Obstructive Jaundice. Mystery Illness Cured By Water
My wife and I returned home from Turkey in mid October fit and bronzed from the magnificent sun we encounter annually there. Everything was normal as we resumed our home base routines. It was some weeks before I began to feel lethargic and more tired throughout he whole day than usual. At first I put these symptons down to the lousy Autumnal weather we were enduring in UK. Far from being the "season of mellow fruitfulness " as described by the poet Keats, we were stuck with grey day after grey day and increasing amounts of rain that was to cause deep flooding and subsequent misery to other parts of UK a little later on. Happily we were to be spared those floods in Essex but for us a new personal trial was clearly about to begin.
It was my wife who first noticed my change of aspect as she withessed my facial colour ,chamellion like change from brown to more of a greenish / yellowy tinge. At the same time she noted my features becoming more guant and drawn and my periods of sleep ever expanding. Having been told this, and as one who derides speculations and deals only in facts, I repaired to my Doctor for consultation.
I have, in other Hubs outlining my successful battle with Non Hodgkin"s Lymphoma, paid due homage to the character, wisdom and professionalism of my GP and once more he was to prove a lightening beacon in this case.
I had hardly sat down in his consulting room before he looked me and pronounced "You have a touch or more of jaundce" I had to advise him that my wife had said the same. However, undeterred by this news, the Doctor went on further to diagnose my condition by further investigation before reaching his point of defintive diagnosis, or as near as he was prepared to go along that route rom the preliminary investigation.
" I believe you have a case of OBSTRUCTIVE JAUNDICE " he told me. My respone was swift as belies the uneducated in any subject. "What pray might that be when it is at home Doc?" The Doctor reached for a piece of paper and commenced to draw a quite detailed sketch.
All Is Revealed
The Doctor sketched quickly and eventually a picture of the human abdominal area was constructed. Later my Cancer Specialist to whom I showed the sketch complimented the quality and detail of the work impressed that it had been drawn so quickly during a consultation.
The star feature of the sketch was the tract to the gall blader and the bladder itself.
EXPERTLY USSING HIS DIAGRAM THE DOCTOR EXPLAIND TO ME THAT MY CONDITION WAS CAUSED BY A BLOCKING OF THE TRACT AND/OR GALL BLADDER WHICH AFECTED THE WHOLE PROCESS OF DEALING WITH URINE IN THE BODY.
Simply put, the tract and maybe tHe bladder itself was blocked to the pint where a large obstruction was formed in the path used for the safe pand discharge of potentially toxic urine from the body. It was not possible to say if the cause was because of GALLSTONES OR "SLUDGE", in the words of my Doctor. The fact that I had no pain whatsoever, suggested sludge particles as the more likely, though at that time it was not certain.
Diagnosis achieved, my mind was on cure at once. On this the Doctor was calmly professional advising me to go to Hospital at once with my symptoms and his diagnosis. Failing that I was to return home but at the slightest sign of pain to go to Hospital. Whatever the case, it was advised to drink water as a flushing agent.
I found this most satisfactory as I could monitor developments myself, whilst being clear that any increase in adversity would require Hospital assistance to deal with it.
Water, Water Everywhere.
BACK AT HOE AND MUSING OVER THE DRAWING MY DOCTOR HAD GIVEN ME AND WHAT HE HAD TOLD ME. I DECIDED THAT PERSONAL EXPERIMENTATION WAS REQUIRED AND PUT MYSELF TO THE TASK AT ONCE.
My reasoning was basically that the problem had 2 strands. Firstly the matter of discharging urine normally and , secondly, in order to do that seeking a solution to the actual blocking and remove it. Eventually, a very simple plan of action evolved. I had noticed my urine had been darker than usual and so I determined to monitor the colour regularly. To do this I cut down a plastic water bottle and used the bottom half as a receptacle for urine sampling. This bottle half, to the annoyance of my wife, I placed on the toilet in our cloakroom where it was accessible to me on each visit.
It was then necessary to establish a routine which involved drinking a lot moe water than usual and checking the urine after each visit for colour changes.
Without boring the reader with statistics, I stuck to this religiously for at least 14 days. Initially, I noticed my urine was very dark in the morning but lighter in the evening. This was a continuing trend from which I deduced that the block was not at all complete, which would have been very serious and life threatening of course, and naturally requiring of immediate Hospitalization
As the days went on and I drank up to 6 pints of water daily, plus my other fluid intake. I began to notice a lightening of the dark morning urine and the evening samples turning much lighter. Using my wife as monitor for a secod opinion I continued the process until what I would call "normal" colour was achieved throughout the day.
I began also to feel less lethargic gradually and my wife noticed a change of colour for the better in my face. Thus 4 weeks after our initial consultation on the matter, I revisited my GP as arranged, to report on progress. He expressed delight and told me that it would take time for my colour to return fully normal but that clearly, the block causing the problem had been removed. He was pleased that I had taken the precaution of canceling a planned visit to Egypt during the period but advised that saw no reason not to travel from then on. That is something we intend fully to do soon.
The Importance of Water
We all have read of intrepid souls tracking across deserts within an inch of their life and being miraculously saved by an unexpected Oasis with bubbling streams of life refreshing water. Aspects of romance, mystery and of course, fiction , but in real life, I have learned, at a somewhat advanced age that copious water is indeed vital to us all and not only in the desert.
Quite clearly, my brush with OSTRUCTIVE JAUNDICE had been brought about by not drinking enough water. I have less excuse for this than others in that my elder son is the Trading Director for a water based drink with non-sugar additives that is drunk by sportspeople to rehydrate after exercse. I have been sceptical about the value of such products for many years but this episode has given me pause for thought. I clearly have failed to understand te function of plentiful water being supplied to the body, so it is probable that I also understimate the value of water based dinks with key additives as a tool for rehydration. Currently, we are testing those out on my wife as she is in training for a 10k run later this year. We trust you see !
In conclusion, can I advise [belatedly in my case], that in order to seek to avoid or head off problems such as my OBSTRUCTIVE JAUNDICE, that these simple steps are followed:
1. Monitor yourself for any signs of increasing lethargy.
2. Check the colour of your urine regularly. If it looks darker, take samples in a cut off plastic bottle or similar to check.
3. Check your face and eye colour regularly and look for signs of greeny/yellowy pigmentation.
IF YOU OBSERVE ANY OF THE ABOVE VISIT YOUR GP FOR A CONSULTATION..
4. Drink good quantities of water daily. This is even more important in hot weather but also key in the cold or following excercise or sporting participation.
Hopefully the above will keep you clear of OBSTRUCTIVE JAUNDICE, or at least get you early diagnosis and avoid more serious complications..