Farewell, For Now

It is honestly, truly, with a sad heart, that I bid a fond farewell to coffee.

At least for now.

You see, it seems I can not drink a cup of coffee, anymore, without getting the runs. Yes, diarrhea.

I used to have a cast iron stomach, a rook hard bottomless pit you could throw anything down. I could eat anything. And I did. Greasy. Salty. Fattening. Almost-spoiled. Stale. Bland. Dirt. Glue. Paste. Paper. Good times. And, now, NOW, I am on a low-sodium diet. Fried foods kill me, have me on the toilet stool with stomach cramps that last sometimes up to half an hour. I’m lactose-intolerant; I can only eat ice cream, for instance, once a month or so. I can’t eat whole wheat, whole grain, raw vegetables (at least while my (my?) ulcerative colitis is in a flare up, which it is). No garlic, onions, broccoli or cauliflower (even fully cooked). No fruits with skins. Or maybe that’s no fruit skins… I will have to look that up.

I really feel like complaining, but there are people who are dealing with a lot worse, and complaining isn’t going to change a thing.

But…COFFEE?

Coffee is the thing I held out the longest with, and for. Coffee is the only thing I don’t want to give up, that hurts to give up. Chinese food? Okay. Fine. Fried potatoes? I’ve got an air fryer. Yogurt? I love the taste of yogurt, but once I traced my early symptoms to it, I just stopped eating it. Sucks to let it go, but chronic diarrhea sucks even worst.

But, even as I gave up trigger after trigger, the diarrhea remined. Finally, I’m taking prednisone a few days ago, and I was hit with cramps and urgency like it was four month ago, like I had been set on by a sudden rabid case of stomach flu. Not one, not twice, but four times in the space of two, two and a half hours. And, I am sitting on the toilet (repetitive, yes, but that it what it’s like, you’re glued to the toilet), trying to understand what went wrong, what did I forget to take, what did I did differently, eat…

And, I don’t eat anything different. I eat the same thing every day, so I can get the same results every day. Boiled eggs, cereal, with lactose-free milk, sometimes toast (white bread), a banana. V-8, 5.5 oz. can, sardines, canned green beans, no salt added, maybe some gummies or jelly beans along the way. For dinner, chicken breast or leg quarter, or pork chop or hamburger patty, with air-fried potatoes (or instant potatoes), can greens bean, or cranberry sauce or canned yam – something mushy with low fiber content.

So, it had to be something I eat…Coffee. I knew coffee agitated your bowels, leading to diarrhea, but I put it out of my mind. Coffee with a generous pour of creamer and a teaspoon of or raw sugar is my mainstay, my actual comfort food, the only integral part of my morning wakeup routine. Coffee with…? Cookies. Donuts – Lamar’s, especially. Starbuck’s coffee creamer – expensive, but so rich.

With fried eggs, hash browns, and pancakes. Or a sausage and egg McGriddle.

I had resolved to keep coffee in my diet and just deal with the side effects. But…

But…those side effects are feeling worse every day. The cramps are sharper, more painful, sickening, in fact. The urgency is more sudden. I have less and less time between the warning and the arrival. The amount of time I am forced to spend on the toilet before I am sure it’s okay for me stand is getting longer and longer. Prednisone has quieted my stomach down, almost entirely.

Until I trigger something. Caffeine is the only trigger I have left.

And, I am tired of diarrhea.

I deliberated yesterday, and today. I scoured the internet. What am I going to replace caffeine with? What will I do for energy? How long will it be until I can sip another cup again?

And, I have decided, as of now.

I didn’t have coffee or tea today. My stomach and bowels have been just fine. The smallest amount of gas still feels like impending disaster, so there have been a few false alarms. But, no diarrhea.

August 17, 2021. 3:15 pm.

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