Sunday, October 11, 2009

you've got to be kidding me

First of all, I want to be up-front about the fact that I cheated, and I'm now only regretting that I didn't cheat further. I was supposed to combine the powder with a gallon of water, but I only filled it halfway. Easier to gag down four ounces every ten minutes than eight, right? Right. And heaven knows it's not like my water intake would drop, because I immediately polished off six ounces of ginger ale once I finished the dosage. How crazy do you have to be to think that it's better to have eight ounces of filth-water than four ounces of filth-water and then an actual beverage? You have to be a pharmacist, that's what. These people are a hazard to right-thinking humans.

However, it strongly appears that I didn't cheat enough. I should have made it one-eighth strength and done understanding is that this wretched substance is supposed to be a laxative, not an emetic. I was dry heaving during the first dosage. During the second, I actually threw up. It mostly tastes salty, but with an unmistakable "lab chemical" flavor that convinces all of the forces in my digestive system that it should not be consumed or, at least, not retained. I have now given up completely. There is no point me trying to down this stuff if I am literally going to vomit it. In a fabulous demonstration of its helpfulness, Tepeyac is closed on Sunday with no communication with any outside party, and I am not calling an emergency line, as I am not in pre-term labor. So I need a substitute (suggestions ENTIRELY welcome).

At this point it becomes time to peruse the container carefully. As near as I can make out, the ACTIVE ingredient (in every sense) is polyethylene glycol, which I think kills cats, but I'll let that slide for the moment. It ALSO contains a substantial concentration of salts, including sodium (the apparent source of the salty flavor), potassium, and several others. Since the word "electrolytes" appears in large letters on the label, it seems clear that these salts are included to cause the body to retain a lot of the water that comes with the preparation, so as to avoid dehydration, a potentially dangerous side effect of diarrhea.

Here's my thought on this: who here is a moron? Yes, if you're going to induce a system purge, water and electrolytes are key. But these are helpfully sold in every grocery store and gas station in America in the form of Gatorade, which does not, to my knowledge, induce immediate vomiting. I grant that I am assuming that polyethylene glycol in water would taste better than this death cocktail, but even if I'm wrong, I strongly suspect that the polyethylene glycol (which is a white powder) could be provided in pill form, and patients simply told to drink Gatorade in the requisite quantity - they could even wash the pills down with it! Or the powder could be stirred into the gatorade, whose nuclear flavors are strong enough to conceal almost anything, including actual poison, which I am not convinced this isn't (see cats, above).

This is so obvious that the only conceivable reason the medical community has not come up with it is sadism. I am tempted to contact my med student friend and ask her how I could put this remedy together myself in my kitchen, but she has taken on the attitude that she has to take doctors' sides against me absolutely no matter what the circumstance and no matter how obvious that I am merely trying to vent (I note here that she is getting divorced and I do NOT reflexively take her attorney's side, or that of the law in general, and this "doctors are right and you're a bad patient" shtick is getting a bit tiresome), so I am on my own.

Happily, I do have some chocolate Exlax tablets tucked into the medicine cabinet. They recommend adults take two at a time, up to four a day, so I have taken two and am thinking of going for six total. They supposedly take 6-12 hours to work, which will be inconvenient what with me planning to go to Mass at 7:30, but at least that will be before my surgery.

Not pleased. Not pleased at all.


  1. Laxatives, 2 now then can you drink the phosphate? Then two more laxatives and I think an enema. :)

    Phosphate mixed with a glass of gatorade and chugged goes down easier then doing it with water....

    Just lax yourself up.....

  2. The purpose of the mixing the solution the the prescribed proportions is so that you can drink it down and the water really dilutes the taste, but the salts also acts to cause the diarrhea as well, also so that it completely cleans out the bowels. It is much better tasting if cold and served over ice, so try that. I would suggest that you freeze some in ice cubes and serve your mix over that, much easier to tolerate that way. I have served many a patient this prep and the way you tried to do it would make me vomit as well, much too salty! I have also had to drink it twice myself as a patient and did it this way, so I can give a personal thumbs up.
    Hope that helps.

  3. Oh ick. Not a pretty part of life....

  4. Interesting.. I don't know what they prescribed you, but mine required FOUR gallons of water! I followed the rules and did the four gallons and drank about 8 ounces every ten minutes, although it became every 20 minutes and then every 40 minutes very quickly. I didn't finish it though, and left about a gallon (it says you can do that based on the consistency of, well, I won't get too detailed here!). It was one of the worst experiences of my life, yes, but I didn't throw up and it didn't even clean me out completely (sorry, TMI). So maybe that's why they have you dilute it that much? Mine also didn't taste terribly salty.. I describe it more like clear milk. It was absolutely nasty, don't get me wrong, and I am gagging just typing about it!!

    Can you dilute the mixture even more and try to get it down? Or is it gone?