Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day four of the 20 day cure

Part of the cure includes mixing the contents of one these ampules with water and drinking it once a day.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when my stomach began growing at an alarming rate, expanding beyond what I would have thought was physically possible. Knowing that I couldn't be pregnant because Stéphane had taken steps (snip, snip) many years ago to ensure that we wouldn't have more than two children, I didn't know what was going on. All I knew was that my stomach hurt like hell. I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to eat, I was burping like I had just guzzled a 6-pack of beer and, worst of all, I had gas (my apologies for being so indelicate, but there's not another way to say it!).

So, I gathered up my courage and did what you have to do in these situations in Paris. I went to the local pharmacy to ask for advice. Trying to appear nonchalant as I scanned the three employees to decide which one to approach, I rejected the man at the front of the store because there was a cluster of customers gathered around him. The last thing that I wanted was an audience listening to my tale of woe and offering advice. Deciding that the two women at the back looked like my best option, I quietly asked what they recommended for indigestion. After carefully surveying me from head to toe, one of the women asked if my stomach was swollen, like a balloon. "Oui!" I replied, while thinking that it actually felt more like an overinflated basketball, but who was I to quibble about medical metaphors with a professional. "And there's gas," I whispered. "Then you must do a twenty day cure" she declared. "No raw fruit or vegetables, no milk, no cheese, nothing with dairy."

Worried that she had mistakenly thought that I was lactose intolerant, I explained that I've never had any problems digesting milk products and added, almost as an afterthought, that my stomach issues had mysteriously started after a recent gastronomic weekend in Bordeaux. "Mais oui! That explains it!" the two women said in unison. Smiling at me as if I was innocent to the ways of the world, at least the one inhabited by French people, they repeated that the only solution was to do a cure. At this point, the man at the front of the store, who had obviously been eavesdropping, chimed in to say that coffee and wine were also strictly off limits. Mentally counting down the days until Stéphane's and my wedding anniversary and Christmas, I replied that the cure was starting to sound rather harsh. Cutting out raw veggies and cheese from my diet is one thing, but abstaining from wine and champagne during the holidays is entirely another matter. The women, acknowledging that I had a point, revised their stance and said, "Mais bien sûr you can have a glass of wine from time to time ... if it gives you pleasure!" And that, in a nutshell, is why I love the French.

The moral of the story is that moderation is the name of the game when you live in Paris. After surviving fiery hot nasi goreng merah in Indonesia, buss-up-shut in Trinidad and huge portions of sauerkraut and pork hocks in Germany, my stomach has finally met its match.

In my defense, it's pretty hard not to over-indulge when people keep offering you samples of wine in Bordeaux!

30 comments:

  1. Wow you must have the world's strongest willpower! There is no way I could be in Paris and refuse cheese and wine for just one day, not to mention twenty. Bonne chance!

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    1. Thanks! Normally I don't have the willpower to refuse cheese, wine, and all the other goodies in Paris, which is exactly what got me into this mess in the first place! Live and learn. I'll have to take a more moderate approach in the future.

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  2. That, of course, is what the French call "crise de foie" which has nothing to do with your liver. I've never suffered from it myself but I once saw Relationnel leave a restaurant in agony after eating "canard au sang" in Rouen. I didn't think I'd get him home. The food in the Bordeaux area is pretty rich with all that duck fat. I hope you'll be feeling better soon and won't have to sacrifice your anniversary and Christmas!

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    1. You're a lucky woman to have never suffered from "crise de foie"! I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I've never really heard Swiss French people use that expression but maybe it's because they don't eat as many rich foods as the French. Next time that I go to Bordeaux, I'll know not to eat 3-course meals for lunch and dinner, especially when there's foie gras involved. Thanks to the "cure", I'm already feeling much better and expect to be in fine form for the holidays!

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  3. The cure ampules' contents don't look very tasty. I raise a glass of fizzy water to your good health returning soon.

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    1. It sounds to me like gall bladder problem -- my daughter had similar problem last year -- of course, in the US, the solution was to remove her gall bladder. I think I like the French 'cure' better.

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    2. Thanks for the fizzy water toast! The "cure" isn't bad. It tastes kind of like anise. The liquid is a mixture of verbena, tarragon, dandelion and essential oils.

      Sorry to hear that your daughter had to have an operation. If things don't continue to improve, I'll ask them to check my gall bladder.

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  4. I still don't know what your ailment is/was though? A twenty-day cure for what? Are you sure they weren't just puling your leg? Both of them? And how much DID those ampules cost anyway? Don't you love (or not) that the French love ampules and suppositories--unknown practically here in the States.



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    1. I guess that my ailment was a severe case of indigestion that upset my digestive tract. When I saw my doctor last night, he agreed that I probably ate too many fatty foods (eg foie gras!). Here's an interesting blog post on "La Crise de Foie", which is what I think I had. The ampules were 17 euros. I remember being really surprised the first time that my doctor in Switzerland prescribed suppositories. I didn't know what to do with them! But as much as the Swiss like herbal remedies, I don't think that I've ever seen ampules there.

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    2. oh, interesting. I'll follow that link.

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  5. By the way, I love the placemat in the photo--that stitching is nice.

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  6. Poor you, I do hope you feel better soon. Snipping went on at this end too!

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    1. Thanks. I'm definitely on the mend.

      Once you've had all the children you want, snipping is the best way to go!

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  7. Oh my dear love - you had me giggle here and of course I SHOULD NOT.... but I honestly am a bit worried for you just simply going to the pharmacy for advice when you're in so much pain! Knowing how much the French love pharmaceutics, I would advise much caution.
    But there you go, you’re a grown woman who obviously knows what to do, having lived in so many countries and societies. I hope you get better pretty soon so that you can again ‘sin’ cheerfully over the coming festive days!!!!
    I AM a bit worried that you will be off the best stuff France has to offer. Wine, cheese, etc…..!!! How shall you still be alive when Christmas rolls in? (just kidding, of course) And I did love reading the reactions at the shop; I’m blessed with a ‘purely female staffed’ pharmacy here – and they are VERY good with their advice, they always give their customers the least expensive product if it is possible – but do they love to sell their stuff!!! I bring them a single flower from time to time – actually, now that I think of it, I should get them one today; I’m off to the market right after this! And a flower for my favourite boulangerie-employee…. They are so grateful for little signs of appreciation like this and I am so grateful for their wonderful bread… THAT would hurt me, if some doctor would forbid me to eat – bread, fresh lovely butter, the world’s bestest ever ‘confitures’, cheese, wine…. OK we have spoken about that – shut up Kiki… LOL
    Mary Kay; I so love to read your blog, it’s always inspiring, wise at times, fun at others, some days I’m just nodding along with what you say, others I can’t be bothered, just like in real life!
    Must hurry, much love and wishes for a speedy recovery, go easy on that stuff!

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    1. To put your mind at ease, Kiki, rest assured that I only went to the pharmacy after I had an abdominal ultrasound last week. The doctor had prescribed one as part of my annual check-up in September but I had been putting it off. That changed as soon as my stomach started hurting. It was only after the doctor checked that all my internal organs are fine and that it was probably indigestion that I went to the pharmacy. The "cure" is made from a mixture of verbena, tarragon, dandelion and essential oils and seems to be working.

      It's so thoughtful of you to take a flower to the people in the pharmacy and the boulangerie. People's hearts are always warmed by small acts of kindness. I often think that the world would be a better place if we made a point of doing a little something for someone else every day. They're going to miss you when you move back to Switzerland!

      Thank you for your very kind comment about my blog, Kiki. You warmed my heart today and I feel blessed to "know" you.

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  8. I see your ampoules contain verveine. I Love verveine! BTW, how is the bloating? Has it helped, yet?
    I think we should have lunch together next week. Teatotalers (no idea how to spell that, too lazy to google it) unite!!!

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    1. I love verveine, too. We can raise our (tea) glasses and make a toast to it next week. I even have an idea where we can go for lunch! Thanks to the French "cure", the bloating is getting much better.

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  9. How can anyone not love French Chemists?

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    1. We really thankful to have such a good pharmacy near us. They were also able to recommend a good doctor and dentist in the neighborhood based on feedback that they had received from other customers.

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  10. You have my sympathy! I've been through a few crises de foie myself, but I have three cousins (outside of Paris) who are pharmacists, so help was always available. Some people just hate the taste of the concoction, but like you, I didn't mind it too much. Hope you get over this soon to enjoy all the celebrations!

    Regards,

    Patricia H

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! It's reassuring to know that the pharmacists in your family recommended the same "cure", but I'm sorry to hear that you've experienced the dreaded crise de foie. There's nothing worse than being sick while on vacation, especially when you're in Paris!

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  11. These sort of treatments are also not well known in Australia! I can just imagine the scene in the Pharmacy. I love the way they were all so sure of what was wrong...without being too judgemental. I hope the "silly season" is not too much of a gas for you Mary Kay!!

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    1. Ha, you have a keen sense of humor, Baron! Your comment started me wondering about the origin of the expression, "It's a gas" so I googled it. I found an interesting explanation on this website.

      "It's a gas"

      Meaning: This is fun! That's hilarious! It's a wonderful situation.

      Origin: Scientist Humphrey Davy introduced nitrous oxide to the public (primarily the British upper class) as a recreational drug at “laughing gas parties” in 1799, 36 years before it was used medically. Davy's noted that some people, in a state of induced euphoria by the gas, got the giggles, erupted in laughter, felt stuporous, dreamy and sedated. At Davy's parties, the audience was amused by watching the user's “nitrous oxide capers,” which included stumbling around, slurred speech and falling down - thus earning its nickname: “laughing gas.” (Medindia.net) ...

      Alternative: A 'gas' was a joke in Anglo-Irish slang. James Joyce uses it in 'Dubliners', published in 1914. By the 1950s in the USA, it had taken on the meaning of anything pleasing or exciting.

      Alternative: During the U.S. 'Roaring Twenties', Nitrous (laughing gas) became popular, and “That's a gas” was born as a phrase describing a wild, fun, enjoyable, hilarious event.

      Alternative: It's a derivation from the British slang expression (first attested in Dickens), “All is gas and gaiters.” ...

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    2. Thanks Mary Kay. I love that it can be attributed to Dickens!

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  12. I had never heard of this. And would not know what the Englush equivalent is. Obviously this condition is peculiar to France.

    Glad you are feeling better. Have to be well for anniversary.

    Love Denise

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    1. It seems to be a fairly common affliction in France. I remember that Julia Child (the American chef) mentioned in her book, "My Life in France", that her husband had problems after he succumbed to the culinary delights of Paris. When I read it, I remember thinking that he must have had a really delicate stomach. Now I know better. I wouldn't know what the American equivalent is either.

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  13. The contents of your ampules are a cure for killing off the common intestinal yeast Candida which can overtake your body when you overeat yeast based foods such as wine, cheese and breads. I am on the same cure right now. You will recognize it as beer belly, those men who are skinny otherwise have a large protruding belly.

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    1. Thanks for posting the information about Candida! It's not something that either the pharmacist or the doctor mentioned so I'm going to do some additional research online.

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  14. Hopefully these links go through your sever. You may not have it, but I have had to do your liver cleanse several times after getting the same symptoms. Eventually, I came across candida in a organic food newsletter and then did more research. The research helped me realize this was the underlying problem. Very manageable, but once you get the liver back-up, it will repeat if you have a lot of your trigger foods.

    holistichelp.net/candida.html

    candidamd.com/candida/symptoms.html

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