Saturday, 20 January 2018

Definitive proof that the NHS can help you lose weight!

The good news is that I've lost 11lb. in just a few days! The bad news is I've done so by adopting the tried and tested "puke your guts up" crash diet. On Wednesday, I had a hospital appointment with a physiotherapist, as part of my CFS clinic programme. It went well - he was kind enough to say that, given my existing daily routine of walks and stretching exercises, I was already half-way there. He made a number of suggestions, showed me some new exercises, and another appointment was arranged for next month. My wife had been kind enough to drive me to the hospital and wait to take me home again (there is literally no way of reaching Hillingdon Hospital by public transport, and finding a parking space in any of its four car parks is virtually impossible). I got into the car feeling quite pleased with myself...but then complained of a sensation of "tightness" in my stomach...

...but as my digestion had been decidedly dicky for a few days, I wasn't particularly worried. Once home, I had a light lunch (against my wife's advice - after all, what does she know?) - and, within 45 minutes, I was lying in bed vomiting frequently into a plastic pail and experiencing the worst acid reflux/heartburn I've ever had in my life. This was disconcerting, because I've never been a big regurgitator (well, not since I was forced to quit drinking over 30 years ago), and, while I've had my share of stomach pain, I very rarely suffer from heartburn, and never anything remotely as searing or as persistent as this spectacular attack. The vomiting continued for 12 hours, until I finally fell asleep/passed out. Thursday started quite well - no nausea, and mild heartburn. I barely ate anything all day - a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a few cups of tea with a dash of milk - but when the hunger pangs got to me around midnight,  I had three cracker-breads with a smear of butter and some anodyne toppings, plus a banana. Because I was being careful, I had milkless green tea instead of builder's, and went to bed. Within ten minutes of lying down, the heartburn started up - I took a Zantac and guzzled some Gaviscon, and, after washing them down with some essence of ginger in water, eventually got to sleep. Only to wake up after a few hours with my stomach acid refluxing like billy-oh.

After that, I decided to follow my wife's advice for once, and stuck to the dietary script - clear beef soup, no butter, no tea of any description after 6pm (believe it or not, I switched to drinking Chicory powder and hot water - very Camp Coffee, and not at all bad).  I got to sleep without any trouble, and woke up acid-free this morning. Hallelujah!

To be fair to my physio, I think this may have been a matter of correlation rather than causation - he didn't "manipulate" me in any way, and he didn't ask me to do anything more strenuous than I do in any case. And I don't think it was an attack of Norovirus (although I could be wrong). One of the defining symptoms of CFS is prolonged stomach trouble - and I've had a lot of that over the past four years: and one of the more amusing aspects of the condition is that when one symptom fades away, another tends to re-emerge or get worse just to even things out and make sure sure one doesn't get too cocky or optimistic. But I suspect I will once and for all have to forsake my lifelong habit of stuffing my face about an hour before retiring for the night - and I'm also going to have to heed the endless, unwelcome advice about not going to bed with a nice hot cup of tea.

Still, I was thinking it might be time to drop a bit of weight - and I certainly don't have to worry about that for a while! Every cloud etc.


  1. DARRIN VENTICINQUE24 January 2018 at 01:48

    What is CFS? It does not sound like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    1. CFS (or, more usually, CFS/ME) really is just an acronym for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The problem is that it's a largely meaningless term for a whole ragbag of unrelated symptoms - if you have any four of them for longer than six months (and one of those is severe tiredness that can't be accounted for by other factors), then it's called CFS (or WDK, which stands for We Don't Know). I agree that a sudden-onset bout of vomiting doesn't sound like a CFS symptom - but, as it didn't behave like the Norovirus (no projectile vomiting or diarrhoea), and as IBS symptoms and food allergies are all part and parcel of CFS/ME, I can't rule it out.

  2. It takes some guts-no pun intended-to chronicle one's illness in all its ghastly details.
    There's a rich vein on the subject running through literature dealing more with mental detioration but fascinating and revealing nevertheless, so much so it's surprising to see only one comment posted here.
    Regarding soup. I've become a bit of a legend in my own lunch time for producing concoctions utilizing the ingredients of the Spice Islands to make vegetable soup or a type of bouillabaisse.
    Add a dash of vinegar and honey-puts hairs on yer chest it does.

  3. Feminists may find my last remark regrettable - apologies.