Those who know me know that I like a drink and that what I like better than a drink is a few drinks. So having a few at the staff party is not unusual for me but having problems getting myself home, is. Therefore, I was very pleased with myself this year when I managed to not only leave the venue before the party ended but also managed to order myself an Uber and get myself home.
Imagine my disappointment then, when only moments after successfully getting myself to bed, I staggered to the bathroom and vomited a red wine hue of liquid barf all over the joint. Never mind, I told myself whilst on hands and knees, at my wife’s orders, wiping the residue off all of the surfaces, including the toothbrushes. I’m getting old, I must remember not to overdo it with the red wine next time.
The next time came the following week at a stag weekend in Rio de Janeiro where I carefully avoided the red wine and, despite accidentally drinking quite a lot of tequila, I survived the weekend and felt okay.
Three weeks later was my birthday. Okay, so I had consumed drinks in between, but I hadn’t overdone it. I went to a craft ale bar where I drank quite a bit of strong IPA and washed that down with a veggie burger and a soggy piece of pork crackling. I know, I only have myself to blame, but hadn’t set any personal bests or broken any Olympic or world records.
That night, I had to get up four times to allow the contents of my stomach to eject itself the way it had come in. For the next four days, (look away if you’re squeamish), how shall I say this? The consistency of my stool was liquid, it was like weeing out of my bum.
After four days of that, I’d had enough but I had promised to visit the in-laws who live at the beach where the healthcare is of the public rather than the private kind and anyone who can afford it usually opts to pay for private medical care for reasons which became immediately apparent as soon as I entered the public health centre.
The walls sported hand wash dispensers in various states of disrepair but none of them actually contained any hand wash. The clinic was essentially an accident and emergency unit, but anyone requiring admission to hospital would need to be driven 114 km (71 miles) to Sao Paulo. In my experience, the doctors in the public hospitals look as if they have either come out of retirement to fill a shortage or they are much younger but have taken more drugs than they prescribed.
After my five hours in the clinic I had been given a couple of medicines intravenously, had a blood test and been told that it was probably just a virus, to take some medicine at home and not to worry about it.
Four days later and the pain that had started the day after the clinic, felt like it was travelling around my side, so I went to another accident and emergency department, this time at a private hospital in Sao Paulo. Within a couple of hours I had used several fully functional hand wash dispensers, given blood and urine, had a ct scan and the doctor told me that there was nothing unusual in the results and that it was probably just my fatty liver and that I should drink less, lose weight and exercise – tell me something i don’t know.
Fine, I thought and set to work improving my diet but, despite my efforts and my continued abstinence, not only did i not lose weight but the pain did not go away. I began to consider what other causes there might be and realised that, the day before the staff party, my cardiologist had prescribed a third tablet for my cholesterol to add to the other two I was already taking. I jumped on Dr Google and red that the tablets should not be taken with large amounts of alcohol and can cause liver damage. I stopped taking the tablets to see if anything improved but the pain continued.
I had been drinking large amounts of milk to try and ease the acid and the thought occurred to me that I might have developed a lactose intolerance. Immediately, I cut dairy out of my diet but, although the pain cut worse when I forgot my diet and accidentally ate cheese, on the whole nothing changed.
Now, I usually do all my medical appointments during the school holidays but, with half term still three weeks away, I couldn’t wait and made an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I went with strict instructions from my wife to ask for a colonoscopy and an endoscopy and, although I did mention her desire for him to insert tubes in my orifices, he settled for an ultrasound and blood tests. He suspected worms and prescribed Nitazoxanide which, according to wikipedia, is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic and broad-spectrum antiviral drug that is used in medicine for the treatment of various helminthic, protozoal, and viral infections. Ironically, one of the side effects is stomach pain. It turned my wee a funny colour but, apart from that, I can’t see I’ve noticed much difference except that the pain is more in my stomach than the side.
I have my return appointment on Monday, so I’ll give you an update after then.