Random Thoughts on a Bad Day

Oh, man. Three good days in a row got spoiled big time today. Must have been the citrus sorbet last night. Who knows? Something inside me goes south in a hurry and in a big way. And it can only be bad things and internal damage to my digestive tract and/or colon. It’s one of those times when I really don’t want to know the answer but I want to get well. Getting old when you’re sick can be a drag.

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I'd like a shot of HFCS straight up, Bartender. Hold the sugar.

I was thinking about high-fructose corn syrup tonight. Who believed this substance was a good idea? Someone who one day thought “sugar isn’t sweet enough – what if I created something sweeter than sugar and harder to digest?” Yeah, genius, that’s just great. Improve upon nature. Go ahead and try.

I can eat sugar, but HFCS makes me feel bad. I’m not sure why, but it does. And it raises my glucose levels higher than sugar. Still, I want to invent Super HFCS. This would be even sweeter than regular HFCS. It would be so sweet that just the smell of it would raise your blood sugar 50 points. And a spoonful would make you pass out. And if you forgot to brush your teeth at night after eating it, you’d wake up with holes in your teeth. Yeah, that’s right, I’m going to make Super HFCS. And believe it or not, people will buy it because people love sweet stuff.


Another random thought for the day: Doctors will let you suffer if they think you’re getting better. Any sign of improvement gives them an excuse to do nothing. Here’s how a conversation might go:

Patient: Doctor, I’m feeling bad. Today, I was rolled up into a little ball because of the stomach pain. I cried out for lightning to strike me and put me out of my misery. Help.

Doctor: But you had three good days prior to that, right?

Patient: Yeah?

Doctor: Well, then you’re improving. Today’s just a minor setback. Overall, you’re improving.

Patient: But at one point my stomach ripped open and I had to push all of my guts back in. I’m not sure I put them back in the correct places.

Doctor: I’m sure you put the puzzle back together just fine. You’re trending in the right direction. Call me in two weeks.

Patient: Two weeks?

Doctor: Yep. You’re getting better. Talk to you then.

Patient: [throws the phone to the ground and jumps on it until it’s pulverized into plastic dust]

If you want your doctor to help you, never mention you’ve shown improvement of any kind. Otherwise, you’ll be left to suffer and die.

Stay well.

Day 22 of c diff

On day 22 of c diff and stomach problems, and day 17 of vanco, I have no words to describe the fun. I find it almost unbelievable – an odyssey of trying to figure out what to eat and not eat, and which probiotics work best. Sometimes I am stable only to be derailed by eating the wrong food. Then I go into a tailspin.

I would like to steal one of those tiny cameras you swallow that take video of your digestive system from start to finish. Either that or move to Texas A&M and have them install a fistula in my stomach – like a cow. I prefer option 1.

Clostridium difficile, day 16

How’s this for a stupid name for a bacteria: Clostridium difficile. Or C. diff to its friends. I’m on day 16 of this slow-moving nightmare and I can’t wait to wake up. It’s like riding a malfunctioning roller coaster all day long – I go fast. I go slow. I feel good. I feel bad. I can eat. I can’t eat. I don’t have the strength to write. I do. I don’t. I’m hot. I’m cold. I can beat it. I give up.

C. diff is wearing me out. Trying to work with this bacteria with the silly name is a drag, and I need it to clear out of my system asap.

Today, my CF doctor bumped me from 10 days of vanco to 14 and perhaps, if the stomach doctor has his way, up to 28 days. So, I took some measures of my own tonight and bought more probiotics, bringing my bill to $270 plus and counting. I had been taking over 150 billion cells per day. Today, I raised that total to over 430 billion. That’s Billion with a capital “B,” baby. That’s right. I’m the probiotic king.

Back to the name. A bacteria with this kind of bite deserves to be called more than C. diff, which sounds like the name of a rapper. When people ask me what I have, I’d like them to get a quick idea of C. diff’s nastiness instead of a blank look and the “what’s that?” phrase that follows. I need a name that impresses people. Something that creates instant recognition of the havoc C. diff causes.

I thought of a few like gut fire, blowfish tummy, and radioactive belly. But for some crazy reason, I liked King-Maker best. That’s right, King-Maker. It may not be the most frightening of names, but it captures the worst part of having C. diff – spending a good portion of your day sitting on the throne.

Someone shoot me, please.

I hate bacteria

I know there are good bacteria, like the millions in the probiotics I’ve been swallowing each day, but I hate the bad ones. Especially c-diff, PA and mycobacterium, the latter having worked its way into a new friend’s lungs. Why can’t scientists invent some form of good bacteria to combat them? Probiotics for the lungs? I’d inhale something like that. Instead I need antibiotics and more antibiotics.

The good news, though I’m afraid to write it because the last time I mentioned good health my two-week joy ride with c-diff started, is that today I may have turned the corner with the c-diff. The antibiotics seem to be doing their job finally and the rollercoaster of low-grade fevers, stomach problems, diarrhea, feeling ill and tired, and hot like the Human Torch has subsided.

Whew, doggie. That was something. Bacteria . . . wow. The damage they can do, as all of us know. It won’t be the cockroaches that survive all of us, it will be the cockroach bacteria. These tiny, invisible destroyers of life will survive all, I’m afraid.

The ironic part of my story is that it started thanks to a medication – Nexium. To combat GERD, the stomach doctor prescribed up to 80mg a day, suppressing my stomach acid to the point the c-diff could flourish and take control. Down with the hearburn, up with the c-diff. Right now I have the heartburn of a dragon and feel like I could blow fire and take out a tree or two, though cars would be more fun because they explode. I’m afraid to take anything to reduce the acid in my system that’s helping to kill the c-diff. I’ll live with the heartburn over the c-diff.

Equilibrium, such an elusive dream most days.

The Villain Identified

My stomach went south this morning. I felt better yesterday, bad today.

I spoke to my most excellent CF doctor in the morning and he said in a cool way like he was picking a race horse to bet on: I’m leaning toward C-diff now. But I had an appointment with a stomach doctor later, so he wanted to know what that doctor said before placing his final bet.

My regular stomach doctor is on a beach somewhere sipping sweet tea with rum while reading Good Guts Gone Bad Quarterly. So, I got the 123-year-old doctor I can’t stand who should have retired back when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. He placed his hands lightly on my stomach and told me to let him know if it hurt. When I say “lightly,” I mean like he was running his hand over the hood of his Mercedes as not to scratch it, all gentle and kind and loving. I could have had the stomach ache from hell and his light touch wouldn’t have triggered anything.

So, he and I talked. I told my story and how my doc and I were betting on C-Diff. Dr. Gentle Hands told me we were wrong and it was a virus irritating my gut. He handed me a list of foods I should eat and some I should avoid. And an Rx for an anti-spasmodic, which I can’t take because it can dry out secretions.

But what about the fever? I asked. It came back today.

You usually don’t get a fever with C-Diff, he replied.

Hmm, that’s strange, I thought, because the last few times I’ve had C-Diff I got the bonus prize of a fever. Must have been a miracle of science. I’m special and honored to have received such a rare prize.

I didn’t say anything to the animatronic doctor. I know fevers and C-Diff often come as a package, which my CF doc confirmed on the phone later. But at that moment with the stomach doc I knew that I had wasted my time. Why kill any more by arguing.

When I got home, my CF doc and I decided to see how I felt Saturday morning, but I filled the Rx for the Vanco just in case. And it’s a good thing I did because tonight a fever and some nasty stomach gurgling arrived, as did watery you know what.

Hello, C-Diff, it was you all along, you crafty bastard.