Into the system…

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Tummy Troubles…

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I am still struggling with the tummy troubles. I have been taking the higher dose (120mg TDS) of Alverine Citrate for a few weeks now and I do think it has helped a little, despite the fact I have also increased the Reboxetine to 8mg in that time. I was getting less cramps at least, although I was still having problems with diarrhoea or constipation all the time. My appetite had improved a little, which must suggest things have been a little better.

Unfortunately that slight improvement has been completely negated by the events of last night. A warning – this post definitely scores high on a rating of too much information!

I had been feeling fine and had enjoyed my dinner of roasted ham, mash, kale and carrots. As I was getting ready for bed and just settling down to watch Newsnight, I got a sudden shooting pain in my tummy and next thing I knew I’d had a somewhat messy accident. :S :( I was so shocked and upset, it took me a second to act and jump into the bathroom (which is within a metre of the bed), although by this point it was far too late anyway. The bloke was horrified and just shouted at me, called me disgusting and hid in the back bedroom, whilst I stripped the bed and took a shower. :( I was feeling pretty rough by this point and thought I might be sick as well, but managed to keep that end under control! The bloke eventually realised I wasn’t very well and that he was being unreasonable and he apologised and started to make the bed. I didn’t know what to do with myself. He wasn’t going to let me in the bed after that, so suggested I got the air-bed out! At least that is plastic and cleanable in case of further episodes. I didn’t expect to sleep much anyway, so decided to do this and settled down under the spare duvet on the lounge floor.

I was awake most of the night and felt pretty rough, but managed to survive without any further accidents. I’m still feeling pretty dodgy now, although by now I could just be hungry. I am too scared to eat anything though.

I don’t really know how to say this, but the poo didn’t look good at all. Very dark brown, sticky, runny and lumpy including some undigested carrots. Not nice at all. The fact it happened so suddenly suggests things aren’t very happy in there either. If I could have done anything about it, I would have. There was no warning at all, except for the shooting pain that came with the attack. It literally came out and exploded like the lid off a pop bottle that had been shaken up. bleugh. Sorry. You don’t need to know that.

The bloke wanted me to book an appointment with Dr N, so I am seeing him this afternoon. I am not sure what he can say or do. I have no idea how I am going to tell him without dying of shame. Part of the reason I am writing this, is to practice describing what happened! I am far too British and shy to talk about poo. Even with a doctor. It has been hard enough to tell him of my tummy troubles so far, but this is an extra level of embarrassment.

I wasn’t sure about writing about this here as it is so embarrassing, but it is the latest thing to happen in the whole tummy troubles saga and something so horrible seemed worthy of note. After all, this blog is an account of some of the more grim elements of mental health. Coping with the side effects of medication is a big part of dealing with mental illness, so I may as well be honest about it.

My bloke was very shocked and not very impressed. He wants me to stop taking the Reboxetine if that is what is causing this. He said he doesn’t like living with an 80 year old. I agree. I don’t enjoy feeling like one.

I had been struggling with the increase in dose aside from this. My sleep has deteriorated and I only find I can sleep properly when the dose wears off in the morning, when I should really be getting up and taking the next dose. It takes ages to get to sleep, I am waking up all the time and struggling to get back off to sleep and I am having nightmares and feeling restless. It is exhausting. I was getting palpitations at night too, immediately after the increase, although that seems to have settled down a little after a couple of weeks at the higher dose. I felt really low in the first week or so too, but that also seems to have improved over the last couple of days, so maybe it is starting to have a more positive effect now. That said, I feel crappy today after the night I’ve had!

I am too scared to stop the Reboxetine though. I don’t want to go back to how I was before. I don’t want to end up really depressed and suicidal again. The perpetual low mood and vague depression of late is draining enough, but that constant despairing depression is much, much worse. I don’t know what alternatives there are. Maybe I should just go med-free and sod all the drugs and their stupid side effects. I still wonder if my mood would have resolved itself a lot faster if I hadn’t have started taking bloody medication. Then again, it may have killed me first.

In good news. I got my driving license back!

I now have a 1 year license, so I need to stay sane over the next year or I will lose it again. Apparently, I will get a form 3 months before it expires to request a renewal. They will go through the medical enquiries again and decide if to reissue. No doubt it will take 5 months again to do that, so I will not be able to drive again for a wee while, but I guess we will see how it goes next time. If I get worse or am told by my doctors to stop driving for whatever reason, I have to let them know and presumably I will have to wait months for them to decide again, so I hope that doesn’t happen.

It is great to have my car back. I am looking forward to going places and having my independence again. I think it will make a big difference in helping my recovery. Being able to go where I want and not having to rely on public transport or lifts from the other half is going to be a massive help. I have a lot more choice about what I do with myself and will be tempted to go out more.

I had a drive on Saturday afternoon after I’d insured and taxed it and it didn’t feel too strange to be back at the wheel. The bloke went with me and we made it in one piece. My left arm has remembered where all the gears are and it felt pretty natural, so I am glad I hadn’t forgotten it all.

On Saturday night we went out in my car and got pulled over by the police! I wasn’t driving, the bloke was. It had flashed up on the policeman’s dash that the car was uninsured – obviously the database hadn’t been updated since I had only insured it that morning. I am glad I wasn’t driving or I’d have panicked. I would say I’d have shat myself, (I think I did on Saturday night!), but I’m not sure that’s appropriate now! *blush* At least we can say the police are on the ball! We were off to a beer festival and although my bloke was only going to have a pint as designated driver, we decided not to take the risk of being pulled over again later, so we left the car and got a taxi back. We went back to get it on Sunday morning and I took my first solo drive, driving my car back. I was okay, although I had forgotten which lanes I needed to be in a couple of times, so I made life harder for myself.

Anyway, I need to get ready for my doctors appointment. I haven’t got dressed yet and am just lying on the sofa with a blanket. Walking around makes me feel worse, so the temptation is to lie here all day. I have a meeting to go to this evening though, so will have to get up eventually.

Edit (3pm): Appointment with Dr N was very embarrassing and not too much help. I had been taking senna daily, plus the occasional dose of lactulose to counteract the constipation I was struggling with, but he thinks that won’t help on the maintaining control front, so I should stop that for now. If I don’t take it, I usually end up in pain and bloated from the constipation within a day. He has given me a script for something else to take if that happens, so we shall see how we go.

We talked about coming off the Reboxetine, but he didn’t think that was worth the risk at all. We don’t know if my mood picked up spontaneously or if the Reboxetine helped, but either way, my mood is a lot better and it doesn’t seem wise to mess around with it. I may have to drop the dose to 6mg if the problems persist, but I was struggling enough on that dose, so don’t suppose it makes much difference.

We talked about sleep and he asked if I wanted to try more sedatives, but neither of us really saw the point as they don’t seem to help all that much. He made the suggestion that actually getting back to work and having more brain stimulus may help, which in theory is true, but I never slept that great when I was at work. Even when I have been busy lately, it hasn’t made any difference, so I’m really not convinced by this. If anything if my brain is busy during the day, I really struggle to slow it down at night, especially if I get anxious too.

Mentioning work, I told him about seeing Dr Occy Health again on Thursday. He thinks I should push to agree a planned return to work as having a structure and plan may help give me something to aim for. I think he is right, although I am wary of the risk of too much, too fast. I told him about going in a couple of times and he agreed that was promising, although I also said that my work are very hesitant to let me rush back. They are being very cautious about how much I can do and when I can do it. I actually got told off for doing work-related activities whilst I was there the other day. We will see though.

14 Responses

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  1. I wonder if it’s worth checking that this really is from the medication and it’s not that you happened to get sick anyway? Not too dis-similar things happened to me and it was only when I got sicker that the GP gave me a referral and it turned out to be a different disease (ulcerative colitis, and medication for that makes it OK-ish). Just a thought. You don’t have much to loose by asking and the gastro guys may be able to give you some effective medication, even if it’s just to treat a side-effect of other stuff . . .


    Tuesday, 26th October 2010 at 3:53 pm

    • I did wonder about asking for a referral just in case too, but I’ve had a load of blood tests already and they were all pretty much normal. There doesn’t seem to be any other cause and it has all started since I’ve been on the Reboxetine, so that does make the most sense. I will see how it goes and if no real improvement then I will consider asking again. I feel like such a pain for my GP though as I’ve seen him so many times for this stuff now and he doesn’t really have any answers.

      Thanks x


      Tuesday, 26th October 2010 at 4:57 pm

  2. Oh honey. I’m so sorry. You don’t embarrass me at all, there’s not much about poo that could embarrass me these days. And I’m so, so sorry about your bloke’s reaction. My heart aches for you.

    I’m sorry nothing helpful, just empathy and lots of gentle hugs. For cramps, do you try meditation? Image work? Relaxation techniques for breathing? I was so sceptical about all these things, but the more I practice the better I feel when I have an attack. For me, part of the problem is the loss of control. Feeling so powerless in the face of such pain and indignity. Working hard during an attack to relax and calm both my mind and my breathing, gives me a feeling of control over the nasty tummy. And therefore, the attacks are starting to pass more quickly, most of the time.



    Tuesday, 26th October 2010 at 4:17 pm

    • He has apologised since for his reaction, but I guess his instinct was just to be shocked and disgusted.

      I haven’t really tried meditation or anything and wouldn’t really know where to start, although I breathe pretty well and calmly as a general rule. Too many years of breathing training for playing the flute and singing means that comes naturally. I do find the lack of control scary. It’s partly the fear factor of not being near a loo or of having to spend any social encounter hiding in one.

      Thanks for the hugs. I find I can sympathise with you on this front a lot more now.



      Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 8:11 am


        Here are two articles I found which got me thinking. Especially the first. Imagining light soaring through my stomach muscles. Or warmth. I often imagine a ball of wax slowly melting through my intestines, relaxing them.

        Also during cramps, I rub my stomach from right to left, very low down. This helps the spasms, it can initially cause more pain but eventually gets things moving again.

        Music. I have one particular song that I call my IBS song. Mine is Christian, but if you find a piece of music that you find calming then you could put it on when you feel an attack coming. It gives me something else to focus on, to get my focus off the pain, or any other symptoms.

        Rocking back and forth, rubbing my legs, I look ridiculous, but it’s about rhythm and distraction. I sometimes hum as well.

        Just a few ideas.



        Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 10:48 am

  3. I wrote my own blog post about a sudden outburst of poo. My situation was a little different from yours – I didn’t have to worry about disgusting a partner — but I think you’d like it.

    Alison Cummins

    Tuesday, 26th October 2010 at 6:20 pm

  4. Oh you poor thing. I sympathise with you greatly. Tummy tantrums are hideous, I really do feel for you. I’m sorry there’s nothing more I can do or say that would make it better.

    May I share with you a pun? When referring me to a gastroenterologist, my GP emphasised the importance of “going through the motions” by having various tests. For me the appointment was quite embarrassing, at least the pun gave us both a giggle.


    Tuesday, 26th October 2010 at 9:46 pm

    • Thanks hun. I have to admit I thought of you when it happened. I know you have woken up after similar disasters, which must be even more horrifying. At least I could rectify (ahem, puns galore) the problem straight away.

      Bless your GP. It is very embarrassing. He was pretty sympathetic, serious and very efficient about it, which was weird really as we are normally pretty lighthearted in our appointments. He seemed unusually stressed and rushed though so that might have been it.


      Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 8:19 am

  5. Dark brown and sticky – there was blood in it. You really should have a referral, it sounds as though you may have one of several possible unpleasant and painful ulcerative conditions. Blood tests aren’t enough, you really do need endoscopy (passing a tube with a mini tv camera into your gut). It doesn’t sound like the big C, although you should get that ruled out. I feel for your embarrassment but your long-term health is far more important.

    I’m not impressed by your bloke. Stop reboxetine because possible side-effects are unpleasant for him? Calling you an 80 year-old? Shouting at somebody who is obviously ill? Making the bed for himself while telling you in the state you were in to get out the air bed for yourself? How old is he? 12? You need tender, loving care and lots of it not callow selfishness.

    Get well soon! M ;)

    Bristol Michael

    Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 4:52 pm

    • I’m sorry but I agree with everything that Bristol Michael has said.

      Re. your bloke, you know best. I just want you to be nurtured the way you deserve to be.

      Re. tummy troubles, get the tests done, honey, at least to rule anything else out. I had to do it. It became clear that it was simply IBS, but I had to get the tests out of the way first.



      Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 9:50 pm

      • Thanks both of you.

        The bloke always makes silly mean comments, without really meaning them, so calling me an 80 year old was not really a serious thing. I wasn’t very impressed with the shouting and grumping, but he did apologise.

        Re: the blood question – I did wonder about blood too, but I couldn’t be sure and I didn’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. He did ask and I just said I didn’t know and that it was dark and lumpy. I am pathetic and don’t like talking about how my poo looks, so I moved the conversation on as quick as I could.

        I am almost worried he thinks I’m making it all up. I almost worry that I am! I have had so many ailments over the past year, it has got ridiculous and I wonder if they are all psychological. I worry that he thinks they are.

        My mum would always discourage us from making a fuss out of being ill. We had to be practically dead before we saw a doctor. A good example is the time I had tonsillitis when I was about 16. I was sure I did, but she ignored my pleas, said it was just a sore throat and made me go to school. I felt awful and was sent to the nurse, who was angry and booked me an appointment with my GP and sent me home.

        I am going to see how I go over the next week or so and then I will go back. I may have to resort to writing something down – I haven’t done that with him for a very long time as I have got used to talking to him and our relationship is pretty good. I can tell him anything about my mental health these days, but I still struggle with the physical.



        Thursday, 28th October 2010 at 9:11 am

        • Thank you, Mother dear. You moved the conversation on. Ok, you really should move it back next time you go. If it takes writing it down then that’s what you need to do. No, you’re not imagining it. Even if some of it turned out to psychogenic, so what? It’s still real.

          M ;)

          Bristol Michael

          Thursday, 28th October 2010 at 9:23 am

  6. Oh hun you are having a hard time of it! As for the other half, my guess is he acted like most men would, run a mile! Well done for being honest with Dr N, embarrassing conditions are always the hardest to deal with at our GP’s even more so when you like your GP.

    I wish I could suggest something for the sleep, but my guess is you will have tried everything normal such as herbal teas etc… there is just nothing worse than not getting to sleep at night.

    Ms Leftie

    Monday, 1st November 2010 at 1:01 pm

  7. […] send some big love to intothesystem who has been having tummy troubles… I had been feeling fine and had enjoyed my dinner of roasted ham, mash, kale and carrots. As I was […]

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