After much holiday nostalgia, a silly, absurd, self-deprecating story.
Recently at work, I got myself into serious trouble. I mean big time. Trouble with a capitol "T". Trouble that almost made me a patient in our ER.
On that fateful day, I arrived for my 7 a.m. shift. After taking patient sign-outs from the overnight ER doc, while I was getting my computer workstation ready, I noticed a pink emesis basin sitting in the station. These bins double well as serving bowls, so I was eager to see what the overnight snack was. I peered inside to find that it contained about fifty pieces of banana- flavored Laffy Taffy. Supposedly, the night shift had snacked on a full bin of Laffy Taffy, leaving only the yellow-wrapped ones behind.
What? Are you kidding me? Who in their right mind doesn't go for the banana-flavored taffy first? Is apple or cherry or grape really that much better than banana? I don't think so, my friend.
Well, banana taffy and I, we're like an old married couple. I guiltily unwrapped what I swore would be my one and only piece at about 7:15 a.m., thinking that the rest could wait until at least after lunch. After proclaiming my undying love to the yellow gooey stuff, I plopped it in my mouth. Do you think I could savor it, roll it around on my tongue a little bit, enjoy it? Oh no, not moi. I chomped into it three times and swallowed it whole. Okay, just one more piece. I'll savor this one, I told myself.
That was wishful thinking. By 11 a.m., the bin was empty, my fingers were stained yellow (despite multiple washings), and my stomach was lurching at anyone who approached me. How do you possibly tell your stomach to remember its manners? Mine was blatantly rude, speaking out at every opportunity. I know I ate most of the candy, but I swear I didn't eat all of it. Did I?
One glance around the ER and I found my answer. At the far end of the nurses' station, sitting on a small stool in front of her computer, sat one of the new nurses. She wore a grimaced look and was rubbing her belly as she tried to concentrate on her screen. My partner in crime. I wanted to go up to her and tease her, but I am not a stupid man. Those nurses stick together and I knew that whatever I threw at her would come back tenfold to me. So, hard as it was, I let the moment pass and just shrugged off our conjoined misery.
Well, the following week was a long one. And not just for me, but for those around me. I was miserable. Completely and utterly unbearable. From my end (pun intended), the misery stemmed from the intermittent cramping, the spasms, and the constant rumbling that I could not conquer. For those around me, I'm sure, their misery was mostly from their pained ears--ears that bore the brunt of my constant complaining. I swear, after the third day, I didn't have one friend willing to say more than "Hello" to me before turning around and high-tailing it out of there. I couldn't blame them--I'd be the same way.
After a few more days, my wife got involved. "What's wrong with you?" she teased. "Take care of this already. You are a doctor, you know."
Yeah, yeah, I know. I also know that I should not have eaten forty to fifty pieces of Laffy Taffy (did I mention that it was banana-flavored?) in one sitting, but I did anyway. I refused to let the words "Fleets Enema" be mentioned in my presence.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the kind, elderly woman, a complete stranger, who heard me out in the cereal aisle at Wegman's while I searched for some Rice Chex. "Um," I confessed to her bewildered face, "my name is Jim, and well, I haven't had a BM for almost a week."
Of course that didn't really happen, despite my wild imagination willing it to. I really did walk up and down the cereal aisle three times, though, begging for an angel of mercy to come and put me out of my misery. If not an angel of mercy, at least someone wearing a Depends diaper who could point out the best fiber cereal for me.
Despite lots of water, prune juice, mineral oil, fiber cereal, and fiber drinks, I still had no success. I decided to be really aggressive. It was time for (drum roll, please) magnesium citrate.
For those of you not familiar with this miracle drink, it comes in a ten-ounce bottle and looks like Sprite or 7-Up. Unfortunately, it sure doesn't taste like it. Trust me, drink it fast and drink it cold. And only one bottle. After drinking it, it passes through your intestinal system, pulling water into your colon. This increases peristalsis and provides relief within one to four hours.
I called our charge nurse, Julie, in the ER and asked her to place a bottle in a brown bag for me to pick up. "And please, Julie, don't tell anybody that it's for me." Yeah, right. I should have known better.
I drove to the ER and walked in. Before locating Julie, she had found me. I heard her before I saw her.
"Dr. Jim," I heard her loud, familiar voice yell, "here I am." I turned to find Julie wearing a big grin, standing in the middle of the crowded nurses' station. Don't do it, Julie, please.
She continued. "Here's the bottle of "mag citrate" you called in for yourself. I sure hope it works for you." Ugh. She gently held my brown bag above her shoulders and did a slow 360', showcasing the temporary trophy that was in her possession. Bad girl, Julie, bad girl.
I had forgotten that magnesium citrate can be purchased over-the-counter for a dollar. A stinking lousy dollar--the cost of saving me my dignity. But at that moment, I had no pride.
Well, I am happy to report that I am a magnesium citrate success story. I am a survivor of acute constipation. Starting next month, I will be the new spokesman for magnesium citrate (I said no to the prune juice company), so look for my commercial on a Japanese television station near you. Soon, I hope to have brown wrist bands finished to bond all of us who have braved similar success stories. I hope others will step forward to share their courageous stories and inspire you as I know I have.
Okay, enough. Thanks for bearing through my obscene level of silliness. I am proud to say, however, that I have not had one piece, nada one, of Laffy Taffy since that 7 a.m. shift. Whenever I get the urge, I just slap on another Chex patch and I'm fine.
As always, thanks for reading. The next post will be Friday, January 1. Please take this fluffy post as intended...I hope you smiled. Feel free to comment if you are a banana taffy fan! LOL