Faith, Flour, & Sawdust

Side effect or symptom or flu

Trip by ambulance to ER

Yesterday I woke up not feeling well, but this was different something was off. I had developed a small cough two days earlier. Yesterday it was a full-fledged cough causing me not to be able to breathe. When I started turning blue around the lips I called 9-1-1. The fire truck was the first on the scene and helped to gain control over my breathing. Then the paramedics showed up and took me to the hospital. Once there they got my breathing under control and went on to figure out if I had the flu or if was my UC symptoms. This is hard since my daily UC symptoms present as the flu. I had no fever, and I still don’t, they stuck a swab up my nose and tickled my brain. It came back positive for Influenza B.

We are a nationwide shortage of IV fluids since the plant is on Puerto Rico and the plant still doesn’t have power from the hurricane months ago. Hurricane Maria disrupted production at Puerto Rican factories that make critical drugs and medical supplies. There was already an existing shortage for several years — made worse by facilities being damaged by hurricanes. It’s a big deal because IV fluids are “the first thing we do — we use an IV, we hang an IV and that’s how we start taking care of you” says Régine Villain. I got one of those precious IV fluids since I was dehydrated, severely, and releasing me without it would only make things worse.

 

Symptoms

Ulcerative colitis symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Blood or pus in stool
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent, recurring diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tenesmus: A sudden and constant feeling that you have to move your bowels
  • loss of body fluids and nutrients
  • anemia caused by severe bleeding
  • malnutrition
  • joint pain
  • joint swelling
  • skin problems
  • mouth sores
  • eye inflammation
  • severe dehydration

Side Effects

The following are some of the side effects of the drugs they give you

  • nausea
  • headache
  • stomach upset
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • rash
  • fever
  • decreased white blood cell count
  • abdominal pain and cramps
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • hair loss
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • high blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • acne
  • mood swings
  • insomnia
  • cataracts
  • high blood sugar levels
  • weakened bones or osteoporosis
  • decreased kidney function
  • Bruising

Flu

Flu symptoms can be similar to those of a cold, although they tend to be more severe. Symptoms can include:

  • dry, hacking cough
  • moderate-to-high fever (although not everyone with the flu will run a fever)
  • a sore throat
  • shaking chills
  • severe muscle or body aches
  • a headache
  • stuffy and runny nose
  • profound fatigue
  • vomiting and diarrhea

This year has been especially bad, as the flu outbreak is on track to be the worst one in nearly a decade. While the flu can have devastating consequences for anyone, many of those with chronic illness are at a higher risk because their bodies don’t function as well as healthy people’s. Our bodies wage war with us over a simple sniffle or just being us.  Either way, it becomes critical for those with chronic illness to do whatever they can to avoid catching the flu, and for those who have the flu to avoid going out in public and putting others at risk of contracting it. I refuse the make anyone else sick I know what a struggle it is on a daily basis and I would not want that on anybody.

I get my flu shot and then avoid new places with lots of people. I know some of you are against the flu shot but everyone in my family gets it. We would rather have the 10% of protection than none. For me, it could mean be healthier or a stay in the ER. I am lucky that I don’t have the flu as bad as I could have. Yesterday’s visit could have turned into a long hospital stay. In all honesty, my immune system sucks. I try my best not to get sick throughout the year. I use my own pens, pencils, etc. I carry hand sanitizer. I try my best to be preventative.

Washing hands. Keeping my family healthy, an annual flu shot is a must, and I am absolutely not shy about telling people to stay away when sick. I have hand sanitizer literally everywhere – coat pocket, purse, desk drawer, hanging from my backpack that I take to work… everywhere! I also take Super C from Young Living.  I have to take every precaution to try to not get sick. It doesn’t always work. I’m very big into essential oils. I use Young Living, and I diffuse oils in my home, and I also put them on me. Anything to help boost my immune system, and help me to stay well during this nasty flu season. Can’t stress washing the hands enough. We wipe down cabinets, faucets, door knobs, etc. with Lysol wipes.

Stay Hydrated

One of my biggest struggles with UC has been staying hydrated. It is something I have struggled with for years. Patients with IBD can get dehydrated very easily. Most often, it occurs because of increased water loss due to diarrhea, making it even more important to rehydrated properly. The intestines play the biggest role in keeping us hydrated.  The intestines actually work with the kidneys to control the level of fluids in the body. The intestines work to absorb water and salt and the kidneys control what is lost through urine. So when fluid is lost due to diarrhea, the kidneys may have difficulty balancing the salt and water, meaning you also may need extra salt in addition to extra water.

To be honest, I hate drinking water. In order to drink the amount I need, it becomes a chore and something I have to constantly think about throughout the day, even though I know how important it is. I try to stay hydrated, eat a ton of vegetables and if I feel anything coming on I sleep as much as humanly possible. I have a reusable water bottle that I keep filled all day. I just keep adding to it when it’s low. I also keep drinks in my car just in case and a couple extra bottles near my bed.  I don’t just drink plain water; added salt, liquid minerals, and magnesium help the cells hold onto the water. They are really hydrating, help to regulate blood pressure and contain electrolytes.

Drinking when you are thirsty is not enough. When you get thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Everyone has different hydration needs, so a set number of ounces per day isn’t going to work for everyone. The best indicator of your hydration is actually the color of your pee. If it’s pale or clear, you’re staying hydrated; if it’s dark and yellow, that means you need to drink more fluids. Staying hydrated with side effects, symptoms, or flu is very important.

Have a Blessed Day, Love the ones you are with and remember we are not guaranteed tomorrow but we are guaranteed coffee today.