Tuesday evening. I had serious stomach cramping and loose stool. Wednesday morning. I made a long Facebook post about it. What else do you do when your ass has spent the better part of the night and morning on a cold porcelain? You make fun of it. Simply because you can. Around midday I went to hospital. They tested stool samples and gave me laperamide and ibuprofen. They diagnosed me with food poisoning and said it will pass by itself. Some hospitals/clinics should be shut down. The diarrhoea stopped instantly and I went about my day feeling healed. Thursday morning. I woke up feeling weak and tired. I decided to stay home and catch up with sleep. Kenya power made sure I did since they decided to ration power from 10:00hrs to 17:00hrs. Kenya power, I accept you are the boss.

Thursday evening and my stomach was cramping like a mofo. I popped some more ibuprofen and took a long hot shower. My stomach calmed down and I managed a few hours of sleep. From midnight, I kept waking up with stomach crumps but no urge to visit the toilet. At exactly 04:27hrs I was up running to the toilet where I sat for about 30 minutes with nothing to show for my efforts. I was back in bed at 04:50hrs but with no sleep, it was better to rise and prepare breakfast. I was done in record time of course with bouts of stomach pains here and there. At around 06:30hrs I crawled back to bed and slept up to 08:00hrs.Took breakfast and by 09:00hrs I was on my way back to hospital.

I am too observant and the doctor I saw came off as very rude. She asked for my name and medical history like she was signing me up into a military camp. I wanted ask her to,”Smile, you have one life to live” or “Smile we are not dead, our bodies just need a little oil change”. I could not. She prescribed some lab tests. All of which I required me to provide a stool sample. One of the tests was a widal test, the other was an H.pylori. When she said the last word, I was one hundred percent sure I didn’t have that beast she was talking about. I proceeded to the lab and was handed a container to go scoop some shit into or shit into, whatever you fancy.

I got to the hospital by 09:20hrs. It took about twenty minutes to be checked in and all. I went to the washroom to give a shit (see what I did there?) Wiped off the toilet seat, spread some tissue, I am a woman it’s a thing we do. I proceeded to sit on my tissue throne trying to give shit. I peed and waited for shit to follow. Ten minutes, fifteen, twenty… Nothing. I gave up and walked out. I sent a text to a friend who advised me to go take a banana. I took two and half a litre of water and walked around for like 30 more minutes. I walked back into the lavatory recreated my throne and sat. Twenty minutes later… Nothing. Two hours after walking into the hospital I went to the laboratory and told the lab technician how I couldn’t give a shit (I love how this sounds). She suggested I try some more.

When my patience runs out there is no going back. I cooked a story of how I had to travel and wasn’t coming back that evening since I wanted to get out of there and I couldn’t give a… you get it. I am not a sissy but don’t call me when I am going through a rough patch or sickness. My voice crumbles. You can meet me and will not guess anything is wrong with me unless of course I’m dying. I’m a tough cookie in person but I’m a mess on phone. My friend whom we had a meeting with at around 14:00hrs called and I sounded like I was crying or in a pit. He was concerned and asked “Are you sure you can sit through a meeting? “Don’t worry, wait until you see me then make that judgment”.I responded. I was charged for the poop bottle and I had to come back and deliver.

After my meeting, I met a very amazing friend for coffee. All this time I was eating. Trying to create poop. My stomach was cramping like a mofo. After the coffee I went back to hospital. I was determined to get a diagnosis, shit or no shit. I went to a clinic in town and told the doctor of my shit woes, then the lab technician thereafter. The lab technician asked me if I did want to try to give a shit? My butt muscles couldn’t flex anymore so I declined. I asked him if we couldn’t do blood tests. He obliged and drew some blood. I really fear injections. I get as squirmy as a little child. I could feel tears welling up as he prepared his tools. I needed a diagnosis. He was going to do a widal test which tests for typhoid mostly. Then as I walked out I asked him what an H.Pylori test was all about. He explained with the patience of a mother. Some guys are in the right career. Imagine sitting in a room full of stool and blood samples and not getting cranky. I could not. We agreed to also do an H.pylori test. I walked out into the reception and took a seat. The pharmacy was close to where I sat and I could overhear all kinds of jargon: zentel, erythromycin and many others I can spell let alone pronounce.

I sat there waiting for my results and kept wondering why I had asked for the H.pylori test yet I did not know what it was. After about twenty minutes the lab technician came and sat next to me and showed me my results. Widal test –Negative. H.pylori – Positive. As he explained what H.pylori was, I started going around my brain wondering why my acidity levels would be elevated. I walked by the pharmacy and met an awesome pharmacist who explained some more. Except I wasn’t listening I only looked at the huge box of medicine he was holding and knew I was in serious shit. I snapped back and asked him a million questions, he answered them all. I almost asked him if I would have died. After he handed me the H.pylori treatment kit I felt like cupping his face in my hands and kissing him on both cheeks. He had saved my stomach lining. A friend called me as I was walking out of the hospital and asked me ,”Umeambiwa?” I told him I had H.pylori in elevated levels. He told me he also has that and since he didn’t catch it early he had already developed ulcers. Later I googled, it’s what I do except this time I wasn’t googling symptoms. I found out that if H.pylori is not treated there is a 1% chance of getting stomach cancer. There were so many other things but stomach cancer is what I caught. Not the 1%, no STOMACH CANCER.

About two thirds of the world’s population has H.pylori in their bodies. It’s more prevalent in developing countries. Wikipedia said H.pylori immigrated from Africa blah blah blah. That statement pissed me off so I didn’t finish reading. It attacks the stomach lining which protects from the acid the body uses to digest food. H.pylori is the main cause of ulcers, not stress or whatever else they tell you. But if your acidity levels increase due to stress, poor eating habits or eating acidic foods ulcers develop. Get checked and get treatment in case you feel, bloated, severe stomach pain and swelling, not feeling hungry, feeling full after a light meal, weight loss for no reason, dark, bloody or loose stool, exhaustion for no reason among others.

So I have this kit that I must take and finish diligently without skipping even a dose or the H.pylori will become resistant and I might have to spend close to ksh 20,000 treating. I am not supposed to take any acidic or citric foods for the next three months. This includes fats, kale, spinach, oranges,  bananas, wine..  Did I include wine? How is that supposed to work? I am yet to figure it out.

dsc_0178.jpgH.pylori kit

I also learnt one thing, you really must be vigilant with your health. Listen to everything said, don’t take it to heart of course but ask around. Learn what each term means. Don’t let hospitals make you a lab rat but you may need to take all the tests necessary to get a proper diagnosis. Remember I asked the last lab technician what H.pylori is? That is what I mean. In full it is Helicobacter pylori.

Oh, and the H.pylori bacteria stomach cramps and period pain cramps are equally terrible.