If you have been reading my blog, you know by now that I have lived all over the world. Before I went to Nigeria, I had a short course taught by a doctor about what to do about upset stomachs, and everything he taught me has been right on target. My sister was a hospital administrator at the hospital in Cooperstown, New York, and she is the one who set the class up for me. It was a one on one tutorial made especially for me because I was headed to Nigeria. Throughout my life, the advice that doctor has helped me and my family. He talked about what to do for vomiting and for diarrhea.
First of all, what did he say about vomiting and did it work? He said the most important thing if you are vomiting is first try to get some liquid in yourself. If you let yourself get dehydrated, you will feel worse. Tea is good too, but if you want to drink Coca Cola, you better take the lid off and let all the carbonation go out of it before you drink it. If you can sip on water, then you can begin to try to eat, but don’t eat just anything. First, get some crackers, and if there aren’t any crackers where you are, then get some sort of dry cookies. They will stay in your stomach easier than anything else.
Once you can keep the crackers or dry cookies down, the next thing to eat is toast with very little or no butter. You will be slowly building. If you can eat toast, the next step is to try eating some scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs are easy on your stomach. After that, try some rice, and once you have gotten that far, you can begin trying other things because your stomach has settled enough to eat. Here in Korea, they have a kind of rice porridge they call chook. If someone is sick, it is the first thing they bring. There are special restaurants that specialize in chook. It is good, especially if you get the kind that has chicken broth as the base.
As far as diarrhea, the doctor in Cooperstown said that doctors really don’t know why it comes or why it leaves. However, what you must do when you have diarrhea is not to let yourself get dehydrated. Don’t drink pop with carbonation when you have diarrhea, but drinking pop is good for you if you have diarrhea or vomiting, but without the carbonation. If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, you will feel weak. That weakness is because you are losing something called electrolytes, and electrolytes give you energy. You must replenish your electrolytes.
The way to replenish your electrolytes is by taking a bottle of Coca Cola and taking the lid off and leaving it overnight. It lets the carbonation out. Coca Cola without the carbonation is an electrolyte solution. Drinking it will give you your energy back. Drink as much as you can because dehydration can kill you.
How can you know if you are getting dehydrated? If your mouth is pale, if you can look at your lips and the inside of your mouth, and it looks white, you are in danger. If a doctor sees you like that, he may put you in the hospital and put an IV in your arm to save your life.
When we were in Nigeria, my son got diarrhea, and he was dehydrated. The doctor from Evangel Hospital in Jos, Nigeria wanted to put him in the hospital and put an IV in his arm. However, he fought and fought and fought. There was no way that technician or nurse or anyone was going to be able to get a needle in that boy’s arm. I asked the doctor if there was another way. He said I would have to get an awful lot of liquid in him in a short time for him to be okay. I can’t remember exactly how much he told me, but I decided to try.
I took my son home. I made iced tea because he liked it. I made other liquid things he liked liked. Every two hours for 24 hours, even all through the night, I made sure he got 2 glasses of 8 ounces of liquid in him. I woke him up every two hours, and he cooperated and drank everything I put in him, and he was fine the next day.
As I have gotten older, I have learned to also use over the counter preparations to take care of my stomach, but the doctor who initially taught me told me it was bad for me to use those kinds of medicines. I learned that my mother always used Imodium to stop diarrhea in the States, and I tried it, and it worked, but I always used it with caution because the doctor in Cooperstown said those kinds of medicines weren’t good for you. Now a days, here in Korea, I have learned to go to the pharmacist and ask for Soomekta if I get diarrhea. A doctor here at Women’s Ewha Hospital recommended it to me, and it works. It stops diarrhea. Always use caution using any kind of medicine. Talk to the doctors and pharmacists about what you are doing and find out what they recommend. The most important thing for anyone with any stomach problem is just don’t let yourself get dehydrated.