I’m writing this prematurely, but I won’t publish it for several days in case I have to amend it. Today is Christmas, 2015. For over a year I’ve suffered from occasional severe nighttime pain in my upper abdomen. I know this isn’t a popular topic, but keep reading. There may be a good lesson here.
During the past year I’ve gone to the emergency room at Parkview Hospital three times. Twice I was transported the 55 miles there by our local EMS crew and once by my partner, Annie. On a number of other occasions I just toughed it out. The condition that caused these incidents was continual waves of pain in my stomach area that were only relieved by burping. My trips to the ER all occurred in the late night to early morning when I could not bear the pain and fatigue any longer. Fatigue is part of it because it was impossible to sleep during the events and they were very tiring. At the ER they gave me pain and anti-nausea medication. The problems always passed by themselves, but it took all night. The next day was pretty much a loss.
Now to the point of this essay. The first trip to the ER was in the Fall of 2014. The next time was early last Summer, 2015. Maybe a month later there was a repeat, and the again after another month. I finally made an appointment to see my physician and was properly referred to a Gastroenterologist. He recommended a colonoscopy and then xrays of my small intestine after drinking a barium cocktail. I had had CT scans done when at the ER. Everything was negative. Every time I had to make an appointment to see the Gastroenterologist, the earliest available time was almost a month away.
My spells continued and got closer together. The last three events were on November 27th, Black Friday, December 19th, and December 23rd. Eventually, I could feel an almost constant churning in my stomach and my gas production would make Exxon proud. The Gastroenterologist had prescribed medicine for acid reflux that I began taking a few days before the November 27th event.
All along I had been trying to figure out what the problem was because, as a therapist I knew 50 years ago advised me, “In the end, you have to do it yourself.” That has always been great advice. I’m in good shape for my 76 years. I exercise regularly, and walk a good deal. I’m 5’11” and under 150 pounds, so not overweight. I stopped drinking alcohol, although I don’t drink much. I considered my water, even though I always filter it. I bought a test kit and used it. Negative. I researched food problems and altered my habits. No good result.
About a week ago, after more research, I realized that the problem was an imbalance in the bacteria in my gut. Maybe some bad bacteria, or too little or too much good bacteria. This had Never been mentioned as a possibility by any medical authority. From my internet research, a probiotic seemed advisable. I ordered some of the best reviewed that I could find. Only 25 bucks. It came yesterday and I immediately took a pill. Within a half hour I felt much better. By bedtime I took another and had a great night’s sleep. Note that I could have taken three in a 24-hour period. This product is time release so it continues to help throughout the day. I feel great now. I will continue to take one per day for a few weeks and then see if I can stop.
The moral of this is what I’ve mentioned above: “This had Never been mentioned as a possibility by any medical authority.” I don’t know why. I won’t enter into speculation that the medical profession has ulterior motives. I don’t think that’s true. I just think that their focus is so narrow, and guided by a first this, then that, procedural mentality that they don’t really think very much. They don’t really consider the plight of their patient. Over a year of problems, getting more and more frequent, is important. Perhaps over the counter products and solutions are avoided by them, although an allergist solved problems for me by recommending three OTC products several years ago. I don’t know. My advice to you is to work on your problems by yourself, as well as getting professional help. Answers can come from many places.
I went for over a year with no further problems, taking one probiotic a day. Then I had another episode. In the hospital, a doctor suggested a capsule endoscopy to locate the problem. It sounded like a reasonable idea, so I agreed. The appointment was made. About a week before the procedure, the Gastroenterologist canceled it. He was afraid it might cause a blockage. So, there has been no follow-up medical treatment. Six months later, I’m doing quite well on the probiotic, a bit of prune juice in my morning and dinner juice, hot tea with honey after dinner, fiber, applesauce, and an occasional anti-gas tablet.