It's just after 6pm and I'm sitting here waiting to find out if my lunch is going to come shooting out of me, a disgusting, painful pile of undigested mess. It's one way to spend a Saturday.
Welcome to my summer.
For the past two months, at least once a week I've ridden the bus home from work chewing down double doses of Pepto Bismol tablets to buy enough time to get home to my toilet before all hell breaks loose. I'm happy to say I've made it every single time. I don't know how, but I have. If nothing else I've developed incredibly strong sphincter muscles this summer.
It started off like a bout of food poisoning from a salad I'd had back in May. Within about an hour after eating lunch, I realized something didn't feel right. I collected my things and bolted for the bus. It was either try to get home right away or spend the night in the bathroom at work.
I had visions of Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids as I sat on the bus feeling my intestines spasm with alarming force. A forty minute commute, without traffic, I prayed to the intestinal gods to please please please let me get home in time.
Ten minutes from home, the cramps were so intense I was covered in sweat and breathing through the contractions like I was about to birth a toddler. But the gods were kind and ten minutes later I stepped gingerly off the bus and shuffled home.
It took a few days for my body to purge whatever had taken up residence in my system. Then three other people at work went home with the exact same symptoms. It didn't seem like standard food poisoning anymore, but I eventually recovered and everything seemed fine.
Unfortunately, for me and the skin on my heiney, all was not fine. After that first episode, every salad I ate made me sick, whether from a restaurant or homemade. Then it was spinach in my omelets. Then it was chicken salad sandwiches, or sandwiches with any sort of vegetables. The only "safe" foods were oatmeal, toast, potatoes, rice and bananas.
Somewhat freaked out, I saw my doctor and she seemed perplexed. There was no pain in my abdomen, no pain anywhere at all unless my body was purging the contents of my bowels. She ordered lab work and it all came back normal. Great! But... what about my butt?
Feeling like there wasn't much I could safely eat, I thought maybe a short fast could help - give my system a break and see if it might clean out some garbage in the process. So, for three days I had only green tea, water and bone broth. The day after I broke the fast, I got sick again. From a waffle. The ultimate downer. Now even waffles weren't safe.
It's interesting how not eating - either because of illness or when fasting - changes your relationship with food and with life in general. So much of our culture revolves around food. If you're not eating or can't tolerate restaurant food, you might as well have leprosy. There are few social activities you can enjoy and few people who are down with going on long walks to nowhere. "Come over for broth?" Yeah, no. Every meal came with a side of depression, wondering what was going to make me sick and how fast.
With my doctor on vacation and no idea what might be going on, I tried another approach. Maybe what I had back in May wasn't just typical food poisoning. Maybe it was a virus/bacteria/bug that was still with me, and maybe that one episode was bad enough to clear out *all* the good bacteria so all that was left was the bad stuff. Maybe I could kill it naturally.
So, every morning in the Bullet went:
1 lemon, thoroughly washed & cut up into pieces (peel included, but no seeds)
1/2 - 1 C almond milk
2 heaping Tbsp greens powder - whatever you like
2 heaping Tbsp protein powder (optional)
With the smoothie I also took digestive enzymes and the highest-grade probiotics I could find - 2-3 capsules with every meal. I started last Sunday morning and by Monday I was feeling different. Hard to explain, but my energy seemed better as well as my mood. 'Course, one's mood is often improved when you're no longer worried about crapping your pants.
Just to be safe, I stayed with mostly bland foods all week or simple things that probably shouldn't cause problems. Still, things felt more stable than they had in weeks.
Sadly, my super green smoothie, enzymes & probiotics didn't quite do the trick. Seemed like it was helping, but alas, the explosive evacuations returned, butt good. See what I did there? A week or so later I was getting sick again, and it was getting worse. Whatever this was, it was a good bug, but I did eventually kill it...