July 17, 2023

squatty what? when did I turn 80? and I'll take my records minus the aggression

Here we are at my gut issue update. I challenge you to find a more exciting read. 

Remember how new-GI-lady diagnosed me with SIBO in late April? I scheduled a follow-up for early June. They later called to reschedule, because the doc couldn't make it. The new date they gave me while I was driving and couldn't peek at my calendar ended up not working for me. I called to reschedule the reschedule, and guess what date they gave me?

Nothing. As in- there is not a single date for me to get in to see this doctor. Ever. What?

So, I zoomed at the end of May with a PA from her office. I told her that my symptoms got a little better, but after a few weeks I started having the same waking with pain in my side. I associate that with SIBO, but to be honest - who really knows? Since I haven't seen my doc - how can I be sure if that was caused by SIBO?

I have no photos for this post . . .
she says, as everyone
 breathes a sigh of relief. This is Curly and Reg
 counting out her money. She admitted that she
 never made a deposit last summer. WHAT?
 Between last summer and so far this summer,
 she had $5,000. Just sitting up in
 her room jammed into a tiny little money box.
I was instructed to do a colon cleanse. Nothing says embrace summer than a colon cleanse. Then she suggested I drink a glass of Miralax along with Citrucel pills daily for a few months. Then check back.  

Full 'SILLY-ME' disclosure:  She listed like 6 various options for the pills to take with Miralax, such as Metamucil, colon-blow-this and colon-blow-that. I was a little preoccupied when I prepared to go to the store and I bought EVERY.THING.ON.THE.LIST. As I filled my cart, a commercial came on the radio in the drug store for one of the colon-blow products I was searching for. I looked around, assuming I was on some sort of hidden camera show. Nope. Just life being all real and ironic and stuff. 

Fortunately, when I was about to start the THIS IS WHAT YOU DO AFTER THE COLON CLEANSE regiment, I experienced a moment of clarity and I thought - surely she isn't expecting me to take ALL OF THESE BRING-ON-THE-COLON-BLOW products. 

I emailed her, not revealing that I'd almost ingested enough fiber supplement to  blow up a rhino's entrails. 


PA:  Yes, ONE. 

Why, then, did she not break up the fiber supplement product list with a simple 'or' between every item? Praise the lord that I woke up from autopilot mode and didn't rupture any of my parts. 

Everything was feeling fine, but a few weeks later the pain in my side started up again. The waking in pain crept back as if to say - CAN'T FOOL ME. YOU CAN'T TAKE ENOUGH FIBER TO KEEP THINGS MOVING. Or CAN I?  Enter directions to take Miralax twice a day per another email from the PA. 

She believes I have a 'slow process'. 

(below is an email she sent me. content warning: GROSSNESS IN THE FORM OF BODILY FUNCTIONS DISCUSSED.)

I suspect you might have what we call dyssynergic defecation. . . . pelvic floor muscles do not coordinate appropriately to pass a bowel movement. What ends up happening is that you do not empty your bowels completely every time you go. Over time, this can result in stool back up and ultimately abdominal pain. Miralax will help keep your stools soft, but it won't help you completely empty.

We can test for dyssynergic defecation with rectal manometry. This procedure is on hold at the moment, but I am hopeful that we will offer this testing again soon. In the mean time, the squatty potty (Which improves positioning) can help you better empty your bowels when you go.

Well, I, too, am hopeful that this procedure comes back soon too. NOT. What on earth? 

Did I miss my own 80th birthday party or something? This cannot be happening. 

And Hello - a squatty potty? Do what, now? I responded to say something along the lines of:  I DO NOT HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME GOING. I HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME WHEN 'THINGS' REACH ONE SPOT IN MY LEFT SIDE. EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HALT THERE.

This is me waiting for my
 annual OBGYN exam.
 I remained calm despite the
fact that construction signage
 for the exit caused me to miss my exit. 
 Instead of being 5 minutes early,
I was 15 minutes late.
 I was like What can I do?
This was shortly after
 I was maxed out on Miralax, and I wasn't
 quite sure how that would play out, if you
 know what I mean.
All was fine, thankfully.

Look at me - I'm now embracing my 80's and overdosing on Miralax. 

Backing up the bus:

In February I called my former GI office, the one with the doctor who missed the fact that I had SIBO even though I'd landed in the ER, lost weight, and had been seeing him about pain in my side for over 5 years . . . yeah, that guy. I requested my records from his office, explaining to the business office woman that I'd lost a lot of weight and my GP wanted me to get another opinion. The woman on the phone could NOT have been more disgruntled and hostile. Second opinions are a thing, by golly. 

Business office lady:  WELL, YOU HAVEN' T BEEN IN FOR A COLONOSCOPY SINCE 2018 (or maybe 19?).  * nevermind the fact that I'd been in multiple times because of the pain in my side and he would just shrug and assume I'd eaten something with gluten. WRONG. 

I still have to call Ms. Bossy Pants back to let her know that her GUY-GI missed SIBO. Please raise your hand if you'd like me to record that call and share it here. I  can almost guarantee that it'll include something along the lines of:  


Oh, I almost forgot. My upper lip went numb for about 3 weeks - like novicaine numb. The feeling is almost 100% back. I spent an $80 copay at my dermatologist to see if it was due to sun exposure. It's a relief that it isn't precancer. It doesn't look like anything. She had no explanation. 

Guess what can cause perioral numbness . . . SIBO. Guess how I know that? NOT from a follow-up with my doc - from Dr. Google. Guess who had the same upper lip numbness last summer? Yep. (remember I believe I've had SIBO for years) I don't think this damn SIBO-bitch has gone away. 

Guess what else I learned from Dr. Google? SIBO can cause mental confusion. This explains why I forgot to celebrate my 80th bday 28 years in advance.

What doctor have you seen that cannot get you back in for a follow up? Ever have anyone make you feel like dirt because you request your records to be sent somewhere else? Anyone else pay an $80 copay? I know I sound old, but it wasn't that long ago that it was $20. I can't help but wonder if my Mom has undiagnosed celiac and with it SIBO. She is rail thin and of course, confused - diagnosed with Alzheimer's.


Bijoux said...

I have never heard of a doctor’s office saying there are no appointments. Though some will not schedule more than six months out, so maybe that was the situation? I’ve always had very positive feedback when requesting records or saying I’m getting a second opinion.

Science is discovering that so much of our health has to do with out gut microbiome. I sure hope you get some answers and relief. The frustrating thing is that MD’s and nutritionists are not up to date on what we should be eating to support our microbiome.

Nance said...

I feel you. I am so incredibly tired of dealing with medical bullshit. Not only do I schedule my own, but I deal with all of my mother's, too. Doctors are so overloaded with patients--at least here in Ohio--and their staff are such rigid gatekeepers. I swear they forget that the clientele are healthcare patients WHO NEED HELP.

We left a doctor's practice because of his staff. Best move we ever made.

Busy Bee Suz said...

No appointments? There must be something going on with the Dr in her personal life, or the Doctors' Group is trying to move her out?
I do wonder if your Mom might have the same thing..damn!
Girl, you have been through it with your health! Just when you thought you had it figured out, BAM stuff switches up.
I'm so glad you didn't take ALL THE CLEAN OUT YOUR COLOR MEDS at once. I mean, plumbing can be sensitive...yours and the houses.
Crazy about the numb lip too; thanks Dr. Google.

I pray things come together and you get some real relief soon. XOXO

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

The GI just didn't have ANY appointments?!?! That's so wild! My husband sometimes is scheduling a few months out, but he always has appointments to offer! What on earth?!

This made me crack up: "Nothing says embrace summer than a colon cleanse." But I am sorry that you are still dealing with this nonsense.

I have heard that pelvic floor rehabilitation can work WONDERS for all sorts of issues. Plus, it would make for some truly excellent blog fodder.

Ally Bean said...

Am laughing about you turning 80 years old. You seem much younger.

I've been told there were no appointments available for months out but never no appointments at all. I wouldn't take it personally, but what a bother for you. I know that many of my gut issues have been the result of artificial chemicals that are in just about everything processed out there. Cooking and baking from scratch has helped, but it is time consuming.

Kari said...

I am having the opposite of a colon blow. I just took my Miralax and will be taking my Metamucil. Here's to being in our 50s...

But seriously, I hope you get relief soon. 😘

Ernie said...

Bijoux - It is so crazy to me that they can't find an appointment for me like EVER. I understand that they don't schedule more than 6 months out, but they aren't even saying that. The woman getting so defensive with me when I requested my records was mind blowing. I'm sure I'm not the first to make that request. Given how clueless this doc has been for me, I wonder if many other people are making similar requests.

Interestingly, I spoke with another mom at Curly's b-ball tournament in Indianapolis for hours a few weeks ago and she was full of info, like what podcast she listens to and what we should be eating. I think she said something along the same lines. Our microbiome is the root of so much.

Ernie said...

Nance - I am worn out and I only have this one medical issue and it certainly isn't serious, but it would be nice to know what in the Sam Hill is happening. I am glad to be done with the former GI, but I'd also like to be able to rely on the better doctor. I'd like to have a conversation with her and not just her staff.

I'm sorry you are dealing with the difficulty of overloaded doctors and snippy staff. No fun.

Pat Birnie said...

Oh Ernie what an ordeal. I also have never heard of a doc having zero appts. I do hope you get some answers soon.

Ernie said...

Suz - I really believe that this doctor is so busy because she is outstanding. I have been to two docs in the burbs and neither could tests for SIBO. Neither ever mentioned it. I have called a few times and asked to be put on a waiting list. No waiting list. Nothing. So frustrating.

I do feel better, but I still have questions. And I suspect I don't have many issues because nothing is really staying in my pipes . . . for long. Thank you, moving products like Miralax.

I do wonder if there is a different explanation for my mom's health. Tough to figure out given that she didn't go to a doctor for several decades.

The numb lip - what on earth was THAT? I suppose I could start to read into every little thing and relate it to SIBO, but that's what happens when I only have Google to rely on. So silly.

Can you even imagine what would have gone on if I'd taken ALL OF THE PRODUCTS AVAILABLE? Silly DISTRACTED me.

Thank you. I'm sure I'll get to the bottom of this eventually.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - The no appointments EVER - which maybe that could mean six months, but it isn't like they are giving me a date when her next appointment will open up, well - it's just so mind blowing.

Pelvic floor stuff - a whole new world. I can hardly believe that is gonna be my next big adventure. Blog fodder, well. . . that might put my readers to the test.

It was a beautiful sunny day at the start of summer . . . and here I was, NOT going outside. ;)

Ernie said...

Ally - I was at Uncle Marty's recently and one of the kids pointed to his bottle of Miralax and compared it to my bottle at home of the same. Well, yup. That's where I'm at now, so I suddenly feel like a much older version of myself.

I don't take it personally that there are no appointments for me, but it sure is frustrating. After waiting 5 years to find a doc who knows what she's talking about - and then not be able to get to see her? Well, that's just rotten.

You aren't the first person to point out that gut issues are related to so many other things and that it might all circle back to what we eat. I've noticed, for instance, that I cannot eat those veggie straw things. They are tasty and they have no gluten - but dang, they do something to my insides.

Ernie said...

Kari - Ha. Yes, welcome to our 50s indeed.

Ernie said...

Pat - It is a new twist of events. Just when I thought things were going to become as plain as the nose on my face. More to riddle over. Sigh.

Beth Cotell said...

While I am very glad you did not take every single colon blow out product you purchased, that would have made for one hell of a blog post!!!!!!

I really wish they could get this figured out for you. Have you ever considered visiting a holistic medicine practitioner? I have never done this myself but have a couple of friends who did and were AMAZED at the healing they experienced after years of nothing from regular MDs.

joymariecooks said...

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is amazing. Seriously. And even if it doesn't do anything for your gi problem, you've had six kids. I was highly embarrassed to go after baby 2, but was so glad I did. It's way more common in Canada than in the US for some reason. I hope you get answers soon!

Ernie said...

Beth - I can only imagine the OH SHIT moment I would've had, quite literally, if I'd gone ahead and taken everything on the market for making things move. Sheesh. Yes, one hell of a blog post . . . if I lived that long.

I have not considered holistic yet. I'd like to at least talk to this doctor once before I jump ship and go in a different direction. I've thought Mayo Clinic, but I'm really not SICK - like I am fine. . . just uncomfortable at times and it does mess with my sleep and my weight and I guess my lip? Ugh.

Ernie said...

joymarie - I will be honest, I have not even googled the test she said they hope to bring back. I don't ever have trouble with my bladder, only when I was pregnant and then only a few times did a few drops of pee leak - so if that is part of the deal, I think I'm fine. I just want to scream. She thinks I don't empty but I think I do. I just think stuff can't get around the one spot in my side. Always the same spot. It really isn't anywhere near my pelvic floor. Maybe I'm clueless. I appreciate the feedback though and I'll try to keep an open mind.

Bibliomama said...

Gaaahhhhh, how enraging. And thank goodness you didn't actually blow out your colon. Eve wanted Matt to get me a squatty potty for Christmas one year but Bed Bath and Beyond was sold out - my friend Cynthia drunkenly showed us the video in delight one girls cottage weekend though, and I've gotta say - it probably couldn't hurt?

Ernie said...

Ali - That is hilarious. I'm laughing at the sharing of the squatty potty video in a drunken moment.

It really is mind-blowingly frustrating. I've been thinking I wonder if I should go to the Mayo Clinic. I mean - I'm NOT sick - I'm really fine, overall, but this is irritating.