Thursday, May 30, 2013
Away from Home
For the Memorial Holiday we went on a camping trip and while preparing for our holiday getaway there were many concerns to account for in an attempt to allow for the most enjoyable trip.
Anytime I want to participate in physical activities, particularly away from home, I must consider a number of factors such as food, restroom access, breaks and the amount of physical activity. Each of these contribute to my health, severity of bothersome symptoms, and level of activity.
In Evils of Food, I discussed all the concerns surrounding food and how food affects my daily life. For our camping trip, I tried to stay away from just the usual camp foods of hamburgers and hotdogs as these foods are very greasy and almost always cause a SBS flare up. One evening we had grilled chicken and vegetables with a rice mixture. But even for this healthy meal, I still had to consider which vegetables to have as some vegetables such as fried potatoes are typically upsetting. I relented for one of our lunches to having Mexican food. I was able to combat the SBS flare up into a mild flare up by taking an extra Lomotil in the late afternoon, being careful of the timing in order to prevent an adverse side effect of extreme constipation if taken too late in the evening thereby altering the usual satisfactory effectiveness of my daily Lomotil on the following day. If I took an extra Lomotil too late, it would still be in effect the next morning thereby altering my whole medication schedule for the next day resulting in too much binding. Later that evening we made Smores, I had to limit myself to 1 Smore as another one would have pushed my intestine over edge especially after a Mexican lunch.
Restroom access is an absolute concern for any outing away from home. In Access Denied, the ongoing concens and fears of being denied restroom access and restroom restrictions were discussed. When we reserved our camp site, I made sure to reserve a site that was close to restrooms in order to reduce wait time when a restroom was necessary. Even with having a restroom within 100 - 200 feet, at night I had to drive to the restroom in order to arrive in time and to reduce the amount of physical activity that inevitably increases SBS. At times I even considered sleeping upright in the car parked at the restrooms during the nights but after 3 trips a night, I was able to endure until morning.
I also have to take care to watch my activity as movement increases my SBS and is futher complicated by restroom accessibility. There were many nature trails and hiking that we could embark upon and that I would have loved to have completed, but once again I had to mind the amount of activity and the proximity to a restroom in order to prevent SBS and accompanying misery. Even to go for a swim takes careful consideration of the timing of eating, walking to the swim area and the length of time between preparing for swimming and actually going swimming. The planning and participation of activities also depends on the severity of bothersome symptoms, if only slightly bothersome I'm able to enjoy activities for a longer time period and a fuller range of activities. However, if symptoms are severe then I'm rather limited to sitting still with little food or fluid intake or will be faced with increased SBS symptoms.
None of these concerns stopped me from enjoying or participating in activities on our camping trip, I just simply had to be aware of the possible side effects so that I could plan accordingly which allowed me to make decisions and alter activities to reduce the risk of such side effects for a more enjoyable trip.
I can't think of any activities that I haven't been able to partcipate in in some way because of my health.
Knowing our bodies and how they react to varying situations is vital for our survival. By being able to predict based on previous experiences, I'm able to make decisions to allow for optimal activity participation and comfortability.
This is my life with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Short Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with FAP as a child, underwent total colectomy at age 9. I experienced life threatening complications resulting in 4 more surgeries that year and developing medical PTSD. I had an ileostomy for 6 years before having it reversed into a straight pull-thru that also resulted in life threatening complications requiring an additional surgery the following year. In 2021, I required my 8th surgery to remove my gall bladder due to gall stones and FAP. This surgery exacerbated my at the time undiagnosed Abdominal Migraine which is now being treated.