A good moan will get it out of my system. At least, that's the plan. It has been a very trying week, and I am exhausted.
Last Wednesday morning I woke to the abdominal ache that told me an attack of diverticulitis was imminent. May be too much info for some, so feel free to skip! :-)
You see, there are four stages for me with the diverticular disease:
stage 1: No pain. Best stage going. Wish it was the main stage, but alas...
stage 2: Pain after I eat, relieved by a visit to the loo. Painful cramps, but not long-lasting. This is the stage I am most often in.
stage 3: Pain after I eat, but no relief to be had for around two hours. Cramping pains very intense and bent double - stomach-clutchingly painful. This happens on an almost weekly basis.
stage 4: Ache throughout my abdomen, intensified in certain patches, with the ache relieved somewhat by paracetamol, but the intensified patches impervious to pain relief. This is accompanied by feeling sick and very loose bowels usually. This is the point at which I get put on antibiotics by the doc.
So, as already mentioned, I woke last Wednesday to the stomach ache, intensified pain etc, and after a couple of hours I figured it was best to see the doc.
Well, as predicted Dr P. put me on antibiotics, but she also suggested I start taking fybogel.
But I'm not constipated. Quite the opposite. Plus I am eating a high fibre diet. Do I have to?
Yes, she says, because it can also help to bulk up loose stools. I want you to try it for at least a week. And she hands me a prescription for a month's supply!
So, when I get home after the trip to the chemist, I take my antibiotic, eat some breakfast, and then dutifully attempt to drink down my first sachet of fybogel.
The first issue with the fybogel: They had given me the orange flavour, but although it smelled vaguely orangey, it didn't taste like any orange I'd ever eaten, plus the additives – saccharin and aspartame are truly disgusting! I never buy anything to eat or drink with either of those ingredients in. How on earth was I supposed to get this stuff down me twice a day after my morning and evening meals?
Then the second issue made itself known. Dry mouth! Bits of the fybogel left in your mouth immediately suck all the moisture out! Took me a while to realise what was happening. So after the second dose I immediately cleaned my teeth and swooshed a load of water round my mouth.
But by now, the third issue was becoming obvious. There are only two side effects – bloating and flatulence. And I had them both – and how!!! And the bloating made the cramping pains so much worse that I couldn't eat anything without them kicking in.
I took the third dose on Thursday morning, in spite of my misgivings, telling myself that the side effects would probably settle down after a few days, which was why the doc said to give it at least a week. By this time I had to stand over the sink to drink it because I was in danger of bringing it straight back up. Then I downed my usual antibiotics and painkillers and prayed.
I walked into town once I was sure it was staying down, and fortunately the pain eased sufficiently for me to make it there and back without incident, and when I got back I rang the chemist to ask if I could change the fybogel flavour to the one called 'natural', thinking that would be better and be sweetener free.
I tried it that evening, as it was for the first couple of mouthfuls, then dosing it with Ribena to try and make it more palatable, but I only just managed to keep it down, and the pressure in my stomach at this point, from the swelling fybogel on top of my meal was too much. Cue me sat on the loo crying with pain while my stomach tried to reach back up to my throat to throttle me!!!
By the time I crawled off the loo, I was only fit to crawl into bed.
I came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to help me if I was in this much pain after taking it, and that it wouldn't help me know if the antibiotics were working if I didn't know what was causing the symptoms (diverticulitis or fybogel), so I decided to wait until I'd finished the antibiotics before trying any more fybogel. I also decided to ask the doc for the salt-based option (no sweeteners type of fibre supplement) that the chemist suggested I ask about.
So that was Thursday.
Friday I stayed home and took my tablets, clutched my cramping stomach at intervals, and became very closely acquainted with my bathroom as the fybogel I'd taken worked through my system.
Saturday was much the same.
Sunday I finally woke up with minimal pain so I did a little dancing. Caught up with my JD3 Bingo game, and decided that was enough seeing as I'd not exercised for a few days.
Unfortunately, by the evening I was in a lot of pain again.
Monday my eldest was arriving around tea time for an overnight stay. Tara and I made her up a bed, hoovered through and generally tidied, but I was really struggling, and Tara was incubating a cold, so neither of us was exactly eager to do housework.
I ate a late lunch around 4pm, and within 30 mins I was in agony! Cramping pains were taking my breath away every few minutes. The loo was not helping, and Bry arrived to find me bent double in the sitting room in the throws of a real humdinger of an attack. First time she had seen me that bad. She had only seen me in the recovery phase before.
I was in tears when she got here, terrified that I'd get taken to hospital because the pain wouldn't quit even though I'd been on the antibiotics nearly a week by then. I was in a hell of a state!
I calmed down as the pain eased, managed a little supper, but when I woke in the morning it was to more pain and extreme diarrhoea!!!
So I get on the phone to ask for a doctor appointment, but there was no schedule due to a shortage of doctors that morning, so we were told to get there for 11am and wait for a doc to free up. We got there early, just in case, and sat in the surgery for 3/4 hour before I finally saw someone. Of course the pain had stopped by then, but she pummelled me (very heavy hands does Miss O'C have, but she is lovely with it) all over my abdomen, asked me lots of questions, told me to forget about fybogel for now, and she put me on anti-spasmodic drugs instead, to stop the spasm pains. She also booked me for blood tests to check for inflammation. I'm guessing that is because of the pain in my chest and collar bones.
She was terrific!
THEN... poor Bry, who was already late for her travelling home (she planned to leave for home at 10am but it was by now after 11.30) had to drive me across town to the drop-in medical centre at the main hospital because - get this - the surgery didn't have any blood test appointments available until sometime in DECEMBER!!!
It was almost noon by the time we reached the drop-in centre because we got slightly lost in the maze of roads at Highwoods trying to get there, but luckily – being sensible females – we asked a chap walking his British Bulldog for directions and we'd only gone a little bit wrong. Although there was a thirty minute wait to see a doctor there, it was only a five minute wait to see the very friendly blood taking nurse.
So, blood removed we then went to Asda (just down the road from the drop-in centre, so we thought it would be more convenient) to get the antispasmodics prescription filled there, and were stuck there for nearly 20 mins waiting for that, and then we went to Waitrose on the way home so I could get a few urgent groceries and to buy Bry a coffee.
Unfortunately, there was a long queue in the cafe because by this time it was 1pm, so everyone wanted lunch, and after a few mins in a non-moving queue (three staff cleaning, and only one serving, and she had the pace of your average snail!!!) Bry and I had both had enough. I hadn't eaten since I got up at 7am, and Bry hadn't eaten in more than three hours, and we could both feel our tempers rising as we were watching this girl stroll casually around behind the counter despite the rapidly lengthening queue, so we just walked out before one of us tore someone off a strip. Mood I was in, it would NOT have been pretty!
Once we got back to the house, Bry wolfed down some of my coffee and sandwiches, while I took my first anti-spasmodic and then made some porage, and then Bry headed for home. She still hoped to get back in time to get to her Samba class that night.
She didn't make it. Rob took one look at her when she got back (it is a five hour drive between ours and theirs) and insisted she was way too tired to go, and that she was to have an early night. Sensible chap! :-)
Tara and I had an early night too. We were both in bed with lights out by 9.30 pm. I was relieved to have had no more spasm pains since I started taking the new tablets. I had aches when I needed to use the loo, and the costo was still being a royal pain, but a couple of co-codamol helped that.
Today, so far, has been spasm free, a few twinges, some ache when I need the loo, and some costo pain. Oh, and the diarrhoea hasn't finished with me yet.
Tomorrow I should get the blood test results.
Here endeth the current moan. :-) If you stuck with me through all this, I shall reward you shortly with a much happier blog. :-) I say shortly, but it may be tomorrow because I have a ton of pics to share. :-)
Hope you are having a Wickedly Wonderful Wednesday!