Warning signs - John C. Kirk
Jan. 17th, 2012
04:20 pm - Warning signs
I'm off work today with suspected food poisoning. There were a few warning signs yesterday, but I misinterpreted them, so I'm documenting them here for my own future reference. This does involve some fairly disgusting biological details, so you may not want to click through, particularly if you're eating.
Since I gave up caffeine a few weeks ago, my sleep patterns have been moving towards a more normal schedule, e.g. on Saturday night I slept from 23:00-08:45. Yesterday morning I got up at 08:30, after about 6½ hours of sleep. That's not ideal, but it's not too bad, and I was surprised that I felt so tired all day: I was constantly thinking that I could happily crawl back into bed.
During the day, I also had a bit of stomach pain and acid reflux (aka "hiccups that taste of vomit"). When I went to the loo, I noticed that my trousers wouldn't "naturally" close, i.e. I had to pull them tight, which was exerting a bit of pressure. Looking online, various other people have mentioned that this can cause pain. It may be significant that I'd just washed my trousers; it's probably more significant that I've gradually been putting on weight recently. Looking at the past week:
So, it's fluctuating a bit, but there's certainly an upward trend. I didn't eat much yesterday: that's not because I was trying to "crash diet", just because I didn't have much appetite. When I went to the loo, I was surprised that not much came out. I didn't feel constipated, but I was aware that my belly looked/felt swollen; maybe "bloated" is the right word.
Meanwhile, I also felt a bit cold, and I saw that I actually had goosebumps on my legs. That surprised me, but a few other people mentioned that they felt cold too, so I assumed that it was just because the office didn't have any heating turned on.
In the evening, I went over to the regular CRU training session, but I took my bike on the tube rather than cycling the whole way. That's mainly because I've been having more mechanical problems with the Brompton: the seat keeps tilting backwards. I keep adjusting it, and twisting the hex key as hard as I can, but it doesn't last for long, so I've been sticking to shorter journeys. Losing weight should help, but the easiest way for me to do that is to do more cycling, so it's a bit of a "catch 22" situation. The bike is due for its annual service, but then I won't be able to cycle at all for a few days. I'm hoping that my new touring bike will be ready soon (they predicted "late January"), so then I can use that while the Brompton gets sorted out.
I forced myself to eat a chocolate bar while I was at CRU, then cycled over to London Bridge about an hour later. When I sat down on the train, I had my heart monitor running and it took about 5 minutes for it to drop down to "normal" levels (108 bpm = 50% of my recommended maximum rate). That's longer than usual, so I'm guessing that it's related to low blood sugar.
As I sat on the train, I was wearing my jeans: these are a bit looser than my work trousers, but I still felt a bit nauseous and I had a headache. I was confident that I wouldn't actually vomit, but I drank the rest of my bottle of water to try and settle my stomach down. This was a slow train which stopped at every station along the way; just after we'd left the penultimate station, I realised that I wasn't going to make it to my stop without throwing up. It felt a lot like travel sickness, although I haven't had that since I was a kid.
There was a free newspaper nearby, so I held that open in front of me in attempt to catch the vomit, but it was hopelessly inadequate. In hindsight, spreading it over the floor might have been better, but the pages were stapled together so I'm not sure whether I'd have had time for that. I had to open my mouth as wide as possible, and the vomit came out at high speed, and it felt as if it went on for quite a while. I'm not sure how long it actually lasted (probably only a few seconds), but I did start to worry whether I could hold my breath for long enough. That was mostly liquid, with lots of small solid lumps, a bit like grey porridge. I then vomited again, and the second/third time were smaller volumes of liquid and mostly dark red. I'm not sure whether that means bleeding (typically bright red), so it might have just been the stomach lining.
After I'd finished, I felt a bit better. I also noticed that my jeans felt looser, so they'd actually slipped down a couple of centimeters. So, apparently I ejected enough mass to significantly affect my waistline. When I weighed myself this morning, I was 96.7kg, i.e. I lost 2kg in 24 hours. Not the best way to do it, but my belly feels a bit better now. I'm not certain, but I think it felt hard to the touch yesterday, whereas it's a bit more squishy now. I heard someone else change carriage behind me; he didn't ask whether I was ok, but in fairness he probably assumed that I was drunk. I then noticed a small bin between the seats, so maybe I could have used that although I'm not sure whether my aim would have been good enough to avoid splashback.
Based on all of this, I suspect food poisoning, although I'm not sure what triggered it. I checked the NHS website when I got home. They recommend calling your GP or NHS Direct if you have blood in your vomit, but I was so exhausted that I just wanted to go straight to bed. I emailed my boss to say that I might not be in today, then put a bucket next to my bed and went to sleep. I'm not dead yet, so it can't have been that urgent.
I slept for 10 hours, then later I had another 3 hour nap. I still feel a bit queasy: I haven't been sick again, but I've mainly been sticking to water so far. I've had a bowl of soup, but I can't work up the enthusiasm for any kind of solid food yet. I've got the heating cranked up to 20°C, and I don't feel cold, but I don't really feel warm/hot either. Hopefully this will just be a 24 hour thing, and I'll be back to normal tomorrow.