! To counteract the constipational side effects from the two antibiotics and the painkiller, according to the drug packaging, I should make sure to eat fiber and exercise.

Yet here is what, according to the paperwork sent home with me from the ER, I’m supposed to eat (according to Wikipedia, this is a low-residue diet): pancakes, waffles, white bread, white rice, pasta, meat (including beef), well-cooked vegetables w/o seeds, fruits w/o seeds.

And here is what I’m not supposed to eat: healthy, high-fiber shit like whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, etc.

And no exercise.

This is what we might call being caught on the horns of a dilemma.

Note that this diet is the exact opposite of everything I’ve been working towards over the past few years. I’ve cut out all the white crap. (So the first regular English muffin I had during my convalescence? My eyes rolled into the back of my head, it was so good. I can’t remember the last time I had one.) I like raw veggies (the first thing I ate after being given a clean bill of health was an enormous Greek salad). I’m used to eating veggies, salad, lean meats.

The biggest irony of all is that this hit me 1.5 days into when Ken and I were doing an elimination eating plan, which we expected to do for 5-7 days, cutting out dairy, sugar, alcohol, gluten, and caffeine.

(Not that I couldn’t have alcohol until 48 hours after the nasty antibiotic. I would have killed for a glass of wine to help me fall asleep some nights. But see, e.g., losing a pound a day….)

Granted, this was temporary, until my body healed; now I’m back on a healthy, high-fiber diet again.

Except, according to old wives’ tales that the local ER and some doctors still believe, a high-fiber diet (specifically nuts, seeds, and corn/popcorn) can cause a flare-up of diverticulitis. My doctor, whom I love, said, “Not that there’s any scientific proof of that. I have no idea where it comes from.” The Mayo Clinic backs up what he says.

Eat your seeds and nuts, people. Drink that 8+ glasses of water a day. Exercise regularly. And for crying out loud, if it hurts, call your doctor. You do not want me to repeat the horror stories told to me of what will happen if you don’t.


*Before I learned this, I commented to Ken that I’d somehow had it in my head that diverticulitis was an old-fashioned ailment, no longer common, like goiter. Guess what else my grandmother dealt with? Mmm hmm.


TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

Glad you're over that nastiness. I hope it doesn't strike again.

The lesson I take away here is "Eat whatever you want in moderation, because if your body's going to get you, it's going to get you!" :-)

Ari said...

They put me on e-mycin for a tummy bug when I was in university. And I have never taken e-mycin ever, ever again.

Mend well!

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! I've had this off and on myself for years. I now know how to recognize the symptoms and immediately change my diet. The thing that works for me is instant potatoes. You know the kind that come in a box. I know it sounds gross, but they are really decent and quick to make--add water, a little salt and pepper.

After surgery for many intestinal difficulties, instant potatoes was something I lived on for nearly 6 weeks. Now whenever things are beginning to even think of flaring, I take a day or two and do instant potatoes. So far, it's kept me out of ER and not waiting until too late to make my diet right again.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Teresa, we follow the basic idea from In Defense of Food: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." (Where "food" means minimal processing/not crap.)

From everything I've read, though, flare-ups can be avoided through a high-fiber, healthy diet, drinking enough water, and getting regular exercise.

It's entirely possible I caused the flare-up by attempting to eat all the cheese in the house over the weekend, to tidy up before we started the elimination diet! That weekend I didn't eat a lot of fiber and didn't exercise, and probably didn't get enough water. So, my bad, and now I know better!

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Ari, good to know. If I have to take Flagyl again, I will, but I'll discuss other options with my dr first. From what I've been able to determine, it's the best antibiotic for intestinal issues, so...who knows?

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Maggie, thanks for the tip! I've never had instant potatoes before, can you believe it?