Why has my G.I. system taken against me?

Apologies for any clunkiness in what follows – not exactly on top of my game today.


A couple of days after Christmas, I suffered a vicious bout of diarrhoea, with nausea so devastating I sat for two days holding my suicide kit, wishing I had the courage to take it (which bodes ill for when I really do need it). All I’d eaten was a bowl of a very good lamb and bean stew. I couldn’t figure out how it had poisoned me, nor could I think of another culprit,** so I binned it.

**I did later.

I couldn’t figure out how I could have picked up a bug (Norovirus, maybe, which my symptoms actually fit), either, as I’d not been out of my flat, at that point, for two weeks (three weeks now, which as you’ll see is relevant). It’s quite possible to get infected mail, or grocery deliveries, of course, against which their is no sane defence.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I had a mug of home-made soup for lunch. Then, in the afternoon, my default, drug-induced constipation having reasserted itself after reducing my Nebivolol (which had buggered my breathing and loosened my bowels), I had a tub of Activia yoghurt and, in the evening, not feeling like cooking anything, or having the same soup twice, I had a mug of Mugshots instant noodles. If you haven’t tried these, they really are good.

Later, I had a large tub of Rachel’s organic vanilla yoghurt, laced with maple syrup.

By 22.00, I was nauseous yet again, my stomach began to swell painfully, and my bowels to make ominous noises. Two hours later I was in the bathroom, voiding at both ends and in terrible pain. This went on until about 03.30 when I was finally able to get some sleep, disturbed by a couple of false alarms.

And, amid the chaos, I forgot to put the soup back in the fridge, so that’s history. Well, OK, it’s probably perfectly fine, but I’m not in the mood for “probably”.

This morning, feeling dreadful, and my innards sore from the abuse, I published an Out of Action blog post, saying I’d be offline all day – before discovering that it took more energy than I currently have to move from here!

So I got to thinking, and I’m pretty sure there’s a link to last night’s bout of gastric purgatory – Activia yoghurt. And thinking back to Christmas, I had a couple of Birds Eye cheese and onion pasties – and they were horrible, full of totally raw onion – I started to feel crappy not long after, but by the time it peaked the following day, they’d been forgotten, and I blamed my innocent lamb casserole.

Yesterday, I have a feeling that whatever bugs Activia contains went into overdrive when fed maple syrup (possibly aided and abetted by the bugs in the Rachel’s live yoghurt, too), sort of confirmed when things finally settled down after I’d vomited the last traces of  Rachel’s yoghurt. If that wasn’t the cause, then I have no idea what was.

I have several pots of Activia in the fridge, which are going to be binned. Got more Rachel’s too, but that should be OK if I don’t add maple syrup!

If I eat anything  the next couple of days, it’s going to be plain boiled rice and peas, and at the moment I’m drinking tonic water, to counter the horrible taste in my mouth.

As a belt and braces exercise, I’m going to buy a pair of  temperature monitors for both fridge and freezer.** I’m happy that they’re working just fine – my filtered water, for example, is almost too cold to drink – I just want to be certain.

**Alarms can be set to sound if the temperature rises beyond a pre-set level

And if this happens again, even though it means Arrowe Park Hospital, I’m getting an ambulance. Apart from any other consideration, it really screws with my meds.

What’s stopped me doing that is the seemingly automatic assumption, these days, that if you have diarrhoea you probably have bowel cancer. I suppose you’ve all seen the doom-laden TV ad that says if you have loose poo for three weeks, you might well have bowel cancer – though I tend to hear that as “loose Pooh” with an image of a promiscuous stuffed bear…

And as this ad is aimed squarely at adults, why is it pitched in the language of a three-year-old?

Anyhoo, not to go into too much detail, but I have, and for longer than three weeks and so, of course, that bloody TV ad has wormed its malign way in to my consciousness.

For the record I am absolutely certain I don’t have bowel cancer – no blood for a start – the looseness is a side effect of my Nebivolol, confirmed by the fact that, when I cut the dose by half recently, it stopped.

Anyway, given APH’s record of screw-ups, they certainly are not going to be allowed to go prospecting!



16 thoughts on “Why has my G.I. system taken against me?

  1. Oh dear, Ron, it never rains but it pours! I guess it won’t help you much, but when I had norovirus on Christmas Day 2011, the first thing I wanted to eat two days later was fish and chips… And you would certainly know if it was norovirus as you literally (and I mean literally) have PROJECTILE vomiting (you could hit a wall six feet away with it). And distressingly you tend to purge from both ends simultaneously. Sorry, I’ve said too much! Anyway, I do hope it was just short-lived food poisoning in your case and that you are back on form soon. Have a great-ish 2013 🙂

    • Projectile vomiting can be a feature – but it needn’t be – and I was doing the both ends simultaneously bit most of the night!

      This morning the skin on my arms and hands was so wrinkly and saggy it looked like I’d aged 30 years overnight (felt like it too!), and that, apparently, is typical of Norovirus.

      Whatever it is – I’m in for an encore – gotta run.

  2. I’ve noticed that when I eat my homemade Easiyo Greek yoghurt, I’m slightly looser than normal, so you could have something there.

    • The more I think about this the less sense it makes. Clearly a yoghurt component last night – but why? If the pasties were off, as I suspect, I took loads of antibiotics, so that should be neutralised – unless it was a virus.

      It might be drug-induced, but not for so long, and I always use a sterilising hand-wash so I’ve not accidentally contaminated anything.

      I think it’s a bug that, somehow, has been delivered, either on mail of shopping. And against that, there’s no defence. I can reduce the risk – one reason I’m trying Wiltshire Farm Foods – but I can’t eliminate it.

        • Still a lot of internal noise, Tricia, and still feel as if things could be a tad unpredictable. But so far, today, I’ve been fine. Feeling better, too. Still very weak, and tired, though. On the plus side, having reduced the beta-blocker because it can cause diarrhoea, I feel no worse and my breathing is better.

          I’ve stocked up on Loperamide and Dioralyte, though, just in case it stages another comeback (so now I’m prepared, it probably won’t!). If it does though, now the holiday is out of the way, I’m getting the doctor out.

  3. Sorry that you are feeling so poorly Ron – it’s one of the worst feelings in the world emptying out both end at the same time. It does sound awfully like Norovirus – which has been spreading rapidly throughout the country since before Christmas! Medical reports say that they have never had it so bad as this year! (I actually call it the Tory virus 🙂 and I think you’ll know why). Keeping up the fluids is the main thing. The pasties have probably done something to you and other things have followed on 😦
    Did you ever read about the onions report that has been going around? I’ll try and find the link but I don’t know if it’s a hoax or not – mind you, I have to say that I actually believe it!
    Get better soon – Jayx

    • Just been Googling onion problems. In the summer, last year, there was listeria in the US onion supply.

      Birds Eye is an American company. Where do they buy their onions? And could products containing onions that missed the recall still be in circulation?

      Frozen foods have BBE dates, but not the date manufactured – I think that needs to change, so we know how old they are when we buy them.

      When you peel an onion, even when the skin is removed, the first couple of layers can have dirt and mould trapped between them (even fresh and straight out of the ground). In restaurant kitchens, no-one cares, not even on TV, so I see no reason why food manufacturers should behave any better. Or even as well, tucked away from the public gaze.

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