Day 4: The Enema
I’m pretty much in the pattern of the food now, I’ve got my soups, my sauerkraut and my teas but by day 4 I’m starting to notice something… or rather an absence of something. I haven’t had a bowel movement since Saturday night and it’s now Thursday. I’m pretty uncomfortable, as you can imagine, I feel like a swimming pool filled with concrete.
At this stage, I’ll issue a TOO MUCH INFORMATION WARNING! If you don’t want to hear me talk shite, look away now.
I originally went on GAPS because of IBS problems including the dreaded C-word, constipation, and the excruciating pains that ensue. After about a year, the problem did a 180 and totally reversed itself to the point where I was scurrying to the loo every 30 minutes to pass so called “solids”. I assume that was the anxiety talking because now, we seem to have reverted to the initial situation.
I went on an elimination diet to test the influence of different foods and although I hadn’t really noticed it had gone, I noticed when I did my dairy test (no dairy for 6 weeks, the 1 cup of milk every day for a week) that it affected me badly. By day 4 of the test I was in agony. You know the kind, when you’re doubled over in pain, close to tears and all you can do is take short, shallow breaths and pray that your appendix isn’t about to pop? Yeah, I had that a lot.
I cut out the dairy and haven’t had too much pain since (although it still visits sporadically. Bastard.) but since commencing the GAPS Intro Diet, my problem had gone from bad to worse. Let’s just say the trains had gone from moving too slowly, to not leaving the station at all.
Dr Campbell-McBride recommends enemas for people who are suffering severe constipation. Apparently this is common because the GAPS Intro Diet does away with almost all fibre that may irritate the gut. So, after fighting the notion for as long as I could stand, I finally figured I’d give it a whirl.
Step 1: Obtaining an Enema Kit
This is harder than it sounds. Although my American friend assured me the kits were a stock standard drug store item in the US, this is not the case in Australia, at least not in quiet little Adelaide. I searched online but couldn’t find what I wanted within the country and the prospect of waiting 3 weeks for international delivery was not appealing. I finally ventured to my local pharmacy in search of the wily and elusive enema kit.
It was a quiet afternoon, not too many customers. Of course, when there are fewer customers there tend to be more available staff; watching, waiting, anticipating that awkward moment when you have the laxatives in hand to pounce and cheerily ask if you need help with… that. I wanted to avoid this, so kept my eyes down and walked purposefully down the digestive aisle. Nothing. In desperation, I walked around the entire pharmacy analysing every shelf in the hope that the enema kits might be discretely snuggled next to the bandages, but to no avail. Damn it, why do the always hide the most embarrassing things? Eventually, I yielded and asked the sales assistant.
To her credit, the assistant did not bat an eyelid when I said enema, she was very mature and I felt reassured but things got awkward when she didn’t know what I actually meant. I tried to explain that I wanted a “hot water bottle type thing with a tube that goes… well, you know,” but she simply looked puzzled. The only “enema” she had ever heard of was the Microlax, a “fast acting laxative enema” that came in tubes of 5ml. I said this wasn’t quite what I was looking for, I’d read about bucket kits in the internet and she laughed, saying that was all very out-dated. I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable arguing with pharmacy assistants about bowel cleansing in public, particularly when they are laughing at you, so I just bought the Microlax and left quickly.
I won’t go in to the gory details save to say, it really wasn’t that gory. Friends had warned me to lie next to the toilet on a dark coloured towel but that really wasn’t necessary. I lay on a towel (brightly coloured, ooh I’m a rebel) in the lounge room and followed the products instructions. It all happened within about 5 minutes; product went in, I held it as long as I could (it was painful) then I walked to the bathroom and the product came out. No mess, no fuss.
So did it work? Well, sort of. Yes, something was loosened up but it didn’t awake the Balrog that lurks in the dark depths of my abdomen.
Dr Campbell-McBride suggests cleansing daily until the problem eases and I now have a whole box of these flipping things, so I imagine I’ll give it another go in a day or so. I’m not sure I’m ready to go through with the whole bucket and tube method yet anyway… slow and steady wins the race, they say, and in this race I thoroughly intend to come first.