Stomach Problems

Over the past 24 hours, my stomach has been severely upset. Anyone would have suspected I had swallowed the whole gallon of colonoscopy prep solution the day before, though I did not have a single drop. The situation became so dire and alarming yesterday that I actually called the gastroenterologist to see if he could squeeze me in or felt I needed to go to the ER to get an IV for hydration. I never make those kind of calls unless I’m seriously concerned about my wellbeing; after all, I tend to champion the flawed mindset that if-I-ignore-it,-it-will-go-away. I also have zero interest in needlessly seeing a doctor and sometimes when you call, they squeeze you in to be safe, which practically means you usually sit around the waiting room for a couple hours (because all the patients with appointments rightfully are seen first) only to receive the verdict you predicted: there’s little to do, you’ll be fine; this too shall pass. (I hope it goes without saying that I’m not qualified to give medical advice nor would I ever recommend not seeking treatment because of the hassle and potential that there’s nothing to do anyway.) It was a moot point because he’s only in the local office once a week so that option was off the table. He said I probably didn’t need an IV so long as I kept aggressively hydrating and wasn’t also throwing up. Therefore, I spent most of the afternoon going between the refrigerator for a drink and the bathroom. It was not only exhausting and crazy uncomfortable, but felt especially punishing because it was a summery day outside, the kind of weather that most everyone agrees is “too hot” but that I adore. Let’s just say I couldn’t even make it through my five-minute afternoon walk with Comet as part of her rehab…

As I’ve enumerated before, I love pretty much everything about summer weather with the exception of the not insignificant challenge it adds to falling asleep at bedtime. If I’m too hot, I toss and turn without reprieve and the metaphorical bar I set for “too hot” is very low by most people’s standards. In the winter, I open the window and put the fan on high on the sill to blast in freezing New England air. Since there’s no way I could come close to approximating those personally-optimal sub-freezing temperatures when the day reaches 89 degrees like yesterday, it becomes impossible to satisfactorily cool myself for sleep. This sudden appreciable spike in bedroom temperature coupled with my severe digestive problem made last night’s sleep attainment a mere fantasy. I give myself credit for how calm I managed to remain as the sleepless hours ticked by. Between the constant annoyance of needing to get up to use the bathroom and the natural inclination to feel frustrated over the inability to fall asleep (especially if you’re also overheated and uncomfortable), I expected to be grumpy and stressed about how little sleep I could possibly get even if I fell asleep immediately given the late hour. I’ve become skilled at keeping the pressure off and just allowing the relaxation alone to be restorative, at least in my perception, so that I don’t exacerbate the problem. There’s nothing to gain by fretting about not being able to fall asleep.

Eventually, I did get some amount of sleep last night, though vastly shy what I need. I was disappointed, and honestly surprised, that my stomach was only marginally less upset. If it doesn’t calm down, I’m going to be in for another long and uncomfortable day! What’s worse is that I have no idea what has set this off; thus, I can’t guarantee that I’m not perpetuating it with something I’m eating. However, I’m fairly certain it’s part of the virus I had earlier in the week that began with a high fever, particularly because I’m not eating anything out of the ordinary nor am I aware of any contamination event with my food. It’s certainly reasonable to expect gastrointestinal symptoms if I’m sick. Although my fever has been gone for two days, perhaps this is the next phase of this bug. I’ll be a happy girl when it’s worked its way out of my system and my intestines are back to their normal level of bad, which, although terrible according to my GI doctor, sounds like a really great place to be right now.

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