In praise of GI cocktails

Had a very, very bad day yesterday. Apparently, the monsters that had invaded my GI system were lying in wait, lulling me into a false sense of complacency. Okay, I probably shouldn’t have had the cold pizza and the orange soda for breakfast, but it’s not like I haven’t done stuff like that before with no ill effects. Felt like a herd of camels was standing on my stomach while a tiny demon with razor-edged claws tried to tear its way out of my stomach lining. This happens to me occasionally. It’s rare, and usually I can head it off with a determined application of antacids early on–it’s like a migraine of the stomach–but this time I couldn’t or I acted too slowly. I’m cursed by really crappy gastro-intestinal genes. Both my parents have the most appallingly delicate stomachs. My mother gets motion sick if she looks at a boat–I’m not exaggerating–and my father is prone to ulcers. Anyway, the last time this happened (many years ago) I ended up in the ER after an ambulance ride. It’s the kind of pain that leaves you writhing on the bed, twisting and contorting from pain, when you wish someone would slug you, hard, in the head, so you could pass out.

Had my follow-up with my “behavioral health” doctor and almost canceled since I was in so much pain, but I figured, he’s an MD after all, he can prescribe something, right? Last time, all I needed was a GI cocktail. I got Matthew to drive me in, since I didn’t think I could manage it. My poor hubby was distraught, didn’t know what to do but hated seeing me in so much pain. Let me just say again, that I am really unimpressed by my psychiatrist. He was unable to prescribe me anything, as he wasn’t that sort of doctor. He suggested I go to the ER or the Adult Medicine department on the floor above, which is what I did. But exactly what sort of medical degree does he have that he couldn’t prescribe me or ask a nurse to mix me up a bit of Lidocaine and Donnatal in a Mylanta infusion?

The Adult Medicine receptionist was a bit confused as to what to do with a walk-in since I didn’t have an appointment. She kept trying to tell me that “you can’t see a doctor because you didn’t schedule an appointment” and I told her, “yes, I know I don’t have an appointment, but I was here for a follow-up appointment and I just want to see a nurse or physician’s assistant who can give me something for the pain since my alternative is to go to the ER. I’m here now, and in a LOT of pain.” This dialogue was repeated several times (while I’m barely able to keep myself from doubling over in pain) until finally she stuck me into the waiting queue. An agonizing time later, I got to see a triage nurse who tched at my breakfast choice and checked my vitals before finally getting me the GI cocktail I needed. Nice take-away-my-pain woman. Nice. *pets*

I fell into blessed sleep once the cocktail took effect. My ordeal left me shaky, stomach-wise. Had a bowl of plain, white rice for dinner, and then a bit of pasta several hours later when I started feeling hungry. My insides are making gurgling noises now, but it’s so much better than the alternative.

For my own future reference, a GI cocktail consists of:

10 ml of Viscous Lidocaine
10 ml of Donnatal
30 ml of Maalox/Mylanta

I wonder if I would have been able to get faster treatment if I’d been able to ask specifically for it. When I was talking to my psychiatrist, I wanted to tell him “I just need this, dammit” but it had been so long since I’d been in the ER, I couldn’t remember what they’d given me, although I knew it was pretty straightforward. Now I’ll have the recipe. Wish I could get Lidocaine and Donnatal OTC so I could quell the pain as fast as possible next time.


Writing Stuff

I’m excusing myself from Club 100 yesterday. Gut-twisting agony is not a good writing productivity aid.

I did, however, sign up to be a mentor for Absynthe Muse because I want to do some paying-it-forward, and I wish I would’ve had a writing mentor when I was younger. I might have stuck with it then if I’d had an experienced pro to encourage and steer my craft, and walk me through the process of marketing.

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42 Responses to In praise of GI cocktails

  1. lousy_timing says:

    Have you ever considered seeing a GI doctor just for an evaluation? If you did that, you might just be able to call them when this happens and get the cocktail called in without a visit.

    Not certain which rheumatological ailment you have, but I know some come with recurrent stomach problems that even eating right won’t always stave off. I know for myself, eating right can be a problem if my stomach is bothering me. I’ll only eat what sounds good, regardless of how good for me it is.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Have you ever considered seeing a GI doctor just for an evaluation?

      Y’know, that hadn’t occurred to me. Dang. It really should have.

      Not certain which rheumatological ailment you have, but I know some come with recurrent stomach problems that even eating right won’t always stave off

      I’ve got Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) with Lupus as the lead-in. I definitely need to bring this up with my rheumatologist the next time I see him. Ow.

      • lousy_timing says:

        One of the offices I slavedworked for was a rheumatology practice. A couple of the doctors were really great guys, and they taught me a lot.

        The GI things I learned because of my trip to the hospital for ulcerative colitis last year. 🙂 There are some stinky brown pills they can give you that will sometimes help before the pain gets so bad that you’re unable to eat well, as well as one particular anti-anxiety medication that helps with nausea. I keep thinking it’s clonazepam, but I’m not certain about that.

        Which brings me around to the PDoc: not that kind of doctor? Well, not by practice, certainly, but they went through the training. Given how well stomach ailments respond to similar medications and your duress, you’d think they would have helped you. Sheesh.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Hmm. I’ve got a bottle of Clonazepam in my medicine cabinet that’s been gathering dust since I got my Tramadol prescription. Maybe I won’t throw it out after all.

          Which brings me around to the PDoc: not that kind of doctor? Well, not by practice, certainly, but they went through the training. Given how well stomach ailments respond to similar medications and your duress, you’d think they would have helped you.

          No kidding! Seriously, I thought getting those letters, “MD,” after their names meant they could do basic diagnosis and treatment. I didn’t have anything that required specialist treatment. A GI cocktail is pretty standard ER fare. I was very disappointed at how very useless my psychiatrist was at alleviating my pain. So far, the shrink department has been terribly unimpressive. If I can diagnose and treat myself better than they can, why on earth are they getting the big bucks? Feh.

          • lousy_timing says:

            The good ones will. Just like with anything else, you’re not guaranteed to get the right place for you the first time out. Smart consumers almost never do.

            You know your mind and body well. If things don’t improve, see what/who else you can find.

          • Eugie Foster says:

            Unfortunately, my options are limited as my health care is provided by an HMO and I can only see their pool of psychiatrists. But pretty much I just need someone who can prescribe and monitor my Prozac levels so I’m not banging my head about that. But I really did expect someone with a medical degree to be able to help my pain. Grumf.

            But, on the positive side, this doesn’t happen very often. Next time I’ll be more zealous with my early-stage antacid application, and if it gets bad enough to require a trip to the ER/doctor’s office, I’ll know exactly what I should ask for. I’ve found with all HMOs that if you know what you need and request it, you get good, fast service. Incentive to take an active interest in one’s health care strategy, I guess . . .

          • lousy_timing says:

            🙁 HMOs aren’t all bad, but from a biller’s/manager’s standpoint, I wish you had the option of having a POS or PPO right now. You, of course, probably do as well.

            For anyone managing a chronic illness, they provide the most options and best overall affordability if you’re given a choice. The premiums on an HMO look lower, etc, but in the long run, because HMOs limit so many tests and do the same with the prescription formularies, along with limiting access to the number of specialists you can see, they’re best for people who rarely need healthcare. (Sorry about that. So ends my PSA for the day.)

          • Eugie Foster says:

            I know, I know.

            Actually, this HMO has been very good for us. Matthew had to have major back surgery a couple years ago and they covered the whole thing, and the surgery was done by a non-HMO specialist doctor who was really, really good.

            Now, of course, as long as I’m on COBRA, I’m stuck with what I’ve got. Although I’m still reasonably happy with my HMO. The specialists affiliated with it are usually quite good. Obviously not so much in the psychiatry department, although in retrospect I might hold mental health professionals to a more stringent standard than their colleagues, what with my psychology background and all.

          • lousy_timing says:

            I’m glad you have a good HMO. It doesn’t hurt that you have the background that you do, or that you know what to say. When I saw, ‘The Incredibles’, I identified with Mr. Incredible. I was always telling patients the secret code words to getting what they wanted from their HMOs. 🙂

            It’s too bad that everyone doesn’t have a psychology background; it might help. Standards are good things.

  2. puskunk says:

    Ow, damn. I’ve had that happen to me once that I can remember, debilitating pain. Glad you got it cleared up.

  3. terracinque says:

    Dear, it was hard reading this post.

    But one good thing about a really bad day is, chances are the next dwy will be better.

  4. Anonymous says:

    From Dreamwind the Critter


    I think I’ve mentioned that I suffer from Crohn’s Disease, so I know about mad trips to ER to get medication. (Dreamwind pauses to stroke feng shui rabbit next to computer) I haven’t had a major attack for several years, but I can wholly sympathise. I back up Jinzi’s suggestion to get a specialist have a look at you. I had a bad gut for years before I was properly diagnosed. There may be some dietary/medication recommendations he can give you. I control my Crohn’s with diet and medication, and my specialist and I are hopeful that within a year I can stop with the medication. The powers of good eatin’! (No grits.)

    And I agree completely that you should be excused from Club 100. Trying to do ANYTHING while your guts are being twisted is impossible. Other than screaming, of course.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: From Dreamwind the Critter

      Yeah, I think I definitely need to see about scheduling an appointment with a GI specialist. I’ve been having a decided increase in GI upset of late, and I can think of no worse suffering than GI pain and/or nausea. I’d rather be hit with a hammer than go through that again.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: GI pain

        On the positive side, it can be very good for weightloss…

        or is that really disgusting and nasty?

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Re: GI pain

          Hee! Talk about hunting for a silver lining! I’d think being overweight would be preferable to going through that sort of suffering, but then I know some people who actually might think otherwise. Our society’s values produce some scary priorities.

  5. safirasilv says:

    As a fellow member of the Mysterious GI Pain Club, I offer my sympathies.

  6. Ouch! My ex had a variant of Crohn’s disease, so I know the kind of agony it can bring. My sympathies, and do take a day off to recuperate. When you’re better, maybe try out a gluten-free diet for a week or so, to see how you do.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Glutan can trigger GI distress? Oof. I didn’t know that. So the veggie-dog I just had for breakfast might have been a very bad idea. Crap.

      • Only if you’re allergic to gluten. Just try it out and see how you feel. If you don’t feel any differently off gluten, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

        • keesa_renee says:

          I have an uncle who’s allergic to gluten; for a while, Mom and Boo (my sister) cooked for him. So, if you’re looking for tasty and sometimes interesting ideas about cooking without gluten…we’ve got them.

  7. cricketshay says:

    *hugs* Feel better soon. I have problems with IBS and sometimes my intestines do freaky things. And yeah it’s very painful. Doctors can be so stupid sometimes.

  8. 1) I’m really sorry you had all that pain, but it seems there’s a lot of excellent advice going around, so I’ll refrain from advising any home remedies.

    2)I did, however, sign up to be a mentor for Absynthe Muse because I want to do some paying-it-forward, and I wish I would’ve had a writing mentor when I was younger.

    This was enough to get me to sign up on the website. ^_^

    I hope you feel better Eugie.


  9. dude_the says:

    Poor Eugie 🙁

    I wonder if the “not that kind of doctor” was an insurance thing. He’s only listed as a psychiatrist, so his malpractice or your HMO won’t cover if he prescribes anything beyond his speciality. *shrug* Or, perhaps I’ve just been working for an insurance company for too long. 😉

    Much sympathies for your GI distress. 🙁 Someone really needs to give the designer of the whole GI system a stern talking to. And perhaps a firm shaking. Yup. A firm deital shaking is definitely in order.

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