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June 1st, 2004

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05:07 am
00. I have determined that I have come down with something that is neither food poisoning nor a virus. Most likely it is well and duly acid reflux, though I have not ruled out the fact that I could very well be nurturing a resident ulcer (and if that is the case I shall have to name it, naturally, Ursula.) When apprised of my symptoms over the phone last night, Mom said she had the exact same problem when she had acid reflux ("This was before Prilosec was OTC," she explains, "and let me tell you it was rotten.")

This explains, then, why I spent Monday indoors, spending 20 or so hours alternating between sporadic 90-minute periods of sleep and 15-minute periods of quiet introspection in the smallest room in the house (no, not the coat closet.) It was the exact same thing what hit me a few weeks ago -- and a few weeks before that, and once or so before that -- and caused me no end of gastric grief. Once it is feasible to do so, I shall be bringing the matter to the concern of a valid, licensed professional, and then we can all play the medication and dietary game so that this problem does not keep on ruining a full day for me. I can handle the bloating, I can handle the gassy crampy stomach pain, I can handle the light-headed hallucinations, but honestly, if I wanted to waste an entire day lying in bed, I could think of seventeen different ways to go about it, all of which would be a lot more fun and involve a whole lot less time on the john.

This series of unfortunate events also underscores the coming awareness of one's mortality and frailty; the Invincible Twenties are nearly over for me and the realization that no, the human body is not a perfect machine has begun to set itself in and I am willing to accept this, though not without as much resignation or chagrin as I can muster up. Up until now, apart from some rotten colds, flus, virii, migraines, caffeine dependency, childhood asthma, insomnia, heartburn, misaligned knees, allergies and genetically weak teeth that grind themselves down to nearly nothing, I've always considered myself rather hale 'n hearty, so these revelations do tend to be as unpleasant as expected.

Unfortunately the one thing which I was not yesterday was prepared, and although I vaguely remember a 2 AM stumble to the CVS for some Gas-X, I hadn't bought anything else, so I had nothing in the apartment in the way of true illness nourishment. (This basically means no Instant Breakfast, which is usually the only thing one can nurse down when one needs to. And for what it does when it does it, it's brilliant.) As such, I have not eaten actual food since Sunday, and truth be told I'm rather ravenous at the moment. Problem is, it's 6 in the morning and there's nothing to eat here other than some pretzels and Pecan Sandies. All right, I've nibbled a bit on the pretzels, but right now I feel as if I've just woken up from hibernating. The closest open restaurant is a McDonalds and I don't believe they are serving anything at the moment which I require.

01. I require food. I require a hearty meal. I don't want anything spicy, I don't want anything junky. I demand starch, though -- mashed potatoes is key. I also demand meat, yes, meat, enough protein to keep me going. At this point the thing I want most in this world, right now, other than 40 hours a week at $10-$12/hr, is pot roast. Oh, yes. Delicious pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy and probably some carrots on the side, carrots are good with a dish like that. Bring on the salad, I'll eat the salad too. Bleu cheese if you have it, otherwise the house Italian will do. Rolls? Yes please thank you. I won't need dessert.

If you know of a place in Boston that can serve me this around noonish, and can do it for reasonably cheap (I have some cash from Mom that I'm willing to put up for "recuperative and restorative expenses") then please, by all means, let me know. I shall take another nap and wake up in a few hours and when I do, I will be ready to take on the world, or at least the fold-out menu.

10. I also spent yesterday alternating between two books -- Catch-22 in the bathroom, so the madness could at least be contained to one room, and James Thurber's My World, and Welcome to It at the bedside for the twilight periods right before another fitful nap. I've really grown to appreciate Thurber's stuff. He strikes me as a slightly more accessible S.J. Perelman, equally as entertaining but less reliant on highfalutin' booklarned three-dollar words. While Thurber was a staunch proponent of maintaining the purity of the English language (and detested such corruptions as the use of "spectacular" as a noun, for instance) you can read his work without a concordance.

Both men wrote about their homelife (Perelman's slightly more metropolitan than Thurber, who lived in a Connecticut suburb) and both wrote about traveling abroad. The second half of My World... involves Thurber's stays in Paris, and in reading I was nostalgically grasped by my own memories of staying in France for a while (well, okay, it was two weeks total, but when you're twenty years old and you have four days in Paris by yourself, it feels like a magical lifetime.) I am no Francophobe, I feel no need to jingoistically bash another country for their political beliefs. I still love the country and most of its people (really, outside Paris, everybody's cool. In Paris itself, you just have to simply remember to, oh, I dunno, speak the language.) While enjoying a wonderful morning at a farmhouse somewhere near Poitiers in 1995, I wrote this to my girlfriend at the time:
Come run away with me to France and we can grow old together in a small town. You can befriend all the neighborhood cats, and I shall write angry letters to the local newspaper...
Can't say a high percentage of that flight of fancy doesn't still appeal to me.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 04:16 am (UTC)
There's a place in Allston/Brighton near the Harvard Ave. T-Stop that specializes in comfort foods, just as you describe them. Can't recall the name, but I'm certain it's in a metal-sided building on the same side of Harvard Ave as the Russian bookstore. If you can get out that far, give it a try.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 04:19 am (UTC)
I offer only vague sympathy since I've gone down with a buggy thing myself with similar-ish symptoms (though not so bad). Having curry four times last week (and once for breakfast) probably wasn't such a good idea after all.

The nice people you can ring free and get NHS advice over the telephone from say 1) Imodium 2) water 3) soup 4) mashed potato if you can manage it, so you're doing the right thing.

What's annoying me the most is the constant, really, really loud and embarassing belly gurgles. So loud they actually woke both me and the SO up several times in the night.

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
It could be an ulcer, it could be IBS, it could be lactose intolerance. I have all three (whee! I hate you Mr. Stomach!) and I've had periods of going through exactly what you're stating here.

Obviously, seeing a doctor is in order; short of that--and after you've balanced out your cravings with some comfort food--my suggestion is to eat a couple of servings of rice a week. White rice is okay but brown rice is healthier for you overall. That will help absorb all the nastiness in your stomach and will calm things down. Once you're feeling a little better, another thing I could also recommend is, well, a fiber suppliment like Metamucil. No matter how much it makes you feel like Wilford Brimley, it tends to make things somewhat easier.

I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on any remote visual broadcasting device. But aside from the non-OTC drugs I'm currently on, these things have helped me a great deal.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 09:08 am (UTC)
I agree. I'm really leaning towards lactose intolerance here. In fact, that's the first thing I thought of when you were first having these symptoms. Try this, Spatch. Lay off of all milk products for a week, and see if your symptoms improve. You don't need a doctor's help for that one.

I also have IBS, and I can attribute it to (1) stress and (2) greasy foods. I can't eat anything that's been fried, and I also have to watch spicy foods & my alcohol intake. Try eliminating those foods from your diet as well, hopefully it'll help. Everything is trial & error when it comes to food. 1-2 weeks of abstinence and then re-introducing it back into your diet is the only way to find out for sure if that particular food is the culprit. I'd suggest eliminating milk first, then go for grease.

The Prilosec should also help. I had a friend that had problems with gas, and he said that it cleared up almost immediately after he started taking that. But remember, it takes a few days for it to start kicking in, so don't expect it to work like an antacid.

If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask. I went through hell trying to figure my problem out for 4 years, so I know the ropes. :P
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 06:58 am (UTC)
Could be your gallbladder.

Of course, like any good middle-aged chick, I think everyone has what I once had to have exciting surgery for, so I'd probably think it was your gallbladder even if you said your big toe hurt and was turning purple.

But it *could* be your gallbladder.
Date:June 1st, 2004 09:20 am (UTC)

Eat meat

Der Spatch, go out to a blue diner if you can't make it to the meat faucet. Sometimes a good batch of down home cooking can make a world of difference, and then take a long nap. Then drink lots of water or iced tea or club soda.

Ariel is right about gallbladder stuff. Do you feel stabbing pains in your back and constant gastric distress? I didn't even know I had it until I was trying to ask the doc about heartburn and I got whisked into the ultrasound room and they found a huge rock. I had no clue.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2004 10:04 pm (UTC)

Acid Reflux

Things you should avoid. Citrus fruits including tomato. Caffeine and chocolate. Spicy things are also bad. Drink lots of water and try an OTC acid blocker.

I hope you got your comfort food though Italian dressing my have been a bad idea.
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2004 02:11 pm (UTC)
ah...thus the adventures to the meat faucet....

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