Similar to norovirus in its explosive symptoms I first came down with it in the early hours of Thursday morning last week. In the interests of decorum, I will refrain from a blow by blow account but when I mentioned it on FB, one of my friends commented:
However, around 2am yesterday morning I woke with a sense of urgency, which propelled me at speed into our gleaming new shower room, where I took up residence for the next few hours. Again, decorum prevents me from describing the scene. Suffice to say it wasn't pretty.
I did try going back to bed at several points in the wee, small hours, but sleep was impossible as every 10-15 minutes I relentlessly ploughed a lonely furrow from bed to loo, mostly at a brisk trot *again, no pun intended* At the risk of breaching my self-imposed decorum law, I have to say that not all of these dashes were timely... and as the hours of darkness gradually morphed into the faint light of dawn, a pile of bagged-up PJs formed on the shower room floor.
By 7am, I was reduced to wearing the abandoned PJ bottoms from the depths of my sleepwear drawer. The really, REALLY baggy ones, which end above my ankles, have no elastic in the waist and make me look like a clown. Although, to be fair, sartorial elegance wasn't high on my list of priorities by that time.
PP helpfully suggested that she could attempt to fashion me a giant nappy, using some of the old towels we've retired from service since the new shower room was installed but I declined. Loss of dignity is one thing, becoming a laughing stock is quite another.
Throughout the night, as I rocked and moaned, occasionally a small, furry head appeared round the door to assess the situation, then quickly withdrew, beating a hasty retreat to her bed.
I don't blame her. At one point, deciding that going back to bed between 'episodes' was pointless, I rolled up a big, new, fluffy bath towel into a pillow and tried to sleep 'in situ' in the shower room, resting my head on the washbasin, sick bucket suspended between my knees in an improvised towel hammock.
It didn't work.
In the morning I called our GP's surgery.
Receptionist: *brightly* Good morning... this is ******** speaking, how may I help you?
Me: *exhausted* I'll keep this brief as I'm going to have to go at any minute, but I need some advice.
I quickly described my predicament, again forgoing many of the details for sake of the aforementioned decorum, and asked if I could speak to someone as it was going to be impossible for me to leave the house to attend the surgery.
Receptionist: *clearly grossed out by my symptoms, despite the heavy layers of decorum* We have no doctor's appointments available to yourself today.
Me: *exasperated* I don't WANT an appointment! I want to talk to someone there... maybe one of the nurses for some advice on what I can take.
R: I, myself, am not clinically trained, so I cannot offer advice to yourself.
Me: I appreciate that. Can I speak to someone, ANYONE, who IS clinically trained then.
R: Computer says no. Unfortunately I have no triage calls remaining for today. Is it urgent?
Me: *conscious of an increasing lower abdominal urgency* You could say that. Please, I just want some advice.
R: *slowly, as though talking to a child* As I have already told yourself, I am not clinical....
Me:*interrupting, through gritted teeth* I. Need. Advice.
R: If I may, can I suggest to yourself that you ring your pharmacist and describe your *shudder* symptoms. If they think that you should see a GP then you may call back and I will see if there is any possibility of an emergency phone call to yourself.
Me: That's it, is it? Ring the pharmacy.
R: Is there anything else I can help yourself with....?
Me:*with heavy sarcasm* Help? Oh no... you've been INCREDIBLY helpful.
R: *chirpily* Thank you... have a nice day.
Thankfully, our regular pharmacist was more helpful, initially suggesting Loperamide (generic Immodium) which I had already tried during the night, to no avail. Then she mentioned Enterosgel, which she claimed binds to toxins and pathogens in the gut and removes them. Having ascertained that it was available over the counter, PP set off to get some (HOW MUCH?!?) along with industrial quantities of disinfectant and Lucozade.
While PP was on her mercy mission, I Googled Enterosgel, and sure enough, it is described as "an innovative intestinal adsorbent, developed for binding toxins, allergens, pathogens and other harmful substances in the GE tract, and removing them from the body" It is an organosilicon compound-polymethylsiloxane polyhydrate with a porous structure and gel-like consistency.
It's a bit like transparent toothpaste in a tube which is mixed with water then drunk. It's colourless, odourless and tasteless but has an odd chalky texture. I suppose the best I can say is that it's not actively unpleasant.
Whether it was the Enterosgel, or the fact that after 9 straight hours of 'forced evacuation' I was effectively empty, gradually over the course of the day I was able to spend more time out of the shower room than in it. I even managed a few hours sleep in the afternoon, albeit subliminally alert to every grumble and gurgle in my beleaguered digestive system which might herald another toilet dash.
Exhausted, I mostly slept through last night, with only a few nocturnal excursions and this morning I'm wobbily vertical, feeling as though I'm waking up from a bad dream.
It's tempting to think that the lurgy is finally going, but having had two bouts in the space of one week I'm not counting any chickens just yet.
So there you have it. And in the words of the invariably late, undoubtedly great, Australian cultural attache, Sir Les Patterson:
" Decorum? I've got decorum coming out my arse!"
In my case, quite literally.....