A Post About How I'm Worried About Accidentally Throwing Up on Someone #GERD
By Nested on January 08, 2013
So I’ve been having severe acid reflux. That is, at least, what I’m calling it. Thank God’s it’s not the Middle Ages, though, because whatever it is would likely be referred to as “The demon-spawned dragon living in your bowels, burning your insides to a fiery crisp.” And then I’d probably be accused of being a witch for attracting such a monster and burned to a fiery crisp in my entirety at a stake. So there are some pluses to modernity, right?
This, from WebMD: (Yea, I know. I said I was done with it. But I am NOT using the Symptom Checker, so I’m totally safe. Except, I have been having a lot of headaches lately. Maybe I should go to the Symptom Checker. Just for a little bit. Just to see how it feels…… Someone needs to save me from myself.)
At the entrance to your stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it. If the LES doesn't close all the way or if it opens too often, acid produced by your stomach can move up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as a burning chest pain called heartburn. If acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week, you have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/what-is-acid-reflux-disease
So there you have it, kittens. The acid in your stomach can move up into your esophagus. Or, as I have experienced it, the entire contents of your stomach can move up into your esophagus. And there’s the real kicker.
It kind of sucks walking round feeling like Mt. Vesuvius all the time. And that’s a pretty appropriate metaphor. You know how every volcano sit atop molten magma? And how there’s a “conduit” up to the mouth of the volcano? And how if the tectonic movement forces the lava into the conduit that ...
This, kittens, is what my esophagus feels like. All the time. I haven’t slept a full night in weeks because I wake up at least twice to pop some Tums and pray for the apocalypse to put me out of my misery. Oh, and try not to actually erupt.
You see, the problem with severe acid reflux, or GERD, as it is apparently known, is that you always feel like you’re in danger of throwing up on someone. Unfortunately for Carter, the odds are that if I ever actually lose control of the ability to keep my mouth closed, I will be in grave danger of throwing up all over him. And there, kittens, will be the true crucible for our marriage. If I can throw up on him and his reaction is to not only not divorce me, but to help clean me up/put a crazy straw in some Pedialyte, well, we’ll know once and for all that he’s a keeper.
It’s like that time I threw up on my elementary school principal. Let me give you some background. I got a bit of a reputation around ol’ Our Lady of Lourdes for being a hypochondriac. Why? Because I was “sick” or “injured” all the time. Let me tell you, I wasn’t “sick.” I was SICK. It just happened with such startling regularity that the school secretary assumed I must be faking it, that all of the trips to the Emergency Room for broken toes and fingers, sprained wrists and ankles, and torn ligaments were all for show, that the fact that I couldn't breathe through my nose (and can’t still) between the months of March and November was all theatrics.
I had been feeling really nauseated all morning before getting picked up by carpool and begged my mother to let me stay home. She told me to at least “try to go to school,” but that if I still felt sick, she would come and get me. I begrudgingly climbed into Mrs. Wait’s minivan. At my school, if you arrived early, you had to go and wait in the cafeteria. Then a bell would ring and the entire cafeteria would empty into the classrooms. We were there 10 or 15 minutes early, as usual. I went to the table where I always sat with my friends, sat down, and immediately knew something was horribly wrong.
I slung my backpack on my back and hustled for the door, guarded by the principal, for there were no bathrooms in the cafeteria.
ME: “Mrs. ICan’tRememberYourName, I need to go to the bathroom. I’m going to throw up.”
MRS. ICANTREMEMBERYOURNAME: Nonsense. Go back to your seat, Katie. The bell will ring in 8 minutes and you may use the ladies’ room then.
ME: No, you don’t understand. I’m going to throw up.
MRS. ICANTREMEMBERYOURNAME: If you were really going to throw up, your mother wouldn’t have let you come. Stop being such a hypochondriac and--
And that is precisely when I tossed my cookies. All over her shoes. Apparently I was hypnotized as a baby. And apparently, “hypochondriac” is my trigger word. Or something. I dunno. Maybe I just really needed to yak.
And then I changed schools.
Not because of that. We moved to Kentucky. But I would have needed to change schools anyways after that. You can’t succeed in a school after you've thrown up all over The Law.
Thankfully, it has now been established that I am not a hypochondriac. In fact, I am the exact opposite. I will tell myself that I am fine when really, I have swine flu. And maybe a stroke. But definitely carpal tunnel. Alas.
I can say, fortunately, that aside from my mother (who is a saint), Mrs. ICan’tRememberYourName is the only person on whom I’ve charfed. And I would like to keep it that way.
Unfortunately, this reflux, or GERD, has other plans. And I am a ticking time bomb. Like the once-great city of Pompeii, I will leave only ashes in my wake. …Or a really disgusted person. Tomato, tomahto.
You’ll imagine my relief when I called my doctor this morning after a third night without sleep, nearly in tears, begging for an appointment, and she said, “Good lord, honey, why have you waited this long to call?! Now, you listen here. I want you to leave work right this instant and go to a pharmacy. Buy the Prilosec. And then call me back with the milligram dosage and I’ll tell you how much to take.”
A normal, recommended dose of Prilosec is one 20mg pill daily. My doctor’s office told me to take 2 immediately and then a third at bedtime tonight. I am then to take one pill every day at bedtime. Yep. It's just that bad. I have a physical scheduled next week and I have a feeling that this will be the main event of that… erm… event. The long and short of it is, according to the nurse, that I will likely have to have one of those scope thingies. I’m not too upset about this. It means “Laughy-Gas,” a sick day, and an excuse to eat lots of frozen yogurt because “Carter, the endoscopy tube really irritated my throat! Will you go back to Pinkberry for me for a third time today? It’s for my health!”
Either way, I’ll keep you posted. It could be an ulcer. It could be a hiatal hernia. It could be a problem with my esophageal valve. Other causes of GERD, according to the website, include being obese (not quite there yet), smoking (I don't. I have allergies. And some mild asthma. Smoking would, quite literally and immediately, kill me.), eating before bed (Damn you, Trader Joe's chocolate covered pretzels!), and being pregnant. Wait. What?
This is the second malady which I have been told could be caused by pregnancy, the first being the whole numb hand and arm thing (WTF?!?!). Because babies in gestation are apparently those “demon-spawned dragons living in your bowels, burning your insides to a fiery crisp” that the Medieval people were always going on about.
Now, calm down, kittens – ESPECIALLY YOU, KARA (my sister) – I am not pregnant. Not even a little bit.
But if the health experiences of the last 6 months are any indicator, when I do finally someday in a thousand years want to get pregnant, it will be either:
a) A super breezy experience because that kid will be going down the checklist of evil things to do to me in-utero and be all, “Well, she’s already done all of this shit! I know what will REALLY surprise her. I’ll just lie here quietly and kick only at opportune moments and grow to a healthy maturity. Oh, and I’ll make sure to decide to be born before my head has grown to be the size of a cantaloupe so that she can still maintain some integrity in her ladybits. Yea-Hell-Yea!”
b) I will need to be sedated for the entirety of the 9 months so that I’m not constantly:
1. Throwing up on everyone
2. Busting varicose veins on all of the corners of the coffee table
3. Sobbing uncontrollably because I can’t find my keys. Or ankles.
4. Knocking everything over all the time because both of my hands and arms are numb.
5. Resisting the urge to punch my baby back for the kickboxing being done within me – ALL THE F*CKING TIME.
6. NOT sleeping.
7. Did I mention throwing up on everyone?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going with B. And hey, if you stick around long enough, like 10 years long enough, you’ll get to read all about that blessed time. Because Carter won’t let me sedate myself because it could be bad for the baby. Nevermind the fact that it could could be bad for me not to be sedated. Selfish baby and Carter. Oh. And there's also the part about how I have no shame and therefore will absolutely be blogging about every single unpleasant detail.
And then I’ll probably be insufferable once it’s all over like, “Oh, you had an easy pregnancy? Mine was sheer hell. And then I endured 79 hours of full labor without drugs and delivered this baby with a giant soccerball head. But isn’t he perfect? I’m sorry you’re not nearly the badass that I am. My baby tried to kill me but I rose above and he STILL scored perfectly on his Apgar. That’s right. Suck it, weenie mom.”
Or, and infinitely more likely, I’ll be pounding the Maalox for the reflux (because you can’t take the good tummy drugs while you’re nursing, APPARENTLY), holding the baby that I will love so much, and sobbing hysterically because I’m throwing up on everyone. Oh, and never sleeping.
So…. maybe I should stop complaining about the reflux for a while. ….. And read a book about babies. Because clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Either way, here’s to hoping that the triple dose of Prilosec gives me some sweet relief and that I can sleep through the entire night. This means that Carter will also get to sleep through the night because currently I’m subscribing to the “If I’m awake, you’re awake” philosophy of marriage. Who needs to have a baby?
Essentially I am a baby, waking Carter up in the middle of the night crying and not letting him go back to sleep until he has put me back to sleep by rubbing my back, force-feeding me Tums, and telling me I’m a good girl in rapid succession.
F*ck, we’re functional.
Happy Tuesday, y’all!
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