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A day in the life of a patient suffering from food poisoning

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I was prescribed a list of medications to take as I got discharged from the hospital. I was admitted with severe food poisoning about a week ago. Though I felt much better after a few days, there was still a lot of weakness. Other than the medications, the doctor also advised me to take proper rest and pay attention to what I ate. It’s been almost a week since I got the discharge. Here’s how my days have been since I came down with severe food poisoning.

Waking up in the morning

The first time I realized that the junk food I piled on the previous night was showing its effect was about a month ago. I woke up with severe crampy pain in my abdomen. I had severe loose motions and even vomited 3 to 4 times. By afternoon, I was completely dehydrated and had to be admitted to a hospital. Even today, after recovering from the acute bout of food poisoning, I do get mild pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen. I also feel nauseated slightly, though the attacks of vomiting have reduced a lot.

Starting the day

I begin my day by drinking a glass of water. I also drink plenty of fruit juices and a simple mixture prepared by adding 2 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt in a glass of water. This simple diet helps me to stay hydrated. I have to get up from my bed slowly and walk around with the support of a family member as my blood pressure has been very low since this episode of food poisoning.

I also have to be given a sponge bath every alternate day as I am unable to stand for more than 5 minutes and I fear falling down and injuring myself in the bathroom. So, to be on a safer side, it’s just the sponge bath for me at present.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

I don’t feel like eating much nowadays. My appetite has reduced a lot. Even the sight or smell of food makes me feel nauseated. I eat very small quality of food, mostly bland foods because I know I must follow a correct diet to feel better. I have eggs, toast, or dry foods like biscuits for breakfast. My doctor advised me to eat eggs as they are rich in proteins and will help me recover faster. I completely avoid spicy and fried foods. I am also eating fruits, especially those having a high-water content like melons to replenish fluids in my body. I feel very fresh and a bit energetic after eating melons.

Going to work and taking medications

I have taken leave since the day the symptoms of food poisoning began. It’s been almost a month, and I am yet to regain my strength. I find it difficult to do the routine activities myself. I cannot even walk around or get up from the bed without support. I suppose, I will have to wait for another week or so to be able to start working again. I plan to opt for work-from-home at least for 2 weeks and then, start traveling to my office. When I was admitted, I was treated with intravenous antibiotics to manage the infection.

Food poisoning basically occurs due to the consumption of contaminated food or drink. I had dinner at a restaurant the day before the symptoms began and probably it’s the food in the restaurant that was responsible for causing the problem. Some of my friends also suffered food poisoning following the dinner. The loose motions and vomiting were reduced within 2 or 3 days of starting the antibiotics. I was also administered a treatment composed from antacids, antiemetic, and antispasmodics to relieve gastritis, vomiting, and crampy pain. I was given antidiarrheal occasionally to control loose motions.

Additionally, I was started on a drip of glucose to replenish the water lost due to loose motions and vomiting and prevent further dehydration and hypoglycemia. The same medications were changed from injections to oral tablets at the time of discharge. The treatment with antibiotics is already over. I suppose I should be able to stop the rest of the medications once the symptoms resolve completely. But, how faster I recover will depend on my diet and the amount of rest I take.

Prevention of complications

I have realized the importance of taking hygienic precautions to prevent food poisoning. Now, I take complete care to avoid such attacks in future. I wash my hands properly before eating. I also wash the fruits and vegetables from my daily diet before eating or cooking.

I make sure the kitchen and dining areas are clean and the meals prepared are kept covered. Additionally, I also avoid eating the leftover food from the previous day. I have started stressing on eating freshly cooked meals instead of using the frozen meals. The doctor has also suggested I should eat fully cooked meat and seafood to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

What are the daily limitations and what are the fears?

I am not used to being dependent on others for small tasks. I need to call a family member to help me to the bathroom. I also have to take help from others for getting up from the sitting or sleeping positions. I know that these are short-term problems. But, they could have been avoided if I had not eaten the outside food.

How does the future look like?

I am feeling much better now, though the weakness is still there. I suppose I should be able to move around freely within a week, post which I plan to resume my work, at least from home. I will start going to office only when I have enough confidence to travel alone. This incidence has taught me the value of health, and freedom.

The doctors told my blood pressure was down to a very low level and any delay in the treatment might have caused serious complications. A simple mistake of eating outside has cost me a lot in terms of healthcare expenses as well as several working days. Other than this, I also had to bear the pain, discomfort, and unpleasant symptoms like vomiting, and loose motions. I take this incidence as a lesson to never ignore my health and hygiene.

What are the risk factors?

Food poisoning can affect anyone, even a healthy person. However, the risk is higher in the people having a very low immunity and pregnant women. Even children are more prone to develop serious complications following food poisoning. I was lucky to have not suffered any major setback due to this episode of food poisoning. But, I would urge all to take proper precautions, especially if you have pregnant women or children in the family.

The evolution of food poisoning

I started experiencing the symptoms of food poisoning within 6 to 8 hours of eating the food. The symptoms worsened suddenly over the next 3 to 4 hours and so, I had to be admitted. They started resolving only after the cure was started. Though most of the symptoms improved within a few days, it’s the weakness that bothers me even now. It might take a few more days for me to feel completely better. It might have taken longer if I had not paid attention to having a healthy and hygienic diet.

What are the psychological effects when you have food poisoning?

It was my family that was under more stress than me when I was admitted to a hospital. Though I was withering in pain, I was unaware of the complications that might have occurred due to the low blood pressure, and hypoglycemia. The doctor had confided in my family members the risk of complications and they were too worried for me. Luckily, things went in my favor and I recovered from the attack. However, this experience of what me and my family had to pass through will continue to haunt me for several years.

Topics: food poisoning

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Written by Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy is a doctor having a clinical experience of more than 15 years. She has an expertise in treating acute and chronic diseases like obesity, IBS, asthma, arthritis, Autism, ADHD, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, cancer, infections, and skin diseases. She believes in treating the patients in a holistic manner. She aims at educating the patients about the illness and providing tips related to their lifestyle and diet to ensure a long-term relief from the disease and preventing its recurrence.