2 March 2008
I've been suffering from a dicky stomach all week. It all began with what was a third and final pint in the pub to round off the weekend. When you drink Guinness, the prospect of receiving a poor quality pint - inconsistency, poor head, dreg presence - is a going concern, and I got one of these. I drank it nonetheless, because you just do, and spent a very restless night afterwards.
I hate it when my stomach can't figure out what it wants to do, but nevertheless chooses to inform me of its indecision in the middle of the night. There was this immense pain at just after 4am on Monday morning which fired me awake, followed by a very discomforting sloshing which kept me in a state of distress for the next couple of hours. Normally an upset tummy can be sorted by prompting an ejection of the rogue substance through one of the usual methods, but my body did not want to do this, despite the availability of willing orifices. My stomach had been trapped, and the pain was bad.
I got up and took a sachet of Resolve. Its stomach-settling aptitude is good, albeit this was poor ale belly, not hangover belly, and on this occasion it only part-sorted the problem. It seemed to stop the churning without actually getting rid of whatever was going on there, so at least I could sleep.
The next 24 hours were a nightmare. My belly was agony but again, the body didn't want to do the natural thing and get rid from one of the channels available. I tried to sleep it off in the afternoon before work, but couldn't. 'Poorly' food - cereal, soup, fruit - was the order of the day, and it all stayed down, though I'm not sure just how long it took to take its full, natural course. I interviewed, live for an hour, a thoroughly nice chap called Ray Henderson - a 70 year old ex Hull City footballer - while my guts were pleading for an end to the madness and for my body to horizontalise itself.
The worst of the pain was over by the next day, but ever since I've had a steady stream of dyspepsia and heartburn bouts, and almost exactly one week on from the original bad pint, I'm still clutching my chest hoping the hot pain shooting upstairs will relieve itself soon.
We have Rennie chew tablets and Gaviscon cool sucky things in our bathroom cabinet - both of which give the instruction of eating after meals. So, hang on - does this make them merely preventative products then? I don't want to prevent indigestion - it's not something I ever think about when I've just polished off a hearty meal - so I'll take my chances, ta. But on the rare occasions, like this week, that I do get such unpleasantness, I'd like to be able to reach for an over-the-counter product which will cure it. Finding out it's there for preventative reasons is no good to me.
The worst my digestive system has ever been was about a dozen years ago when an undercooked fried egg - the buxom Canadian girl I was seeing at the time admits responsibility - sent my alimentary canal into atomic mode. I wince when I think about the mess I became (and made). I was in the most extraordinary pain, with anything and everything emerging from wherever you care to imagine for days on end. I absolutely hate taking time off work for illness but on this occasion I was completely floored by it. Bathroom floored, to be precise. You know where I'm coming from. Eventually, when I'd managed to tell my body to settle for one single hour, I made it to the doctor's surgery. I was prescribed pills that bunged up my whole system while sending me to sleep at the same time. Man, the effect those tablets had was pure bliss.
Food poisoning is a horrible, horrible business. Mine was a basic bit of bacterial poisoning which got out of my system after about five days of pain and considerable indignity and, although I've had the odd dodgy bowel issue since, there have been no repeats on a similar level, thank the lord.
I can only imagine (and would rather not) the severity of the symptoms and the intestinal agony that goes with more serious cases of poisoning. Given that I've struggled to cope with prolonged bouts of mere indigestion this week, hope for the sake of the Natutral Blonde and the NHS, as well as myself, that I never have to go through the graver end of the gastric ailment roster. If you or someone close to you has, I can't emphasise just how sympathetic I am. I'd even bring you grapes, assuming you could keep them down.