Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yes, I AM full of shit!!

During all my travels over the last two and a bit years there have been a number of times when I have written about some of the perils and unusual instances that have occurred whilst circumnavigating the earth. There have been, on occasion, stories that I have felt were funny, unusual or just important to share. Of course there have been many times when I have not written about what has happened – sometimes there is just no way I can tell you what has happened – some secrets will remain so for ever. I have written about drunken antics, arguments and fights, embarrassing situations and unusual happenings. So today I find myself at a crossroads – Should I tell you about the most recent strange and embarrassing episode or keep schtum, tell no one and just brush it under the carpet?   

Well, this latest story is about me and no one else. It has been a new experience for me and one that I personally think is relevant to travelling – especially the road trip I have been on for the last few weeks, so I AM going to write about it – but for those of yo who may be squeamish I will warn you that you may not want to read on – especially if you are eating or drinking right now. It may well make you slightly nauseous.

This is your last warning – I make no apologies if you read on from here. This is a personal and embarrassing account as to why I visited a doctor over the weekend. You have been warned.........


During the recent road trip, myself and Dan, for the first 2 weeks, spent about 6-8 hours a day in the car. This 2000+ mile journey culminated when we met up with Max, our old mate from Holland, in Clarksville. If you read the blog you will recall that we had a good night out with Max on October 3rd – nearly 3 weeks ago – this is the night my problems started. I didn’t write about the problems in the blog itself at the time as I didn’t think they were relevant or interesting. But now I have had a change of opinion as the final outcome seems to have been caused by the travelling and after all the travelling is what this blog is all about. What happened to me is something that may happen to other travellers on similar journeys and so I will tell you the details, in the hope that it may help someone else with the same symptoms – plus you can read it and laugh at me!!

The night the problems started we went out for a meal and a few drinks – I remember having a nice pasta dish, in American sized portions. I didn’t finish the meal, but we had a few drinks and Max and Dan will remember me telling them how I felt more bloated than I ever had. I felt huge, with stomach aches and lots of ‘gas’. This isn’t that unusual for me after a big meal, due to the fact I don’t eat very much. The feeling was relieved on a visit to Max’s downstairs toilet during the night and again the next morning, but not fully relieved. The next day and for the next week or so the stomach aches continued. However, I thought it was just something I ate and expected the feeling to go once I had ‘gone’.....they didn’t.

Over the last two weeks of the road trip, I felt more and more uncomfort in my abdomen- Firstly at the top of my stomach and then to the left and right sides. They continued to get worse, meaning I was eating less, drinking a lot more juice as it seemed to relieve the aches. Every couple of days I was relieved to have a good visit to the bathroom, with plenty of time to read a book or surf the internet whilst my bowels did their magic. However, a few hours later the aches and pains would return. I surfed the internet to see what could be wrong and came up with too many ideas to sort through – but the basic assumption was to refrain from spicy food, meat and the likes and try to eat a lot of ‘pro-biotic’ yoghurt and easily digestible stuff.  This did seem to ease the pain a little but didn’t get rid of it. O even messaged Nicki, my Doctor friend who looked after me when I was in hospital in Thailand and followed her advice.

On return to Winnipeg I gave it a couple of days and then on Saturday, with help from Buffy, we went to the local Health Centre, where I wanted to see how much it would cost to see a Doctor. However, once we went in we were added to the system and joined a very long queue.
In a completely unneccessary hospital gown

About two hours after entering the centre, we saw a male nurse who told me to get into a backless hospital gown and lie on a bed. Did I really need to wear a gown? Anyway, he poked me a bit told me there was a lot of movement in my abdomen (An alien? A school softball team? A gerbil on a wheel?) and then sent me through the hospital wearing a gown and crap housecoat to the 4th floor where I had blood tests taken and then returned to the small bed awaiting a doctor.  

The Doctor eventually turned up telling me my blood tests were good, so I needed an X ray. This took another hour and when we returned to the waiting area we ended up sat next to a drug addict who was asleep across a seat and a woman behind a curtain who when asked if she was on any medication replied ‘ I smoked a bit of pot’. (Everybody lies)
Instructions where to go for tests - Does that say end of HELL!!?!?

Eventually after another hours wait the Doctor came over and I followed him to computer where he showed my X-ray. It was a little scary as all over the abdomen area were large and small black shadows. It looked, weird and strange. The Doctor pointed to them and said ‘These are your problem, have you been sitting down a lot lately? You are all blocked up’. 

An X ray similar to mine...... you can guess what the dark spots are!!

Yep, the problem was a simple one – The four weeks of sitting down while driving coupled with s poor diet at the same time had given me severe constipation. It almost made me feel ill thinking about the extra weight I have been carrying about which made me bloated and gave me the aches. It was a simple fix – a couple of laxatives before bed and a couple of hours the next morning, dropping the kids and all their little friends off at the pool meant I was a lot more comfortable for the first time in weeks. I would never have thought of taking laxatives due to the diarrhoea I had been experiencing every couple of days. But it worked like a wonder.

So there you go. That’s how something as simple as sitting down for a couple of weeks can cause you hassle. My advice to you would be to keep active and eat more healthy food when you travel.


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