So I’ve written a bit about what it’s like to have gastroparesis before over on the Moose blog ,but basically–my stomach sucks at digesting. A poor balance of acid and a mostly paralyzed stomach muscle makes eating a painful process. My mom got wind of a good treatment to try out, though, and so she put me onto raw apple cider vinegar. I was putting the whole thing off, preferring to live in denial than pursue actual treatments, but David is on my mom’s side (the traitor) and insisted we pick some up while from our local hipster-happy co-op. In his defense, I spent the last week of March so incapable of digesting food that I was fainting and throwing up an hour after every eating attempt. Still, though, his betrayal can’t go unpunished, so I convinced him to try it out with me.
Here’s where the unfortunate part of the story kicks in. We didn’t know how much we were supposed to take, so I threw out the suggestion of half a shot each. For what it’s worth, there was some historical roots for this. Growing up, whenever my sister and I were sick with sore throats, our mom would fill a glass of water and add a couple drops of cayenne oil. She tried pouring short glasses, but we insisted on lots of water. Clearly we didn’t understand the whole oil-and-water-don’t-mix, but whatevs. It was painful, as you can imagine, but it worked well enough. we got a little older and realized that a shot of water with a couple drops of cayenne oil was over a lot faster than a glass full, and was only marginally more painful.
As I was saying, though, a shot glass full of apple cider vinegar seemed reasonable. I even made the comment to David that it smelled kind of nice. Worst comes to worst, though, it would be over in a flash, right?
Bottoms up, we clinked our shot glasses together and downed them. Almost instantly the pain began. It wasn’t so much physical pain as it was being so incredibly nauseous it was painful. It was horrible. The liquid hadn’t even finished traveling down my throat and I already wanted to throw it up. A quick glance at David’s squinty, frowny face let me know that he was in the same boat. It was so horrible. So so horrible. I could physically feel the sensation of the liquid reaching my stomach, and it was like fireworks. Nothing was happy. Not any kind of normal, regular nausea I’d ever experienced before (and remember–I’ve experienced a lot of intestinal issues), but a rolling, sweat-inducing bitter kind of nausea.
That’s probably way too much detail, but don’t worry, the ending is mild–nothing weird happened. I mean, you’d think, right? But nope. And yet, nothing illustrated the brokenness of my stomach more than that moment. While David definitely did not have a pleasant time of it either, his discomfort and nausea was over after twenty minutes. Mine? My stomach was in agony for two hours. Two whole frickin’ hours of misery. The pain in my stomach fizzled (after two hours) and I managed to drink some water and hold it down. The next day I could eat a little bit, so it seemed to work.
A couple days later my mom asked me if I had ever gotten around to trying it out and I told her it was way too horrible, and way too much agony to try again. Her face was full of shock and confusion, especially when David chimed in to describe the horror. She asked for the full story, so we gave it to her. When we reached the part where we mentioned shot glasses, though, was when she stopped us and started laughing. Hysterically. For about ten minutes.
So… apparently we’re just supposed to take like a tablespoon. And, you know, mix it in some other drink. That being said, it’s taken me a couple weeks to be able to muster up the courage to take the vinegar again, but those two weeks have been a downward spiral for my digestion. David mentioned it’d be a good idea to try again, so despite the fact that the smell of apple cider vinegar now makes my stomach roll over, I mixed in a tablespoon into some grapefruit juice.