My mom, bless her, seems to think I should have been or should go and become a doctor. She is constantly asking me for advice on her health concerns which are many and varied. She’s a heavy lady with high blood pressure, diabetes (that one’s recent) and yup, she’s a smoker. Quite the combo. [Thanks to Dr Oz, she finally gets why it’s so dangerous to have high blood pressure. Imagine pressure washing your car with sand in the water. There you go that’s what your kidneys are experiencing. Their job is to very carefully remove salts and vital elements from the blood to keep in the body and excrete things not wanted – some excess drugs, vitamines, water, among other things.]
The other day I called her to let her know that we won’t be needing all of the amusement park passes that she was able to get from work and that if anyone there wanted to have a couple back – we’d be happy to drop them off. I got her on the phone and her voice sounded like she was about to go to sleep. She was out of sorts and seemed to have no energy. Granted it’s a physical job and as I’ve explained she’s not in great shape and being my mother (and I’m no spring chicken) she’s not super young – but this seemed to be extreme fatigue. The kind of fatigue I remember her having with the ulcer last time – several years ago.
Now as my ulcer 2.0 blog outlined, ulcers are caused by bacteria – the vast majority of the time (70-90%). So my mom’s on antibiotics. The course she was supposed to take last time was 20 days. This time she went just to her family doctor knowing that the ulcer had returned (likely due to a combination of not having eradicated the little buggers last time and being run down enough for them to take hold again). She asked me how long to take the antibiotics and I had to agree with the specialist that 2 10 day courses are what’s needed. As we were talking on the phone, she expressed that the meds were what was causing all this fatigue (and bad tastes).
Naturally, I don’t want my mom to feel like this. Last time she was in hospital and wasn’t taxing her body with work so it’s hard to say how this experience compares to the last one. But my mom is very intuitive when it comes to her body so I suggested something radical. After years of trying to get her to eat more meals that were smaller throughout the day, she’s actually doing it and feeling better. My radical suggestion was to stop eating solid foods. I told her to get a low sugar yogurt (check out the labels – most regular yogurts are 15-20% sugar by weight!) with active bacterial cultures and to go to the pharmacy and get a meal-replacing drink. They have ones like Ensure but since she’s diabetic Glucerna is a better option.
Well I stepped out for some errands a couple hours later and missed her call. My sister spoke with her though and she was back to her usual self which freaked mom out. How can the means by which food is delivered make this big a difference in how a person feels? I know I don’t have the answers to that. I do know that from my own experience, sometimes the body is really busy trying to fix something and it doesn’t want to be taxed with digesting whole meals. It sounds a bit crazy to think that processing food is taxing but when we look at babies; all they need is breastmilk. They can thrive on just that, taken as needed for 2 or more years. (Not that I want to be exclusively breastfeeding my own little ones for so long – a year was my limit the first time and I’ll see how long it works for this second one.) Exclusively breastfed infants cannot be obese or even overweight and they’ve got all they need to grow and develop. And it’s delivered in liquid form so that the body only needs to soak up the nutrition – there’s very little active work involved freeing up energy for development and growth (which is very energy intensive – hence all the sleep).
Bottom line, liquid diets have their time and place. Some people use them as fasts to help them get their bodies back on track and some use them to recover from illness – like I did when I was recovering from a ruptured appendix. It’s not easy to give up food in the Western world since we focus so much of our activities around it but it’s totally worth it.
I’m going to call my mom and see how she’s doing and if she’s anything other than the strong person from late yesterday – off to the doctor. Some things need extra attention regardless of the hassle and an ulcer is definitely one of those things.