Monday, December 10, 2012

Will The Real Nurse Ratched Please Stand Up?

Here's to you, Nurse Ratched.  Bottoms up! 

Oh wait, she doesn’t have to.  I’ve met her already.  She’s real.  And she gives me nightmares.  That’s right.  My Nurse Ratched isn’t the stuff of fiction.  No, she’s a real live woman who trolls the halls of the bowel control program.  Yeah.  I don’t think you need any more information than that.

Every time she calls me, she suggests yet another remedy for my severe constipation.  Have we tried this?  Have we tried that?

This is the woman who, over the past several months, has had me do a bowel cleanse five separate times.

I feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”  Every time my phone rings and it’s her, it’s the same thing over and over again. 

It’s worse than deja vu because there is no escaping it. 

And despite my frustration, I have been compliant, because I need help, and at the moment, she stands between me and a treatment that will hopefully work. 

Then, out of the blue, I get a letter saying that the office has tried to call me multiple times without success.  That’s interesting since I’d been wondering about them.  And I hadn’t received a single call.  Actually, I got two copies of the same letter on the same day.

The letter ends: “If we do not hear from you within the next t 30 days from the above date, we will assume that you no longer require our assistance.”

Guess what bitches?  You aren’t helping me anyway.

Really, you’re going to drop me as a patient when you’ve only contributed to making my problem worse?  That’s pretty funny, if you ask me.

She and the other nurses that I have communicated with have made my life miserable.  This one in particular has downright been a bully, basically telling me that I have to do exactly what she says...or else… 

My bowels move about as well as an eighty year old’s, at this point, and I’ve done everything they have suggested I try, and nothing has worked.

Her latest suggestion is Lactulose, whose main side effects are “Gas, bloating, burping, stomach numbing/pain, nausea, and cramps.”  I think she is single-handedly trying to kill me.

Lactulose is basically like what I would imagine drinking corn syrup straight up would taste like.  

And it gave me the worse gas pains of my life.  I was literally sitting on the toilet, my body convulsing, and going alternately from sweating to death to freezing, and all I could think was “somebody kill me now.”  I felt like a druggie jones-ing for a fix.  My body has never reacted to anything like that before. 

Way back in August, my doctor prescribed Amitiza.  This would hopefully be a one-pill-a-day solution to my chronic constipation.

But no!  Nurse Ratched told me over the phone that a pre-authorization is required, and that a denial would need to be appealed, and that takes too much of her time.  So rather than doing what my doctor prescribed, she’s had me try every constipation regimen under the sun, which has caused my body to basically flat line in the pooping department.

These days, if I go once a week on my own, that’s saying a lot…    

I think I’m more likely to shit gold at this point than excrement.  It would probably feel better, too.  And at least I’d be rich.

I don’t think this nurse understands that while this isn’t my biggest problem, though at the moment, it may actually be, it’s a quality of life issue.

I would honestly rather deal with arthritis pain than gut issues.  They can be totally debilitating. 

I’ve been told by pretty much every doctor I’ve ever seen for this problem that I am too young to be having the problem to the degree that I am.  But I’m supposedly too young for lupus and RA too, so that’s a mute point. 
I’m so over this nurse-on-a-power-trip thing.  You’re not a doctor, so stop acting like one.  And do what my doctor told me he thought was best, not what is easier for you.  Just because you’re too lazy to do the prior-authorization and then file an appeal when it’s declined, isn’t my problem.  But you’ve made it my problem.  And quite frankly, now I’m just royally pissed….And royally constipated.      

The next time I go to my doctor, I’m going to bring my Lactulose with me and ask my doctor to get Nurse Ratched.  Then I’m going to have her do a shot of Lactulose with me.  A small price to pay for my pain and suffering.  It’s the least she can do.  In solidarity, right? 


  1. Silly question, but… have you tried acidophilus? Not the crap they sell in supermarkets, but the good stuff, from the health food store that you keep in the fridge. Innovite DDS is really good.

    Take one or two capsules a day with meals to begin with, increase if it's not enough, decrease if your bowel movements get loose. My naturopath suggested this to me several years ago, saying that it doesn't interact with anything and the only potential side effects is abovementioned lose stool if you take too much. It balances the bacteria in your gut and can work for both constipation and diarrhea. It also works wonders for a very acidic stomach/heartburn/etc.

    (I've lived with constipation since I was a child, primarily from RA meds. I know all the tricks. Incorporate tons of fiber and tons of water in your diet, too. Snack on bran flakes, eat yogurt, use hummus as sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise, stewed prunes and/or prune juice also brilliant)

  2. I haven't tried acidophilus, but just might. As my constipation has gotten worse, I have gotten pretty bad heartburn ALL THE TIME. In terms of diet, honestly, it doesn't really seem to matter for me. I eat prunes and nothing really happens. But clearly the RX meds aren't helping either, so I need to try something else STAT.

  3. Hey Leslie!! I'm sorry that these bowel issues are yet another symptom on your already far too-long list. I tried so many potential remedies; all the overthecounters, lactulose, high fibre diet, homeopathic, ayurvedic...none of any of that stuff helped. my sister in law who is a nurse finally suggested motilium, and my GP said it was okay to try it, and IT WORKS! I can eat solid food (in moderation of course) again!! Hope you get something that works, and that you get it quickly. constipation is really not a whole lot of fun. {{{hugs}}}

  4. The only thing that has helped my constipation long term (my whole GI tract is paralyzed, go figure) is getting on tube feeds. No solid food, tube feeding formula with fiber = regular bowel movements. I think being on antibiotics so often recently helps. Eating anything = blocked up. Doctors just don't understand it, and nurses don't either. Your GI nurse sounds awful. If your doc ordered a med, she should work to get it. I don't understand why she isn't! Paperwork is NOT that hard. *rolls eyes*

    I know hearing advice on what works for other people gets annoying so I won't tell you what to try. If you want suggestions just send me a note. I've done lot of stuff (4+ years = lots of experience).

  5. Since others have weighed in, I will offer my experience, which in no way makes it mandatory for you to repeat. Many years ago I had a complete ileus (where the small bowel just stops moving - at all) due to my potassium level getting extremely low. I took lactulose and liquid potassium supplements for years, so I entirely sympathize with you. I also have lupus and was on steroids at the time.

    What I found out a few years ago is that 2 over the counter supplements really help me maintain my daily movement. One is magnesium and lots of it - morning and night. I take mag asporotate to bowel tolerance and add in some CALM at night, which really help all my muscles relax. I also take a supplement by a company called Unikey - super gi cleanse - morning and night. If I do both, I stay on an even keel. I hav tried other gi 'cleanse' type supplements as well as other fiber, and they do not work well for me.

    I do hope you find some relief. It is just miserable to have this problem.

  6. My jaw is still dropped! I've been so "brainwashed" that we have to be Miss Positive Attitude ONLY for so long now, I think I started to believe it. Ok so I may be exaggerating just a tiny bit, but, no, not much. You calling the mean nurses bitches made my heart leap for joy-I had an endorphin! Yay! Your transparency is refreshing. I'm going to make it my new goal to quit being "nice enough" for other sick people to approve of me. I have avascular necrosis in my hips, myasthenia gravis, hx of PE, sleep apnea, arthritis, etc. I have bowel problems too. Once I ended up having to get an injection in my stomach! It worked though and I'd do it again if I needed to. Hope you get relief soon!