constipation warning

It happens. Boy, does it happen.

Today is exactly a month since my gastric bypass. So far I’ve done well, healed and got through the worst parts (mostly gas and bloating) including the dreaded protein shakes, which I no longer hate as much since I can have yogurt, those protein bars, cream soups and fruit pops as well. But my streak of luck ended two days ago when I had a bout of killer constipation. Which was my fault, I had a fruit and yogurt parfait at McDonald’s and even though I’m still on liquids and the parfait contains large chunks of fruit. I did have enough sense to leave the granola off but ate this anyway. It was hubris on my part, thinking if I chewed those chunks of fruit well enough I’d digest them with no problem, that my doctor was being too cautious. Well, it didn’t happen. Just look at the fruit in this sucker and you can see how deranged I was. Real fruit real fun my butt.

I normally have BMs every other day, which I’ve been told is normal and OK. So when Friday came I got a big and painful surprise. Same thing Saturday. I have had constipation before but it would eventually pass if I drank extra water or Crystal Light and waited. It didn’t pass and I became concerned. I hate being sick, am not used to being sick and when something goes wrong I can be a little anxious and overreact. So I woke up my husband this morning at 6 am and told him I was going to Emergency. For constipation. He is a good man, very understanding and even if he thinks I am a little nuts is wise enough to keep it to himself so he got up and accompanied me in the dark and rain to the hospital.

I was afraid the staff would laugh when I told them why I was there. They didn’t, they treated my complaint professionally and compassionately. I told them I was a bariatric patient and unsure of what meds if any I could take. I almost expected an enema and mentally prepared myself for that when the doctor told me all I needed was a stool softener and some time. She wrote me a prescription and we were on our way, we even made it in time for services at my dad’s church.

I took the stool softener, Miralax and four hours later I finally had a BM and passed the whole nasty mess. The pharmacist was my pal and said they had a store brand of the same stuff for about half price, over the counter and I bought that. But it worked and I wanted to give a shout-out to Miralax. Constipation is common in bariatric patients since we have a hard time getting all our water and fluids in with a smaller stomach and because our diet is heavily based on dairy products. I also learned that Lortab can cause constipation too, though I’m no longer taking it. I wish I had known about Miralax and its generic siblings because it would have saved me a lot of  agony and a big bill from the Emergency department.  I’m not being compensated by Miralax or Walgreen’s, this is just my experience but if either company offered me money I’d take it.  So I can pay that Emergency room bill. Also I am avoiding McDonald’s like the plague.


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