When is a stomach bug not a stomach bug?

Recently, during the very hot weather, I found myself suffering from some kind of bug or malady.

One minute I would be fine, then the next I would come over very clammy and be feeling very sick indeed, my stomach would gnaw and clench like someone had made a fist inside it and I would dash off to the loo expecting the entire world to explode forth from one end or the other, possibly even both simultaneously.  

The strange thing was that nothing ever happened. No sickness, no explosive diarrhoea, nothing.

One morning I dashed to the loo on three separate occasions in the space of just half an hour, each time expecting the ‘full purge’ but still nothing!

On day four of this on again/off  again situation, I had been propped up on my bed, guzzling water and trying to cool down when a bang at the door and the familiar sound of an idling diesel engine and a French radio station at full volume signalled the arrival of the postman with a parcel. 

It was from H&M, some clothes I had ordered a few days before; three dresses, a top, a bikini and a sarong (plus some items for my husband, of course, he never gets left out). 

I hate going to actual shops and trying clothes on, I hate the stark lighting that always makes you look washed out and about a hundred years old.  I hate the four-way mirrors which reflect every curve and roll with glaring accuracy, the bored looking, stick-thin sales assistants with their masklike made-up faces that look you up and down, passing judgment as you enter the changing rooms, the clothes that are purporting to be my actual size but clearly have been made with an eleven-year-old girl in mind.

For all these reasons, I hate shopping for clothes. 

I hated it when I was a size ten, two sizes further on, I hate it even more.

So,  I order things online and it is always with a mixture of excitement and dread that I anticipate their arrival.
The Lucky Dip.
Will they look anything like they did in the pictures?
Will I even get them over my head/my thighs/my shoulders/my bum?
Will they fit flatteringly or will I look like a sack of wet cement, bulging out in every direction?

 Having learnt my lesson several times over, I have now stopped ordering any clothes from eBay.

An example of ordering from eBay China. Credit: unknown.

Initially, I just stopped ordering any clothes that would come directly from China because in my experience they were merely a total LIE. I once ordered a ‘winter cardigan’ that looked very substantial in the picture. When I finally received it about thirty-sixty days later, it was made out of a thin T-shirt material!
Then I had to stop ordering clothes from other sellers as I found on several occasions that these too were from China and therefore had all the same problems; too small or totally ill-fitting, nothing like the picture suggested, cheap fabric. Even some of the ‘new, without tags’ items that I had ordered from private sellers were most likely because they themselves had purchased something from China, received it, discovered that it would probably fit their cat and no one else, then relisted it as a size 14 for some other unsuspecting buyer to discover it’s lack of merit.  It took me a long, long time and many disappointing purchases to finally understand that you simply will not receive fine haute couture for £7.49 with free p&p. Over the years, I must have wasted several hundred euros on cheap, crap clothes that were fit only for the bin before I learnt my lesson. That’s not to say that H&M is any better. I daresay some of what they sell is from China too, but at least I can return it if it doesn’t fit or I simply don’t like it! 

Anyway, lo and behold, it seemed that this day was to be a good day.
A day of almost historic, epic, proportions no less.

I LIKED EVERYTHING!

AMAZINGLY, EVERYTHING FITTED!

EVEN MORE AMAZINGLY, EVERYTHING LOOKED GOOD!

And not only that but each item had been an absolute bargain as I had hoovered up some really good summer sale reductions and even the risky size 12’s that I had ordered as they had been out of stock of size 14’s were a reasonable fit, though namely because they were a slightly stretchy, forgiving material.

 I was rather jubilant. Despite that it was still about a billion degrees in my bedroom, I had excitedly gone from trying one outfit on to another.

This went on for about twenty minutes or so and after I had removed the last item and folded it neatly I suddenly came over all clammy and nauseous again, my previous few days having been momentarily forgotten about in the ensuing excitement of a successful online shopping transaction.

I hurried to the bathroom and sat on the toilet, completely naked, panting and groaning in discomfort as waves of nausea flooded over me and painful stomach cramps had me doubled in pain, sweat freely running off of me.

I know, it’s a gloriously attractive picture that I paint with my words, isn’t it? Hair clinging to my sweaty, pallid, grimacing face.

But yet again nothing was forthcoming.

Feeling a little wobbly and having decided that sitting there was clearly serving no purpose whatsoever I got to my feet and drank another glass of water, splashing some onto my face.

I decided that I should go and lie down on the bed for a while, so moving all the outfits that I had just tried on, I laid down naked with the fan wafting ineffectually in my direction.  

Two minutes later I raced to the bathroom again, absolutely convinced that this time all hell was going to break lose.

Nope.

A few minutes sat there and it had subsided again.
I returned to my bed, feeling exhausted and seriously overheated.

 Thirty minutes later I was feeling suitably well enough to be enjoying a Cappuccino and a warm madeleine that my husband had bought for me.

Most odd!

It got me thinking. What on earth could be causing my feelings of extreme nausea and stomach cramps but without any evacuation, so to speak?

I started to think back over the previous few days. I had not eaten much on account of feeling sick. I had effectively drunk nothing but water. Due to the continued high temperatures, it was still incredibly hot both outside and inside the house so I had probably been sweating a lot.

Not eating, drinking only water, sweating a lot.

I came to the conclusion that with a lack of vomiting and diarrhoea, it could not really be a stomach bug as such, as these are two of the most common symptoms you are presented with during any gastro episode or even very mild food poisoning.

Stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness generally feeling exhausted.

Initially, I had put a lot of these common maladies down to the extreme heat, for instance, feeling exhausted, a bit vague, a bit listless, lightheaded on occasion.  

I continued to ponder my symptoms and search through the databanks reserved in my brain for ‘medical case histories’ since I am an avid, amateur, armchair Physician.

I recalled reading something a while back about ‘over-hydration’ or ‘water intoxication’ and the resulting flushing of electrolytes from your body, namely abnormally lowering the levels of sodium and potassium by dilution. These situations are medically referred to as Hyponatremia (lack of adequate sodium) and Hypokalemia (lack of adequate potassium) . I knew from what I had previously read about such circumstances, that it could be very dangerous, fatal even.

I wondered if that could be it, or at the very least, if it could be partially responsible for my general lack of wellness. That  I had drunk so much water in the last few days that I had reduced the sodium levels in my body to a point where it was making me feel unwell.  

I decided to limit my intake of water for the rest of that day and rather than glugging two or three glasses of water on the trot when I got thirsty instead I would have just one oh, and I ate a bag of crisps, you know, just in case my salt levels were alarmingly low!  It seemed the sensible thing to do.

The next day I had breakfast as normal and had small glasses of water throughout the morning rather than several big greedy glasses at once.  

I ate lunch and dinner that evening.

 I didn’t have another episode of feeling sick or any stomach cramps that day or any day since.

Now, it could be that I had a mild stomach bug that eventually cleared itself up. I don’t know. I have no medical training and as such, I cannot expertly diagnose my maladies. All I know is that I felt a whole lot better the next day having made no other changes than eating a little more and drinking less water.  Perhaps these changes were completely unnecessary or ineffective to the end result.

On the other hand, it could have been exactly what was required.

We are all aware of the problems and potential dangers of drinking insufficient water but how many of us are genuinely aware of the fact that drinking too much water can be equally impactful on your wellbeing?

From what I read, dehydration and over-hydration can often display many of the same symptoms. 

When it is hot and you are perspiring more than usual, it seems an obvious thing to drink more water than normal, but when does drinking ‘more water’ become ‘too much’?

 

When does it become detrimental to your health?

It is different for everybody and every circumstance. Age, gender, weight and activity as well as many other factors, will all have a part to play but one thing I read over and over again is that water should be consumed in small amounts, periodically throughout the day rather than trying to drink your ‘healthy’ daily water quota all in one go which can actually be very dangerous.

Basically, it’s never a good thing to get up and look at your To-Do list and think, Hmmm… drink 8 glasses of water, whenever will I find the time for that? Best I get it over with now.  Righto….. that’s done.  Next!

If this weeks post has served no other purpose than to prompt you to look up for yourself the effects of over-hydration then I for one am happy to have been instrumental in that process.  

 Who knew that was an actual thing?

 Have a happy and healthy weekend.
The Virtual Recluse

 P.S For all of you who were reading this and thought:
      “Oh No! Don’t tell me she shits and vomits all over her new clothes”