No antibiotics. No visits to a hospital or nursing home. No idea what C. diff was. I was a happy, healthy 22-year-old woman.
I tell people that 2018 isn’t my year. It has been months, so let me start from the beginning. As a warning, this will be blunt, honest and may contain gross/graphic language that is offensive to some.
In January, I was sick for five days with constant pooping and puking, even with anti-diarrheal medications. I went to the doctor’s office, and they told me it was the stomach flu. At the end of January, I went to a work conference in Florida. I would have one sip of alcohol each night, and every day I was there (three days) I had terrible diarrhea each night, pooping several times. I thought I had nocturnal diarrhea or was becoming alcohol intolerant.
Upon returning home I went to the doctor again and demanded they do a stool sample or figure out why I was constantly nauseous. They thought it was my anxiety, which could have been true. But the stool test came back positive. I had C. diff. What’s that?!
I was told, “Don’t worry. It’s not a big deal.”
They put me on metronidazole, and that’s when I got really, really sick. I was pooping liquid lava all day long. I stayed in the bathroom, literally too weak to walk from room to room. I would sleep on the bathroom floor between the bouts of pooping. Once the throwing up started, even though I had nothing more to get rid of, I had to go to the emergency room. There they gave me anti-nausea meds through an IV, rehydrated me, did some blood work and sent me on my way. Once home I threw up again.
A few days later, the poops and puking were happening at the same time. I couldn’t catch a break. It was all stomach bile. I had to go back to the ER again, and this time they admitted me to the hospital. At this point, my employer was threatening my job and I was severely dehydrated, too weak and too sick to do anything. I had no food for days. I couldn’t keep anything down. The hospital determined that the metronidazole had failed and started me on vancomycin. In the three days I was in the hospital, I lost 12 pounds.
Finally I started eating again: plain toast, broth, popsicles. Things were looking up. We got our carpets professionally cleaned. I bleached everything. I kept trying to add to my diet and get better. And things did for a little while.
I lost my job, which was probably for the better. Then I got my wisdom teeth pulled out. No antibiotics. I was doing great! I ate ice cream during the next three days, and the explosive poops and abdominal cramping started up again. Even after my body got everything out, the cramping didn’t stop. For an entire day I just laid on the floor. The following day I started drinking water and eating crackers, and by the next day I was eating a little more (plain chicken, rice, etc.).
That Monday, the same thing happened. I had some shredded cheese on a sandwich and got super sick again. I laid around all day with stomach cramps. The next day was okay, and again I was able to have water and crackers. I thought it was dairy related and did my best to prevent it.
I got into a doctor, an internist, who thought it was my new anxiety medicine. It had serotonin, which apparently messes with your gut. My stool sample also came back as negative this time. So now I’m on ranitidine and clonazepam. Again, I thought I was getting better. I tried to keep adding variety to my diet. Less than two weeks, later, I went to a friend’s graduation and got sick with the poops and pukes at the same time.
The next weekend, I went to another graduation and got sick again. I drove five hours home with stomach cramps, worried I would have to pull over in construction or poop my pants in my car. The weekend after, I got sick again! The foods that were previously deemed “safe” to eat are no longer safe. I have no idea what or how much I can eat now. My doctor is now referring me to a GI specialist now, to be scoped from both ends.
Before C. diff, I was 120 pounds. Now I am 96 pounds even though I’m eating everyday. I pray this illness does not effect me for the rest of my life. I am scared. I can’t be social or act my age. I’m scared of so much nowadays. I fear everything.
We have to spread the knowledge of this horrible thing. We have to.